Database Administrators (often referred to as DBAs) store, organize and manage information by utilizing database software. They create computer databases based on the needs and requirements of the users. A database is basically a collection of computer files containing data companies and organizations choose to track and utilize. Making sure the data is accurate and current are important aspects of the job.
Database administrators are responsible for installing and testing the system and making sure it performs properly at all times. Database administrators are typically also responsible for providing security procedures and data backup. Part of their job is to ensure the information is accessible by maximizing database up-time. Sometimes they're called upon to design computer models which make projections regarding the outcome of actions such as product design changes or moving to a new location.
Database administrators need a broad-based knowledge of computer systems. They also need to be talented at thinking logically, working with details and organizing and processing information. Having a solid foundation in the basics of operating a business is also advantageous. In addition, database administrators need to have good written and verbal communication skills.
- Administer existing database systems and create new databases.
- Monitor systems to ensure optimum performance.
- Install database management software.
- Make sure the data storage system is efficient.
- Analyze the stored data.
- Monitor database security.
- Prevent the loss or duplication of information.
- Add and remove database users.
- Determine user access levels for all sections of the database.
- Approve, plan and supervise the installation and testing of new products and improvements of computer systems.
- Consult with the database development team, especially during the early stages of the designing process. Look for potential problems and offer recommendations for special performance capabilities.
- Database modelling and optimization.
- Produce standards and best practices for Structured Query Language (SQL).
- Provide training in SQL.
- Establish optimum values for database parameters.
- Determine and assess industry trends in database systems.
Database administrators typically work in comfortable offices and labs. They spend a significant amount of time working with computers. They typically work 40 per week. Sometimes weekend or evening work is required in order to meet deadlines, perform routine maintenance, create system backups or fix problems with the database system. Depending on the employer, database administrators may be able to do some of their work from home.
They often work as part of a team, however some database administrators work on their own. They continually communicate with computer programmers and managers. They must also communicate effectively with co-workers who have very little computer knowledge.
According to government statistics, in 2006 the middle 50 percent of database administrators earned between $48,560 and $84,830. The highest 10 percent earned over $103,010 and the lowest 10% earned less than $37,350. The government estimates in 2006 there were 119,000 jobs for database administrators.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects the growth in employment for database administrators will be much faster through 2016 than the average for all occupations. The higher growth rate is primarily due to database administrators working in the fast growing computer system design and related services industries. Also, the government projects that employment opportunities will increase due to the continued growth in Internet and e-commerce.
Database administrators basically work for any company that uses computer systems, including small businesses. Database administrators have opportunities for employment in the growing field of electronic information security, sometimes called "cyber security." Regarding career advancement opportunities, experienced database administrators may seek the position of management information systems manager or chief technology officer.
Database Administrator Schools, Certification, and Licensing
Database administrators are typically required to have a four-year degree in management information systems (MIS) or computer science. The MIS programs available at colleges typically differ from computer science curriculums due to emphasizing business and management-focused coursework along with business computing classes. Some database management positions may only require a two-year degree. Technical schools and community colleges offer associate degrees in computer science and information technology.
Many database administrators have earned certifications for particular database software programs. Microsoft Certified Database Administrator certification and Oracle database certifications are popular and in demand by employers.
Some employers are looking for database administrators with a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in information systems. Employers are also seeking workers with a four year degree in information systems or computer science and also have certifications and experience with the popular databases.
Current database administrators and those seeking the position may have to take additional courses to stay current with the latest changes in technology. For those that have the appropriate education for the profession but lack experience, an internship is often a path to employment in the occupation.
- Computing Technology Industry Association
- Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals
- IEEE Computer Society
The primary employers are companies that provide computer systems design services and other related services. Employment is also offered by internet service providers, web search portals as well as data processing and hosting services companies.
Schools for Database Administrators are listed in the Browse Schools Section.