What is a Database Administrator?

A database administrator is responsible for using software to organize and store data such as customer shipping records and financial information. Database administrators ensure that the data is available to authorized users and secure from everyone else. Database administrators work in a number of industries, including computer systems design as well as hospitals, banks, insurance companies, and related services firms.

Job Functions of Database Administrators

Often called DBAs, database administrators make sure that data analysts can easily find and operate the database in order to retrieve the information they need. DBAs may work with a company’s management team in order to understand the company’s needs as well as to plan the goals for the database. Database administrators also routinely plan security measures, ensuring that the database is secure from unauthorized access, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many databases contain financial or personal information, which is why security is so important. A database administrator will also backup systems in case of a disaster or power outage, and he or she will ensure the integrity of the database by guaranteeing that the information and data held within are from respectable, reliable sources.

Successful database administrators have developed certain character traits and skills, including decision-making, active listening, critical thinking, the desire to learn new things, and the ability to monitor performance. In addition, database administrators must be able to tolerate stress and criticism, exercise self-control, be dependable, and have a keen attention to detail. The drawbacks to the field of database administration include the repetitive motions, frequent decision-making which can be stressful, standing apart from the competition, and time pressure to perform as expected as quickly as possible. However, database administrators who can push past this enjoy independence, strong relationships, support from their colleagues, and good working conditions.

Workplace Environment

Most database administrators work for data-processing firms, Internet service providers, and other types of computer systems design firms. Some database administrators may hold employment at companies such as banks and insurance companies that keep track of a significant amount of financial and personal data for their clients. Some database administrators work for healthcare firms by managing patients’ medical records, while others manage databases for retailers who keep track of their customers’ shipping and credit card information.

Education Path

Most database administrators have earned a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information-related field such as management information systems. Some firms with large databases may give preference to candidates who hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in information systems. An MBA can generally be completed in two years once an individual has earned his or her bachelor’s degree. Before becoming an administrator, these professionals typically obtain experience in a related field.

Related Resource: What is a Computer Forensics Investigator?

In addition, two common specialties for database administrators include application data base administrators and system DBAs. The former supports a database that is used for a specific set of applications such as customer service software. The latter supports the technical and physical aspects of the database such as installing patches to fix program bugs and software updates and upgrades. Some of the main responsibilities of a database administrator involve backing up and restoring data to prevent data loss, merging old databases into new ones, maintaining the database, ensuring the database operates as intended, and identifying users’ needs to create and administer the databases.