Database administrators use software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data is available to users and is secure from unauthorized access. Database administrators work in many different types of industries, including computer systems design and related services firms, insurance companies, banks, and hospitals.
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Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts can easily use the database to find the information they need and that the system performs as it should. DBAs sometimes work with an organization’s management to understand the company’s data needs and to plan the goals of the database. Database administrators often plan security measures, making sure that data are secure from unauthorized access. Many databases contain personal or financial information, making security important. Database administrators are responsible for backing up systems in case of a power outage or other disaster. They also ensure the integrity of the database, guaranteeing that the data stored in it come from reliable sources. Some responsibilities of a database administrator include:
Many database administrators are general-purpose DBAs and have all these duties. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks that vary with the organization and its needs. Two common specialties are as follows:
System DBAs are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. They typically have a background in system architecture and ensure that the database in a firm’s computer systems works properly.
Application DBAs support a database that has been designed for a specific application or a set of applications, such as customer service software. Using complex programming languages, they may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the aspects of the applications that work with the database. They also do all the tasks of a general DBA, but only for their particular application.
Most database administrators for computer systems design and related services firms, such as Internet service providers and data-processing firms. Other DBAs are employed by firms with large databases, such as insurance companies and banks, both of which keep track of vast amounts of personal and financial data for their clients. Some DBAs administer databases for retail companies that keep track of their buyers’ credit card and shipping information; others work for healthcare firms and manage patients’ medical records.
Data integrity is a DBA's number one responsibility, but do you know what else they do all day? Bob Watkins outlines some of the basic duties of a DBA.
Whenever someone asks what I do, I never find it particularly easy to explain. Oh, my core job responsibility is supporting the Oracle databases we have at work, but 'supporting' can mean an awful lot of things.
Find out what you need to know to get started on the road to a rewarding career as a SQL Server DBA.
Perhaps the most common question I am asked by readers is “How can I become a DBA?” The question is actually not as simple as it seems and there are many different aspects to the answer.
Various things you may not know about being a Database Administrator.
For database administrators, the average workday can begin before they even set foot in the office. Some database administrators check database traffic and log files from home, so they can form an overview of the day’s priorities while they’re on their way to work.