If you enjoy keeping up to date with new developments in technology and you have good communication and problem-solving skills, you may want to consider a career in database administration.
As a database administrator, you are responsible for the security, integrity, and performance of the database. You will help to troubleshoot any issues experienced by users. Some specific duties will include ensuring that:
- Data is well defined and consistent across the database.
- Users can access data in a form that suits their needs.
- Data is secure and can be retrieved if there is an emergency.
What are your main responsibilities?
As a database administrator, you will need to find out what users require and monitor their access and security. You will monitor the performance of the database, managing back-end organization of data to ensure that front-end users receive quick responses. You will control the access permissions and privileges of these users.
You will help with mapping out the conceptual design of the database, refining it and translating it into a data model that meets the storage requirements of the system. Installation and testing of any new versions of the database management system is also your responsibility as well as developing and testing plans for backup and recovery.
Your communication skills will be put to use as you work closely with database programmers and IT project managers. You will need to communicate consistently with various staff members in the technical, applications and operational fields to ensure that the database is secure.
You will make sure that data standards adhere to the Data Protection Act and write all database documentation, including definitions, procedures, and standards. You will also ensure that storage is working properly and that data is secure and retrievable.
Salary range depends on the location, industry, and level of experience. Rates are usually higher in banking, financial services, investment, and insurance sectors. The national average income for a database administrator in the United States is $77,428 per year, according to Glassdoor.
How do you become a database manager?
A number of different bachelor degrees may prepare you for a career as a database administrator, but the following are particularly useful.
- computer science
- computer systems/software engineering
- information technology
Other subjects that may be considered are physical, mathematical and applied sciences, electronics and operational research.
A postgraduate qualification not essential but it is likely to improve your prospects, particularly if your first degree is a non-computing one.
If you have good all-round IT skills, you may be able to enter this career without a degree. Most jobs require some experience in the IT industry and knowledge of database technologies and operations systems.
Who employs database administrators?
All organizations that use computerized databases need database administrators. These organizations may be in the public or private sectors. It is not only large companies that need database administrators as even relatively small companies may keep a sizable amount of information on clients and suppliers. The information on such databases is also used to target new customers and to launch new services and products.
This is a highly specialized role, and vacancy numbers have been growing steadily. Contracting is another option for experienced database administrators. As a contractor, you might work on designing and developing a small database or work as part of a team on a large-scale project.
Do you have what it takes?
There are certain key personality traits and skills that you need to be successful as a database administrator. Analytical and problem-solving skills are essential. You must be a team player who can communicate well and form strong working relationships with colleagues and customers. You also need to be flexible, adaptable and able to work to strict deadlines under pressure.
You will need to be familiar with principles of database design and understand information legislation, such as the Data Protection Act. You will also need to understand the main data manipulation languages and the business requirements of IT.
You will need to demonstrate a willingness to stay at the forefront of technological developments and be committed to continuing professional development. Most training for a database administrator is provided on the job, consisting of technical training on systems used by an employer. In-house training will usually be supplemented by external short courses, as appropriate.