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Career Story: Database Administrator For An Auto Parts Supplier

Database Administrator For An Auto Parts Supplier

Job Title: Database Administrator

Education: Master of Computer and Information Science, Cleveland State University

Previous Experience: I started as a systems programmer on a prime computer - later progressing to be a system administrator on VAX/VMS systems and then on to UNIX. With the UNIX background, I got into being a basis administrator in an sap environment where oracle was used - then a position where I worked equally with databases and UNIX system - I now work exclusively with databases

Job Tasks: Our company is an automotive supplier - we make interior parts for all North America manufacturers - visors, door panels, consoles, seats and such.

I am in the information technology (IT) group - we manage all computer systems activities for our automotive division.

I support the databases that track production, inventory, raw materials purchases, product forecasts and such for each of about 80 plants and about another 45 plants that have been closed or serve as financial cost and profit centers.

With respect to the databases, I am responsible for their being available 24 hours by 7 days - that includes monitoring, proactively diagnosing problems and solving them before they become more serious. This includes designing a layout for the database files, monitoring and optimizing performance, assuring that the database is accessed properly from the application programs, assuring that if a database failure occurs, that the database can be restored quickly.

Since the needs of our plants and external customers change, we also also involved in the development/quality assurance process - we maintain an environment that is used by programmers to develop new programs, for business analysts to validate the programs, and for analysts, DBAs (Database Administrators), and developers to troubleshoot systems experiencing problems. That environment is essentially a duplicate (if smaller) environment than the production environment (which is actually used by the business).

There is an on-call rotation in which we must be available for troubleshooting production problems as they come up after usual business hours.

New products are introduced as needs arise and/or as they are made available from vendors. This can result in off-hours or weekend work. Database maintenance and in-house upgrades can also involve off-hours and weekend work.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts have to do with working with new technology as it becomes available, being able to creatively solve problems, work from home and work with people who appreciate your help.

Negatives include being in the automotive industry and, as such, face job insecurity, the off hours work, getting emergency calls in the middle of the night and working with users that are not technically proficient enough to understand that you are not the right person to solve their problem

Job Tips:
1. It is always worth the extra time to design systems in anticipation of future problems - solving problems by creating an environment in which they cannot occur is always a good idea.

2. You must always look to future technology trends and stay ahead of the curve - to remain stagnant in current systems will lead to stagnation, boredom and eventually unemployment.

3. Always be open to learning new things - always be willing to pull out a manual and research things and try to solve things yourself.

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