Database Administrator Careers

Career path, salaries, qualifications, responsibilities

Qualifications

The need for handling high volumes of sensitive data in a smooth manner and in a secure environment has made the job of database administrator a key position across organisations.

Here is a look at the tasks, qualifications, typical employers and salaries, and the job outlook for database administrators, or DBAs.

Responsibilities: What do Database Administrators do?

The typical DBA usually has a long list of responsibilities: install, upgrade, administer, monitor, maintain, and secure databases of organisations.

The main objective of DBAs is to use their knowledge and skills to make information available readily to database users, monitor and secure databases, design and adopt development strategies for database management, and conceive plans for handling future requirements.

Given your responsibilities as a DBA, you may often start their work day while still at home—checking emails or SMSs for system alerts. You will probably start preparing an action plan while still on your commute to work.

Your typical work day as a DBA would start with a close look at the performance of servers, especially the critical ones. You will be monitoring the less important ones by a biweekly or weekly schedule.

Testing systems and ensuring that your backups can be relied upon is another daily task, as your two main objectives are to maximise data recovery and minimise data recovery time in case there is a server downtime.

As technology is always changing, you will need to help developers add new applications or rejig existing ones without overloading the server.

Other daily tasks may include opening new database user accounts, allocating user access, and reviewing troubleshooting systems.

At the office, meeting with senior managers will take up much of your time. The end of your day will see you taking up a final inspection of the systems before leaving.

Qualifications

Most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or management information system.

For senior positions, a postgraduate degree along with experience may be required. Certifications (Oracle and Microsoft certifications, for example) are highly valued and hold the key to a good career.

As the DBA’s job is basically that of a trouble-shooter, experience is highly valued.

Common sense, a willingness to learn, a methodical approach to work, and natural problem-solving skills are among the desired personal traits for a DBA.

Typical employers & salary for DB administrators

Database administrators are in great demand in database-software and software-applications industries, banks, telecommunication, and companies providing IT and financial services.

Annual salaries in India range from Rs. 1,82,000 to Rs. 9,48,000 ($40,000 – $103,000 in the US).
As no organisation can afford a database outage, DBAs are on their toes almost all the time.

The work environment is good but can be stressful. Although the availability of high-speed Internet at homes has made it unnecessary for DBAs to rush back to office after their normal working hours, this may be required at times.

Big companies may also have DBAs working in shifts. Travel to clients’ worksites might also be part of the DBA’s duties.

Career path

An experienced IT consultant and blogger describes a DBA’s career path to a senior position as a marathon rather than a sprint.

In other words, knowledge gained through work experience counts.

A junior-level developer or IT administrator can acquire enough knowledge to become a DBA and then move on to more responsible positions over the years.

It is possible for a DBA to move up to senior DBA, IT project manager, and IT programme manager.

Job outlook

In these days of Big Data, DBAs are hot property in India and elsewhere. A hiring manager remarks that an expert DBA stays in the job market for just an hour before he or she receives an offer.

This may or may not be true, but the hundreds of new jobs listed every day on websites certainly paint a rosy picture for DBAs.

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