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Career Story: Database Specialist At Charitable Organization

Database Specialist At Charitable Organization

Job Title: Database Associate

Type of Company: I work for a not-for-profit organization, in the area of animal welfare.

Education: BA, Civil Engineering, Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Venezuela) •• MS, Computer Information Systems, Bentley College •• Certificate, Computer Information Systems, Bentley College

Previous Experience: I worked for six years in the systems department of a financial institution, first as business systems analyst and then as a programmer analyst.

Job Tasks: I help my organization with the online donations. They have a web site where people can give money; I download the donations and import them into the financial system where data and deposits are stored.

I help too with financial reports and with mailing lists. We have a system we use to send blast emails to a group of 100,000 supporters and sympathizers and it works pretty well. but, sometimes we have to tailor the list so that a different email gets distributed to the people who haven't donated recently and this involves wedding information from two different systems that don't really mesh with one other, and I have to download the data and feed it through Access to come up with the mail merge we need.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love working with data, so the best part of my job is manipulating numbers and using database programs to solve company problems.

The worst part of my job is having to go to fund-raising meetings. These are rarely very structured and seem superfluous to someone like me, whose real aptitude is computer work.

Job Tips: If you are thinking of a career in systems, try to get into a business you like (or you can live with at least). Much as I love working with systems and data, I find it very hard to be involved in fund-raising.

Let your interests mold your career; I always loved databases and was always trying to learn about them on my own. I'm the only person at work who's familiar with Microsoft Access, and it's helped me to make surprising contributions.

Additional Thoughts: One of the most important attributes for success in this job is having people skills. You have to have more than just technical knowledge; you need to be able to communicate with people, to talk to them and understand them, and just as importantly, to be able to write specifications in a well-organized and understandable way. You should be comfortable too making presentations to larger groups.

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