On a day-to-day basis, database administrators work with database management software and are responsible for devising methods to organize, analyze, and present data. The first step is to evaluate end-user needs and then design, develop, and implement computer databases which will capture the needed information. It is often the case that database administrators are required to integrate data from old systems into the recently developed system. When needed, they may also test and modify database systems and provide troubleshooting for any problems that may arise. Database administrators ensure that the computer system meets performance expectations, understands the platform on which the system operates, and adds new users to the system.

Because many databases are connected to the Internet, database administrators must also coordinate “cyber-security” measures with network administrators. On occasion database administrators may become involved with database design but this function is usually the province of database designers or database analysts.

Database administrators work in comfortable office environments and usually work a 40 hour work week. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 14 percent of database administrators worked more than 50 hours per week, including evenings and weekends. In addition, some database administrators may be on-call outside of regular work hours in order to help resolve computer issues.

Database Administrator - Career Overview
Database Administrator – Career Overview

There is no single way to prepare for a career as a Database Administrator, although a bachelor’s degree in usually required. Some employers prefer candidates with graduate level study in a business-related discipline (e.g. MBA) with a specialization in Information Systems. MBS programs with a concentration in Information systems generally take two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree and include courses in finance, marketing, accounting, management, e-commerce, and systems design.

Lower-level positions may accept a 2 year degree in computer-related field offered by many community colleges and technical schools. Many of these programs are geared toward the needs of local, smaller employers that have less complex computer needs. These programs are more vocationally oriented that four year degree and graduate study.

Certification provides evidence of competence in the field. Many employers consider the possession of certifications as a standard entry requirement. You can obtain certification within a specific field of database management, such as Oracle Database Administration or Microsoft Certified Database Administrator.

Database administrators must be able to logical thinkers with the ability to work well with teams as much of the work is performed in conjunction with network administrators, programmers. The must also possess strong communication ability in order to educate end users with no computer background.

Database administrators may advance into managerial positions, such as Senior Database Administrator, Manager of Information Systems (MIS), up to Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

What follows is a list or work responsibilities that are specific to this career:

• Confer with end-users to determine needs.

• Create and develop guidelines for software usage.

• Monitor database performance

• Train users on the system

• Develop database protocols using flowcharts.

• Write technical descriptions and user guides

• Coordinate the maintenance of databases with network administrators

• Coordinate the process for updating and improving database systems.

• Work as part of the database development team. This is especially important when developing database as there will be frequent interaction with network administrators.