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Most of the time the business side of the house isn’t that technology-savvy. Sure, they know how to use their systems and even have a computer at home, but it’s not like they could calculate a TCP/IP subnet, nor should they.
I was helping with a project this week where the business side was even more technology agnostic – and that’s fine. But what it meant was that I had to learn a little more about what they did for a living to be able to ask the right questions for the database design. And that’s one of the things I love about being a data professional – I actually get to research zoology, botany, metallurgy and aerospace fields as part of my daily job!
No, I don’t think you have to become an expert in other fields just to design a database. But I do think that it helps if we stretch a little to understand what they do so that we can design good systems for them.