A database can be defined as an organized collection of data, most probably in digitized form. Data is organized within such databases primarily in such a way that it displays and supports the processing of the relevant aspects of the information as it is required by those who use the database. Databases are usually software management systems that are quite complex. The complexity is embedded in these databases to ensure the presence of security, and is also inherent due to the nature or quality of the information they carry, i.e., large amount of important data. [1: Microsoft. "Database Basics." Microsoft Office. March 2012 .]
Nowadays, the utilization of databases is so widespread amongst every sector of the business, that almost every other product, whether small or large, and technology, whether existing or latest, is dependent upon the usage of databases for the development of their businesses and commercialization. Companies that use database management systems tend to heavily rely on them for their day-to-day operations, irrespective of the size. Thus, it is important that these database management systems are managed by individuals who are properly trained with the necessary knowledge and are familiar with such database systems. Such people employed should also possess the ability and the required experience to handle the complexity associated with the database management systems. It is this where the role of computer professionals called the 'Database Administrators' comes in.
The Database Administrators (DBA) are the people who are responsible for the maintenance, upgrade, configuration, and of course, the administration of databases. They are also involved in the design of the database systems and the implementation of security measures required for the safeguarding of the databases. DBAs are also known as Database Coordinators and Database Programmers. In layman's terms, what Database Administrators basically do is that they store, organize and manage data within these databases. Their role also involves the identification of the needs of the users, according to which they set up the computer databases. It is in their job description to ensure that the database functions properly as required, i.e. It provides access to the users of the required information at all times and that to store more data to the database system as needed. A large part of their job description also involves the maintenance of the backup of all the information stored within the database and also to uphold the integrity of the enterprise data. Negligence or failure to fulfill these functions by the Database Administrators can heavily have an impact over a company and change its fortunes to huge problems. [2: SFIAPlus. "Database Administrators." British Computer Society (Retrieved 2012-02-06).]
Anyone individual who has focused on the area of database design, maintenance and administration from the start of their computing education can become a Database Administrator. The added responsibility of maintaining a database management system upon a systems administrator or a programmer can make him a Database Administrator. People even from unrelated areas of work, such as an accountant or an engineer, can make a switch to the field of Information Systems to become a Database Administrator. This switch can be made possible by gaining some relevant and important knowledge relating to the database management systems. It is utmost important to have a good understanding of the operating system over which the database management system is or will be running over. There should be a general understanding of the networking systems and their structures. The sound presence of an idea of the design of the database is also necessary. And in the end, the knowledge of the database system itself should be there.
The job of a Database Administrator is quite tougher than it seems to be. They are required to work for almost forty-hour weeks and are even required to put in evening shifts or overtimes and work over weekends when there is the involvement of deadlines. Basically, it is a norm in their line of work to be on-call duty 24/7. Receiving calls from work during vacations, sick leaves, wedding and other important events is to be expected by a Database Administrator. However, it is quite common for them to commute from home and is deemed not necessary for them to stay behind in the office or the lab to complete the work at hand. Just like all other computer professionals who are required to spend long hours of their days in front of the computer screens, the Database Administrators are also likely to suffer from physical issues such as severe back pains, eyestrains and discomfort in the hands. [3: Speciss College. .]
The administration and maintenance of a database management system requires a lot of attention to detail. Data Administrators are those computer specialists that are required to communicate with not only other computer personnel in the enterprise. The DBAs are also required to explain and come face-to-face with the general staff who have no knowledge relevant to computer systems what-so-ever. They need to logically put in plain words their work and directives to these people in order to achieve the task of successful execution of their jobs.
Applicants for a Database Administration job should not only have the possession of good communication skills, but should also display leadership traits and teamwork qualities along with unperturbed organizational skills required to achieve their goals. They should have the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing environment and industry. These applicants are also required to be flexible with their solutions, concepts and ideas. They should be good at problem-solving and have good analytical skills that would benefit their purpose. Candidates applying for the occupation of a Database Administrator should be willing to commit long hours to this job and to work under tight deadlines. A commitment is also required toward continuing professional development (CPD) i.e. keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in technology. It is also important that the applicant must be well-versed in the law and legislation with regards to this area of work, such as The Data Protection Act. These specifications along with general requirements such as business awareness and the IT aspects of a business should also be present within a prospective candidate to be successful. Many DBA positions require the knowledge of systems such as Structured Query Language (SQL) and Unix and Database Management Systems (DBMS). [4: Prakken Publications. "Database Administrator?" (n.d.).]
Like every other job, the employers of the potential candidates set necessary requirements to be fulfilled to successfully get the job in question. In this case, employers usually demand those individuals who possess relevant technical degrees in the area of computer science, information technology, software engineering, mathematics, operational research, electronics, computer engineering and other related fields when hiring for the position of a Database Administrator. Since the role of a Database Administrator is a highly specialized one, there are a number of opportunities available in the market for these individuals.
However, most of the big organizations go for those candidates that have already achieved relevant experience relating to database management systems in the field. Such know-how can easily be obtained by undertaking part-time work, such as free lancing or by taking up work placements during vacation times or breaks. This opens up a direct entry route for the graduates right into very large organizations. Most of the candidates that apply for such a position usually gain experience in programming. This is considered as a very good idea as it allows an individual to familiarize him or herself with as many database management systems and operating systems as possible. Database administrators may also advance into managerial positions from their occupations as Database Administrators. For example, a promotion to the post of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Information Technology (IT) Director might be made on the basis of experience in managing data and enforcing security upon the database management system.
Database Administration training is usually provided on-job since it is quite technical in nature. It is possible for more experienced individuals to go for additional certifications and courses relevant to their work. Examples of such certifications are Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) or Oracle Database Certification. Certification, in this case, is a way of showing a level of competence. Nowadays, most of the employers consider these certifications as a standard of the database administration industry. Formal training is much more common for large organizations and groups, than for small sized companies. These formal trainings focus not only on soft skills such as time management, customer service skills and information on the company's products and procedures, but also there is a provision of technical manuals, CD-ROMs and web-based learning programs for self-study along with mentoring schemes for those looking for further individual development to strengthen their career portfolio.
Database Administrators work in every possible sector of the economy, whether it is public or private. Employers of this job include internet service providers, web-search portals, and data-processing and hosting firms. Examples of companies that employ Database Administrators are The…