The Daily Life Of A Database Administrator

by QuickCert on November 3, 2010

The Daily Grind of the Database Administrator
Database administrators serve a critical role within an organization. They are responsible for keeping proprietary information safe and ensuring employees are productive with a continuous networking system. A database admin must also verify the accuracy of information within a company database. All of this and more guarantees that one day in the work life of a database administrator is never boring. This job can be a 24/7 responsibility depending on the size of the company. One person might shoulder all of the responsibility in a small company and be on-call during non-business hours. However, in a large company, the responsibilities are shared by a number of IT professionals over different shifts.

The workday for a database administrator typically starts with ensuring that data form the previous day was properly backed up. This may depend on the type of system that is maintained. This involves a thorough check of logs to identify errors.

Problem tickets are generated to report the breakdowns of applications affecting the database. The database admin performs a health check through the consoles on which the databases and systems reside. Different monitoring controls are used to perform the checks.

Escalated problems revealed in the problem tickets are dealt with immediately. Usually, the urgent problems are marked as a priority on the ticket. Each ticket is resolved based on the priority level and how it might impact the database system. The database administrator should have a proficient degree of skill for troubleshooting database problems. He or she must also determine if the issue can be resolved without escalating it to the next level for a senior level administrator.

The database administrator should have multiple specialized technical skills, including knowledge of SQL and the structure of a database. Having a firm understanding of business modeling and entity relationships are also necessary for a database admin to perform required tasks. Complex technologies are requiring a strong knowledge set in cloud computing and virtualization.

The need for these additional skill sets creates pathways for more database specialties and coinciding certification programs. Data analytics, database security, data warehousing and medical informatics are among the specialties that will position a database admin for a variety of career options.

Database-related certifications are available for the novice and advanced administrator. The Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) is an entry level certification that a majority of database administrators need to begin his or her career. There are also advanced tracks for a database administrator certification which include performance management, data warehouse administration and high availability grid. Certification coupled with real-life work experience is vital for success in the information technology industry.

Other daily tasks may include new database installation and configuration projects or database creations. The database administrator may also work on set-up and schema creations to create needed tables and/or fields in an existing database. User account and access management; capacity planning; data loading and processing; and, backup and recovery are additional tasks usually designated to a database admin. These are miscellaneous tasks that are important to the daily operation of a company. However, these tasks do not take precedence over problems that affect workforce productivity.

The day usually ends with the database admin listing the pending deliverables that need the immediate attention of the next shift. He or she should not expect the standard 8-hour shift, as overtime might be required to ensure a smooth transition.

Many of the certifications required for a database administrator are vendor-specific and is determined by the type of database a company uses. The variety of specialty areas such as installation, data transfer, automation and database administration will help the database admin perform the day-to-day functions.