The Database Administrator (DBA) Job Description

Part 13 of 20 in the Series: Career Paths for Database Professionals
Database Administrator (DBA)'s Job Description
Database Administrator (DBA)'s Job Description

In this issue, I will be answering a question submitted by a reader on “The Roles, Responsibilities or Job Description of Database Administrators (DBAs)“.

You can Ask IT Career Coach your toughest or most pressing questions and I will answer it fully just as I am answering this reader’s question below!

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Here is the reader’s question::

About The Database Administrator’s (DBA) Job Description

I am a final year BE student interested in developing a career in DBA

Can you tell me the future prospects for DBA jobs and do i need to have a good knowledge of programming like C,C++,java,.net etc to be a DBA?

And I have also heard that getting jobs in DBA as freshers is very tough and companies don’t prefer DBA as freshers.

The Duties, Roles And Responsibilities of Database Administrators (DBAs)

The Database Administrator (DBA)’s job comes with a lot of responsibility and because of that, a lot of experience is usually required for the job.

This is the reason why Database Administrators tend to be seasoned database professionals and not entry level database professionals.

With that in mind, your first goal should be to learn database development first and then get a job where you can work your way up to becoming a DBA by first proving your competency as a database developer first.

Does A DBA Need To Know Scripting Languages?

DBAs are not computer programmers so they do not need to master every facet of programming with C/C++, C#, Java, .NET, etc.

However DBAs also need to write scripts for database maintenance jobs in a specific programming language.

For example, DBAs importing data into a SQL Server database may need to know enough of the Visual Basic scripting language (VBScript) to write some of the Extraction, Transform and Load (ETL) or Data Transformation Services (DTS) tasks required for the Extraction, Transformation or Loading (ETL) process.

Does A DBA Need To Know SQL Programming?

Though DBAs are not required to master computer programming, the normal day to day DBA duties may involve extensive programming in SQL.

For example, a DBA may have to write fairly extensive programming solutions in the SQL Language as part of stored procedures or some other database script.

It’s important to note that each relational database platform has its own native programming language (T-SQL, PL/SQL, Access SQL, etc.)

Introducing The DBA’s Job Description

Here is a quick overview of the database administrator’s (DBA) job description.

The database administrator or DBA is responsible for maintaining the database, applying the patches and upgrading the database.

The DBA is also responsible for maintaining the security of the database.


Here is some additional information on the roles and responsibilities of a DBA:

  • The DBAs responsibilities includes installing the database on a production system.

  • The DBA role tends towards supporting production, staging or quality assurance databases and rarely sandbox or developer databases.

    Supporting Sandbox or developer databases are usually part of the database developer’s job description.

  • The DBA is also responsible for maintaining the uptime or availability of production databases.

    DBAs have to monitor production databases regularly or respond to any database issues by bringing down the database or taking the database offline.

  • The DBA’s roles, responsibilities and duties also includes monitoring or optimizing the performance, security, backup, recovery or integrity of database management systems.

This post was written in answer to a question submitted by a reader on “The Database Administrator’s Job Description.

If you have a question, be sure to post it here as a comment on this post or submit it to: [Ask IT Career Coach].

How To Become A Database Administrator?

The first step in becoming a database administrator is to learn SQL Query Writing, master relational database design and development and study advanced sql topics.

Database Administrator’s tend to be highly skilled database developers and are usually promoted from within. What that means is that in all likelihood, you would start out as a database developer, gain a lot of experience and then move up the ranks or get promoted to a database administrator (DBA).




13 Responses to "The Database Administrator (DBA) Job Description"

  1. Nashila (England)   February 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I am still in secondary school
    I want to find out if the Database Administrator career is the right choice for me because i am stil in high school and i love it as a subject

    ReplyTweet
  2. Teoman (Istanbul, Turkey)   January 15, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I have been working as a system administrator for 5 years and my company offered me a job to be a SQL database administrator.

    But I am thinking of this offer for two months but I have not decided yet which job to choose

    Yes I like to work on both database and system administrator .. but I have to choose only one; sql database or windows system administrator …

    Could you please tell me which one is better than other with regards to fast-growing in future, paid, finding good job easy, job diversity and so on ..

    May be if I choose the database administrator, I will have some database career choices in high demand, like business intelligience, database warehouse..

    in my point of view, database adminisrator is more of an advantage than system administrator

    .. Am I right? Could you please help me?

    ReplyTweet
  3. Kumar   December 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I have done my Bsc.computers, can i start up my career as a DBA?

    Will employers consdier my qualification?

    ReplyTweet
    • ITCareerCoach   December 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

      Employers will not consider you for a DBA position without either relevant DBA experience or at least a Database Developer / Network Administration background

      ReplyTweet
  4. Daniel ,kumasi ,west africa   December 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    where exactly can a GIS DBA works?

    ReplyTweet
  5. Daniel (Kumasi, Ghana, WEST Africa)   December 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

    who is a GIS database administator
    what does he do?
    what are his qualification
    which company does he normally works in?
    thank you

    ReplyTweet
    • ITCareerCoach   December 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

      GIS databases stands for Geographic Information Systems Databases or Geospatial Information Studies Database.

      A GIS database is a database for geospatial / spatial or geographical data.

      A GIS database stores geospatial information which is a combination of maps, 3D images, space/time coordinates (x,y,z points in space time which represent latitude, longitude elevation),

      A GIS Database Administrator would typically be a traditional (mid-level / senior) database administrator who is tasked with learning how to store / analyze / manage GIS data / Spatial Application Data.

      An organization looking for a GIS DBA would task who is already a DBA to take on that additional responsibility as it is going to be very challenging to ask someone who doesn’t have any DBA experience to learn the complexities of handling large volumes of GIS data as well as perform in the role of a DBA.

      A GIS DBA has to handle the tasks performed by a traditional DBA as well as that of a GIS Application / Support Analyst.

      While you can learn or study the administrative aspects of a DBA’s work, you can’t expect the cumulative handson experience of a traditional DBA to be learned just as easily.

      So you should really face the challenges of a traditional DBA’s work and duties first before you start looking into the complexities, duties and challenges of a specialist DBA career path!

      ReplyTweet
  6. Avinash   March 19, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Is it necessary to have a database development experience to become a database administrator.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   March 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

      As a database administrator or DBA, one of your primary responsibilities is to keeo your database up and running all the time and another one is to ensure that it responds quickly or that it performs well.

      In a larger company you will work with a team of software developers or database developers. Some of them will write good stored procedures and some of them will not.

      So, it is your job to review all the stored procedures that will be saved on your database because a poorly performing stored procedure can comprise the secyrity of your data or bring down your production database or cause it to perform poorly.

      So, yes you have to be like the best database developer in the company because you must be able to review all the stored procedures and spot problems even before their stotred procedures are saved on your database or help the database developers optimize it so that it peforms even better.

      And you have to watch over your database and detect any sql queries that are executed through software applications and then get back to the developers whose sql queries are causing problems.

      You will also have to design the databases that are put in your production systems or at least review them to make sure that they are consistent with other database designs and that they are designed according to normalization guidelines, etc.

      So, yes, a database administrator or DBA must be a very good database developer and must have lots of database development experience … good question!

      ReplyTweet
  7. Rakesh   August 20, 2010 at 5:23 am

    hello i’am interested in DBA career. and as fas as my trainer considers me the good one. but i’am to complete my B.E this year. my plan is to go abroad and do ms in database. i’am an oca certified in dba 11g

    before that i need to know some things about the dba interface

    during my training period i’ve worked with oracle 11g,10g and 9i. though there were changes in each versions but the the drill was same. so what i want to know is that what is the interface the Dbas use for their job.
    i’ve used in windows -the cmd prompt and sql developer of oracle.
    and in lunx . the very vi editor.

    i want to know the interface and will i have to take training to work with that interface .
    please reply .

    ReplyTweet
  8. alice   July 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    please answer that following questions please….

    1. please describe your systems development process
    2. does it(your development process) resembles more the systems development life cycle or prototyping?
    3. do you use methodologies similar to both?
    4. when do you use your different methodologies?
    5. explore the methodologies you used for developing applications to be used through the web.
    6. how did you adapted your methodology to fit this new systems development process?

    ReplyTweet
  9. Shahnaz Mahdi   June 22, 2010 at 5:25 am

    I want to get the latest information about the databses(DBA Track)

    ReplyTweet

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