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What is a Database Administrator?

A database administrator is an IT professional who uses special programs and systems to store, organize and protect data. Database administrators are involved in every stage of information management, from capacity planning to hardware installation to database design to performance monitoring. Database administrators earn approximately $70,000 every year, according to PayScale.

Junior Database Administrator

Entry-level database administrators perform daily duties that ensure that databases properly function, which include backup, security, recovery and maintenance. They support and maintain stable virtual environments that protect data assets. Some database administrators are involved with troubleshooting programming errors, so they must be familiar with standard codes, such as SQL and Oracle. They must also know how to define and create database objects, such as views, tables and indexes. Database administrators help with developing the logical flow and conceptual design of internal databases. They carry out application tuning and performance testing with maintenance utilities.

Senior Database Administrator

Senior database administrators are responsible for the administration of all activities that pertain to databases and associated servers. They develop and enforce database policies, standards and guidelines that maximize operational performance. They review reports that include information about the performance and maintenance of physical structures. Those who deal with traditional storage systems will use storage media equipment and regularly review backup and recovery strategies. They are sometimes tasked with creating and executing migration plans, which may involve massive transfers between servers and data warehouses. When it comes to maintenance, they set the data archive and purge procedures for historical data.

Minimum Qualifications

Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems or database administration. They are expected to have held progressive supervisory roles related database administration. This means that they may start out as a programmer, become a software developer or engineer, and then become a database supervisor. Most database administrators have working knowledge of SQL, Java, Unix, Linux and shell scripts. They must clearly understand the principles of database development, administration, networking and troubleshooting. Strong documentation and project management skills are needed. Database administrators will need knowledge of standard software suites like Microsoft Office’s Visio, Project and Access.

Minimum Education

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree, but large corporations will most likely require a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in database administration will start out with the foundations of databases, which prepares graduates to learn database programming. These courses usually use business contexts to explain how data is used and transformed into actionable information. Students learn how to identify the informational needs of internal users and businesses within specific industries. Classes on database management typically cover how to monitor and maintain enterprise databases through database management systems. Database design and modeling classes teach advanced theories and techniques used to create efficient systems. This requires students to identify business requirements and create conceptual designs, which are then translated into logical patterns and database objects.

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A database administrator is a valuable computer science professional who oversees and organizes mountains of data that is used for critical business decisions.