Database Administrators (DBAs) are responsible for the handling, performance, maintenance, and overall reliability of databases. DBAs are also in charge of the improvement and design of new models of databases. Managing a database is all about collecting, sorting, and keeping information in an orderly manner. DBAs must make sure that the information stored is secured and is easily accessible to those allowed to access it.
The majority of companies around the world work with some kind of digital database and need several specialists in this area among their staff. Databases are used, among other things, for payrolls, client or customer’s records, and inventories.
In many ways, a DBA is something of a digital Librarian. Although there are clear differences in the two positions, both of them share some common tasks.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Database Administrators are expected to complete:
- Understanding user requirements:
- Maintaining the accessibility of the database; and
- guaranteeing its safety.
- Overseeing the performance of the database to ensure that it is handling the parameters properly and providing fast responses to users.
- Refining the logistics design to ensure that data can be converted into any specific model:
- Making sure that data meets the storage system’s requirements.
- Installing and testing new database management software:
- Updating the database management software on a regular basis;
- saving a backup of all previous data before installing new software; and
- making sure new software maintains data standards.
- Granting permission and privileges to proper users.
- Planning and maintaining a back-up system:
- Creating contingency plans in case of emergencies; and
- establishing data recovery protocols.
- Planning ahead on capacity issues:
- Making sure that storage and archiving measures are running effectively.
- Ensuring database integrity and safety; and
- testing and modifying existing applications and software to meet users’ requirements.
- Supervising the work of Data Entry Clerks:
- Making sure that all data is sorted properly; and
- ensuring that it is stored in the proper manner.
- Checking the status of the database.
- Checking the remaining database capacity.
- Reviewing any database activity from the previous night.
- Checking security parameters.
- Solving any issue that may come up during the day in a timely and prompt manner.
- Being in constant communication with other IT departments.
The average salary for Database Administrator (DBA) related jobs is $68,551 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $96,000. These results are based on 18 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills:
- Being able to identify problems in programming or software;
- solving problems in a timely manner;
- understanding the necessary procedures to solve problems; and
- implementing the proper protocols to solve problems.
- Good communication skills:
- Being in constant communication with users, other IT departments, and superiors; and
- dealing with users and customers in a polite and friendly manner.
- Highly familiarized with main data manipulation languages:
- Being able to program how the database processes data;
- establishing data parameters; and
- maintaining the database bug free.
- Good organizational skills:
- Establishing parameters for data collection;
- organizing data in an orderly fashion; and
- establishing data recall protocols.
- Strong stress and pressure management skills; ability to work under pressure in stressful situations while meeting tight deadlines.
- Outstanding team work abilities:
- Being able to relay tasks among the team;
- working as a unit to achieve a goal; and
- maintaining a healthy work relationship with colleagues;
- Understanding the importance of databases for business; and
- being aware of laws regarding data and information.
Database Administrator is a branch position under the IT job field. Like all the positions in this field, DBAs work with computer systems, software, hardware, and as the name clearly states, databases and data processing programs. They are employed by all sorts of companies, both big and small, as the majority of them require a database management specialist on their staff. Business and job opportunities are increasing exponentially as more and more enterprises realize the need to use specialized software to keep track of all their information. DBAs can also work as freelancers or for companies that specialize in database management for third parties.
Some companies will accept applicants with no higher education as long as they possess good IT skills, one to two years of previous experience, and good references. Therefore, having a degree is not strictly necessary although most companies prefer hiring people with a degree in Computer Science, System Engineering, Electronics, Information Technology, or Operational Research. Other courses and studies might also help improve the candidate’s chances given that they can be properly validated. DBA applicants must possess knowledge of programming languages and coding such as Structured Query Language (SQL), Unix, and Database Management Systems (DBMS).
DBAs need to be flexible and adaptable with their work hours. Although most positions require 37 to 40 hours of work a week, it is not unheard of for DBAs to work during low data usage time (nighttime) as well as weekends and national holidays when necessary. Sometimes DBAs must be on-call should any emergency emerge.
Having further experience in programming and knowledge of operating systems and technologies is always a plus. Many companies offer sandwich packages, meaning that the person they hire will have to assume the responsibilities of more than just one position, such as DBA and Technical Support Specialist.