Database administrators (DBAs) plan and build computer systems. They also make sure they are secure and working properly.
To be able to do this job you should have an excellent understanding of computer systems. You will need a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. You will also need strong problem-solving and organisational skills.
For most administrator jobs, you would need to know how to use database management systems. Employers often look for previous experience in computing such as IT support, programming or web development.
As a DBA you could work on a variety of databases, from banks' customer account networks to hospital patient record systems. Your tasks could range from upgrading an existing database to creating a completely new system.
On a new system, you would work with an organisation to:
- establish what the database is for, who will use it and what other systems it will link to (for example telephony)
- plan the structure of the database, working out how to organise, find and display the data
- build a test version and check the results to iron out any technical problems (bugs)
- fill (populate) the database with new information or transfer existing data into it
- plan how to update information, create back-up copies and report errors
- put in security measures.
- you may have extra duties, like supervising technical support staff, training users and producing performance reports for IT managers.
Increasingly, you could be working with web-based technologies and would need to understand how databases fit in with these systems. Database security is another area of growing importance. In a senior position you would normally be responsible for strategic planning, information policy, budgets and managing client relationships. You would work on projects with other IT professionals, such as analysts, programmers and IT project managers.
- an excellent understanding of database systems
- a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- strong problem-solving and organisation skills
- the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- business and budget awareness
- excellent communication, presentation and negotiating skills
- an understanding of data protection issues
- a willingness to keep up to date with developments in technology
- good teamworking skills.
Average salary (2014):
The United Kingdom: Starting salaries are between £18,000 and £22,000 a year. Experienced staff can earn between £23,000 and £35,000 a year, and senior DBAs can earn over £45,000 a year.
Qualifications and training required:
For most database administrator jobs, you would need to know how to use structured query language (SQL) and database management systems (DBMS), which include:
- DBMS (relational database management systems)
- OODBMS (object-oriented database management systems)
- XML database management systems.
Employers often look for previous experience in computing such as IT support, programming or web development. You could study for a qualification such as a BTEC HNC/HND or degree, then join a company’s graduate training scheme straight from college or university.
If you do not have an IT-related degree, you may still be able to get a place on a graduate training scheme, as larger employers tend to accept graduates from any discipline. You could study for a postgraduate IT conversion qualification, although this is not essential.
Companies in profession
Professions you might be interested in
Company recommended study programs
- 32 company recommendations
- 9 company recommendations