Scalability as a Discipline
Just as we discussed in an earlier post about the evolution of roles in technology startups, we’ve seen the same thing in the technology discipline as a whole. Computer science as a discipline started in mathematics with Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem. From there Alan Turing and Alonzo Church formalized the notion of an algorithm and the concept of a Turing machine. The first computer that could run stored programs, based on the Turing machine model, was built in 1948 and called the Manchester Baby.
In the beginning there were only programmers, then came system operators, and DBA’s, and architects, etc. We now have many different disciplines that one can specialize in for either part or all of their careers. One of the missing disciplines, in my opinion, is the scalability architect or scalability as a discipline.
While understanding the rules, patterns, and principles of scalability are completely achievable by anyone in the technology organization, this does not mean that they are widely known. Scalability architects would be more like evangelist and teachers rather than the gatekeepers of secret knowledge. Unlike DBA’s or network engineers, whose jobs really aren’t to educate any other technology person on how to create an index or open a port, the scalability architect would educate tech people. All other disciplines from software developers to DBA’s could benefit from additional knowledge about scaling.
If you’re serious about scaling is it time that you looked for or anointed a scalability architect?