Whenever you call a customer service agent, they can quickly pull up all your account information. That little magic trick comes courtesy of database administrators (DBAs).
They use specialized software to store and organize a company's data. This can include a variety of information, from confidential financial numbers, to payroll data, to customer shipping records. Database administrators work to make sure the data is available to approved users yet secure from unauthorized access or accidental loss or data corruption.
DBAs sometimes work with an organization’s management team to understand the company’s data needs and to help shape what the database can do. Many database administrators handle a wide variety of duties, but some specialize. System DBAs focus on the physical and technical aspects of the database, installing upgrades of fixing bugs. Application DBAs focus on a specific application that works with the database.
- Identify user and company needs for a database
- Install and update database software and servers
- Keep data secure from viruses and attacks
- Run tests to ensure the system runs properly
- Maintain and back up the database
- Monitor storage space and capacity
- Merge databases when necessary
- Work with users to identify issues
Some data analysts learn database administration skills on the job and by earning an associate degree. Most employers look for a bachelor's degree in information science or computer science. Often the path to the job is determined by the size and scope of the company.
Most companies require database administrator certification either from the specific software vendor or another certification provider.
- Have excellent communication skills
- Are detailed-oriented
- Are a quick, creative problem-solver
- Have excellent analytical skills
- Have a good grasp of database languages, including Structured Query Language (SQL)