Introduction

A database administrator (DBA in DBMS) performs all activities related to designing, maintaining, creating, and running efficient and cost-effective databases and environments.

  1. Importance of a DBA
  2. Database Administrator’s Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Types of DBAs
  4. Data, database and system administrators

1) Importance of a DBA

A DBMS is also called a database management system. The DBA in DBMS -Database Administrator is the key to the DBMS and ensures dataflow and uninterrupted access of data to the organization. When the DBA functions effectively it means the enterprise is efficient and has ample data storage, access, and scalability.

Any errors in the DBMS will reflect on the revenues and cost-effectiveness of the company. Even small errors like power outages, poor data maintenance, or sheer lack of expertise could cost the company huge money. Hence the role of the DBA is critical to all organizations and industries that are data, IT, and business intelligence dependant.

2) Database Administrator’s Roles and Responsibilities

As pointed out above, the DBA in DBMS is critical to the functioning of organizations reliant on IT, data, and technology solutions. The primary role of DBA in DBMS and responsibilities will thus include workloads that are mission-critical, scaling operations, maintaining the database environment, and following the strategic technological blueprint of the organization in terms of its hardware and software. His role would include the function of a database administrator and the roles and responsibilities of DBA are

  • The setting up the databases, hardware, software, IT infrastructure, etc when the enterprise is new.
  • Running, maintaining, being database manager, and augmenting data storage when data systems exist.
  • The establishing of procedures and policies relating to security, maintenance, management, and users of DBMS.
  • Recovery of systems, data, etc, contingency plans, back-up and storage allocations, etc 
  • Being the subject matter expert, training coordination, interacting with the application and other developers, etc.

3) Types of DBAs

There are several types of DBA in DBMS. The General DBA is one working with the role of database administrator for all the data-related functions and its data administration. At times, DBAs are hired for specific purposes like database designing both physical and logical, database administration of the existing system, DBA activities, DBA tasks, fine-tuning of the database, managing it, etc.

Larger organizations have larger data volumes and hence they split the roles of DBA into specific job roles like database architect, system DBA, database analyst, task-oriented DBA, application DBA, performance analyst, cloud DBA, data warehouse administrator, etc. Take a look at the important DBA types.

System DBA: The technical System DBA role deals with how the database is configured, installed, and/or modified. The System DBAs do not typically handle the implementation of the database or its operations on the database.

The DBA tasks could include

  • Installing the latest versions or applying updates and fixes to the system.
  • OS tuning, taking care of transaction/ network processors working in the DBMS.
  • Tuning and settings operations of system parameters.
  • Ensuring appropriate memory and storage for the DBMS. 
  • Tweaking the DBMS software performance.
  • Physical installations of the DBMS etc.

Database architect. The role is of the DBA who implements and designs the new databases. Such DBAs are focused on existing/upcoming applications and new databases for these applications and typically not involved in the database tuning, maintenance functions of DBA, etc.

The responsibilities of DBA involving the database architect are typically

  • Ensuring translation of the data models into designs of a physical database.
  • Logical data modeling.
  • Access requirement analysis ensuring the optimal design of SQL access and databases.
  • Recovery strategy and backup creation of the new databases etc.
  • Analyzing data access requirements to ensure optimal database design and efficient SQL access. 

Database analyst. Fresh DBA in DBMS’ are at times called database analysts and may be required to perform jobs similar to what is expected of a database architect or a general database administrator.

Application DBA. The job role involves the responsibilities of database administrator and support for specific design applications. Their role is crucial in finding optimal ways for applications to deal with requests, debugging and writing what is SQL DBA and complex codes, etc. When so ever such roles exist there is always a general-purpose DBA on hand since several organizations may not hire specific application only DBAs and plump for general DBAs instead.

Task-oriented DBAs. The role is of a specialist DBA depends on the types of users in DBMS who are then tasked with very specific DBMS administrative tasks especially in large IT enterprises. For Ex: The role of recovery and backup DBA tasked with ensuring the databases are recoverable, contingency plans, backup scheduling and plans for testing scripts involved in it, recovery tasks of the drive, testing scripts, etc. 

Performance analysts are also a kind of task-oriented DBAs tasked with improving, monitoring, and evaluating the performance parameters of databases. The performance analyst is generally a SQL coding expert working with databases that are high-performance and need experts for its design, building, interfaces, etc, and generally works in tandem with application programmers.

Data warehouse administrator. A DBA who is specifically hired for skills and specific knowledge in an environment of data warehousing is called the Data Warehouse Administrator. The areas that would need such expertise are

  • Query tools, BI (Business intelligence) applications, etc.
  • OLTP data warehousing.
  • Data warehousing specialized designs.
  • ETL skills.
  • Data warehousing technology knowledge, star schema for designs, etc.

Cloud DBA. The cloud is where most organizations are moving to and this role is in high demand. The job role is similar to that of a general DBA but working on the cloud base instead. The cloud DBA will need expertise in implementations on  Microsoft Azure, AWS, etc, security and back-up functions of cloud storage, cloud database implementations, latency, cost management, fault-tolerance, etc.

4) Data, database and system administrators

Most often similar, the responsibilities and roles of a data administrator, a database administrator (the full form of DBA) and a system administrator are different.

Data administrators focus on data management’s business aspects rather than its technology. Such an administrator is capable of creating logical business data models based on data from the business functions and then creates databases for them.

System administrators focus on the setup, configuration, and installation of the DBMS and generally do not include database support or design functions. The SA creates, manages, and maintains the systems in short including migrations to the latest versions, and is a database administrator in DBMS.

Functions of database administrators:

The DBA in DBMS’s primary role is to maintain, implement, manage, recover and optimize databases for the enterprise or DBMS. The DBA must be in an advisory role when working with database management and application developers in the organization. The DBA needs to stay abreast of familiar database technologies and products like SQL DBA, APIs like JDBS, SQLJ, ODBC, REST, etc, inter-facers, encoders, and frameworks like .NET, Java EE, and more.

Educational requirements:

How to become database administrator? The DBA in DBMS is a technical expert who is expected to work with new designs and emerging technology. The educational qualifications required would be a bachelor’s degree in information or computer sciences from a reputed college, university, etc, and at least some work experience with any database products. Those with IT experience of long-standing could qualify without the degree for the DBA post. For Ex: Those having database administrator skills or many years of experience in SQL on Java, COBOL, or C environments.

Who is DBA? The DBA’s skills are enhanced with specific expertise in areas like Mongo DB, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, My SQL, Oracle, Postgre SQL, etc. They will also need excellent soft skills, exposure to OS familiarity on z/OS, Linux, etc, ERP packages like SAP, software for storage, and more. Certification programs that are accredited can be used to claim to have work experience in that area and the joining of support communities of reputed software groups also helps.

Salary:

A DBA in DBMS job is an excellent career and is as well-paid as it gets considering the average annual pay packet is USD 90,070. Again depending on the job location, industry, and candidate’s experience, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics range of salaries for DBA’s start at USD 50,340 at the entry levels to a high of USD 138,320 for the more experienced and efficient database administrators.

Another important factor is job demand and employability factors. The scope for database administrators (according to the US Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics) points out that between 2018 and 2028 the demand will see a 9% growth! The US News and World Report say it is the fifth-best job in technology, has a tiny 1.1% unemployment rate, and is the 48th sought-after job overall.

Conclusion

The job of DBA’s job is highly technical, very rewarding and a career path that is sought out by many globally. It has superb advancement opportunities, pay packets, flexibility at work, and so on. But, it also has the downside of being in challenging and stressful situations all the time. All in all an excellent choice!

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