DAMA Corner – April 2006

Published in TDAN.com April 2006

Spring is Springing!

The seasons are changing here in Des Moines, Iowa, where I live and work. After a parting shot of snow in mid-March, winter is definitely on the run. But in the wind-swept Midwest, it’ll still be a few weeks until spring arrives. We’re in a middle season of colder-than-it-looks, muddy, ugly days, where grays and browns still rule nature’s palette.

But the signs of spring are there, if you look hard enough. Crocuses are blooming and the lawn is (slightly) greener each day. Fertilizer and seed corn television commercials have returned to take over the airways of our agricultural state. And my kid’s Under-8 soccer season starts this weekend, along with my coaching duties for his team.

I think something similar is happening to the climate of data management. From the early days of lone voices crying in the wilderness, data professionals have come together to define and understand this new space. Each project delivered, each paper submitted, each presentation delivered has combined to create a profession, to discover a discipline. As newly-elected President of DAMA International, I would like to think DAMA has played a significant role in this process.

There are visible signs that DAMA International continues to live its mission to “inspire data excellence”. You don’t need a Farmer’s Almanac to tell you that these are sure signs of Spring in our chosen field:

  • Along with our Foundation, DAMA International is drafting a DMBOK, a Data Management Body of Knowledge. This collection will serve as a guide to define what data management is, what its best practices are, and reference the papers and texts that support our practices and beliefs.
  • DAMA chapters are thriving and new ones continue to form. In the last year, new chapters were formed in Memphis, the Netherlands, and Finland, with dormant chapters resurging in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Florida. Groups in Seoul, South Korea and Nigeria are set to open for business within the next two months.
  • DAMA has produced a model curriculum for post-secondary education on the breadth and depth of data management. This recently won the award Meritorious Rating Award from ISECON (IS Educators Conference, and Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are early adopters of this framework.
  • Data people continue to flock to conferences and seminars on data topics in increasing numbers. DAMA sponsors conferences on three continents and each see success on success. Our next conference–the Wilshire Metadata/DAMA Symposium—will be held in Denver from April 23-27. I hope you’re planning on attending so you can be part of this great event. You can actually see people become smarter over the duration of the conference!
  • The newly minted Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) designation and the set of thorough examinations used to certify the holder’s knowledge is allowing accomplished data professionals to distinguish themselves in the field. The CDMP designation was developed by DAMA and the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) and is gaining acknowledgement as the credential par excellence in the data management space.

Yet we are still in the middle season, and spring is not here yet. There are still tough times to brave through, like when we have to make the case for data management to our managers for the umpteenth time or when we have to adapt our methods to accommodate the latest “silver bullet”. There are times we still feel like lone voices crying in the wilderness.

And, with the help of DAMA International, we continue to create a profession, to discover a discipline.

This month’s column was written by DAMA International’s President – John Schley (DAMA Iowa). Visit DAMA International at http://www.dama.org and contact John at president@dama.org.

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About DAMA International

DAMA, the Data Management Association International is a not-for-profit, vendor independent association of technical and business professionals dedicated to advancing the concepts and practices for data resource management and enterprise information. The primary purpose of DAMA International is to promote the understanding, development, and practice of managing data and information to support business strategies. DAMA International has chapters and members throughout the world.  Visit and become a member of DAMA by clicking here.

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