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Database Administrator Guide

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Let’s embark on our trip to explore how to become a database administrator, the highlights and challenges of a Database Administrator. 

Introduction

There are numerous high-paying IT jobs to scout for in today’s era. Depending on your chosen branch of Computer Science, you can opt-out of the desired career path for yourself. If you are looking for guides to such IT high profile jobs, we have got you covered there! Today, we are here with a nifty Database administrator guide. In a world where data is a driving force of all the top-level companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, to name a few, robust databases call for skilled database administrators.  We will tell you everything starting from the basic job description of a Database Administrator (DBA) up to the steps leading to becoming one along with the database administrator skills to hone and perks to expect.

Who is a Database Administrator?

An IT technician who holds full responsibility to direct and perform administrative roles on a database is referred to as a database administrator. A database administrator ensures a successful database environment for the sake of an efficient database with high yielding performance. Every organisation has an associated database responsible for storing and manipulating all the treasured data of that organisation. It very well signifies the importance of the role of a database administrator. 

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Database Administrator job description

A database administrator is entitled to the head of the database administration of a certain firm. They use a DBMS to build a new database or to manage a pre-existing database. An efficient DBA enables the smooth functioning of a database for various applications. Maintaining database performance, integrity and security falls under the major database administrative works to be taken care of by a database administrator. A DBA can grant and revoke the access pass of other database users to a database for data abstraction or security purposes.  

Roles and responsibilities

A DBA is the focal point of information for the DBMS that an organisation uses. Hence, a DBA takes full responsibility of a database system, right from its design and setup to its maintenance whenever a new DBMS is adopted. Reiterating the importance of a database administrator to a business organisation, let us look at the main responsibilities that lie with the role of a database administrator.  

  • Database planning and design: A DBA is responsible for implementing a new database management system in order to set up a constructive database environment. While deploying databases within organisations, a DBA develops and follows a strategic blueprint for on-going efficacy of modern applications that uses these databases. 
  • Database performance: A DBA fine tunes and optimizes the performance of programs, prevents database system outages, downtimes and slowdowns, performs database backup and recovery. 
  • Database security: Another main task that falls under the responsibility of a DBA is implementing policies and standards to ensure database security. They ensure the safety of databases from unauthorized access. In addition, a DBA leads the training process of employees pertaining to proper usage and access of databases.
  •  Troubleshooting: Whenever a database and associated program related issue arises, a DBA needs to come up with creative problem solving techniques, perform troubleshooting and root cure analysis. Fast problem resolution maintains high responsiveness of the database. 
  • Communicator: A database administrator is quite often required to interact with the other IT technicians and programmers. Thus, Database Administrator skills are inclusive of good communication skills.
  • Playing the role of SEMs: Since database administrators are well versed with databases as well as many other programming languages, they often become major participants of leading IT projects. Owing to their experience of database handling and exposure to various tools and technologies, many a times they play the role of subject matter experts. 

Now, large organisations comprising large databases need separate database administrators for each type of above-mentioned responsibility. Database Administrators are broadly classified into two categories – System DBAs and Application DBAs.

System DBAs focus on handling the technical tasks including DBMS installation, configuration and modification. At times when OS parameters or complex DBMS parameters are needed to be amended, they get involved in application tuning. 

An application DBA administers the application programs that make use of the database. They are primarily concerned with generating and debugging complex SQL queries.  They also cater to suitable ways for database support and request management for a particular subset of applications. 

 There are various other subcategories of a DBA. For example, a general-purpose DBA will carry out all sorts of general administrative and data-related tasks, a database architect will look after the logical and physical design of a database, and so on. Apart from these two DBA types, there can be system DBA, database analyst, performance analyst, task-oriented DBA, data warehouse administrator, and cloud DBA as the major DBA job roles. Let’s take a brief note of the responsibilities that the mentioned DBA roles await. 

The work of a database analyst is concentrated on the analysis of database implementation. It is pretty much similar to the role of a database architect. Also, some firms may treat database administrators and database analysts as one. 

A performance analyst is an SQL expert who monitors and improves the performance of applications accessing the database. A deep understanding of the Database Management systems is a must for a performance analyst for being able to make appropriate changes to improve the database and application quality. 

The role of a task-oriented DBA entirely focuses on the administrative part. Database backup and recovery, access authorisation, performance analysis, etc. count as some common activities of a task-oriented DBA. 

A data warehouse administrator is one who oversees data warehouse administration. Knowledge of Business Intelligence (BI) and query tools, data warehousing techniques such as OLAP and star schema, specialization of database design for data warehousing, and ETL skills are the must have Database Administrator skills for data warehouse administration

A cloud DBA is responsible for database implementation and administration on cloud space provided by AWS, Microsoft Azure, and other cloud providers. Cloud DBAs must have proper knowledge of cloud database administration encompassing the cloud concepts such as latency, cost management and fault tolerance.

Note: Not every organisation comprises all these different types of DBAs separately.

These critical responsibilities pretty well justify the high database administrator salary.  

The pay scale of a DBA in the US can vary from $68,340 per year for top earners to $120,880 per year for 25% percentile earners. The average salary comes out to be around $90 per year. If we talk about the average salary of a database administrator in India, it is estimated to be around 5LPA. The lower bound of the database administrator salary is around 3LPA, whereas the upper bound can extend up to 14LPA. Company, experience, and skills are major factors that govern the Database Administrator salary trends. 

  1. Database Administrator Salary: Based on Company

There is no second opinion when we say top notch companies always offer higher pay scales. The average salary of a DBA depends on the employer company. Amazon, IBM, Cognizant, HCL Technologies, TCS, Accenture Technology Solutions, Infosys Ltd., are the top 8 leading companies that hire DBA with a lucrative pay. The salary trend in these companies goes as follows.

Hiring Company Average Pay Per Year
Amazon, India INR 2,440,225 
Amazon, US $123,139 
IBM Corp., India INR 975, 915 
IBM Corp., US $71,810 
Cognizant, India INR 705,000 
Cognizant, US $93,014
HCL  INR 600,00 
TCS INR 558,000 
Accenture Technology Solutions INR 549,000 
Infosys Ltd. INR 485,925 

Not only IT companies but there are top-tier Scientific and Research companies like ISRO, NASA, etc. that you can scout for the job of a Database Administrator.

  1. Database Administrator Salary: Based on Experience

Experience is another essential parameter that determines the average Database Administrator salary.  It is quite obvious that a DBA with more years of experience is expected to draw more salary than a DBA with less years of experience. Here is how the average pay of a DBA in India differs on the basis of experience criteria in one’s career.

Experience Average Pay Per Year
Fresher 2LPA -7LPA
Mid – Career 7LPA – 13LPA
Experienced 13LPA – 26LPA 

If your chosen path is becoming a successful DBA, then you may rest assured as with the passing years, your seniority and experience will fetch you good results in terms of salary. 

  1. Database Administrator Salary: Based on Skills

As we already know, your skills talk more than anything. Your adequate and profound skillset can alone help you draw a handsome salary years after year. Let’s have a look at the following table to understand how different DBA skills lead to different salary structures.

Skills Average Pay per year
Oracle INR 754,054
MS SQL Sever INR  475,977
SQL INR 453,622
AWS (Cloud Computing) INR 693,000
IBM DB2 (Database Management) INR 841,230

Skills required to be a Database Administrator

So far, if the position of a Database Administrator has intrigued you and you are looking for a cornerstone to get started, let’s talk about the skills that you need to master. The list of core IT skills that you need to polish for becoming a booming Database Administrator goes like the following. 

  • Hard Skills
  • DBMS, Algorithms, Data Structures
  • Oracle
  • SQL – PSQL, MySQL, MS SQL Server, etc.
  • Web Technologies 
  • Data Modelling
  • Data security and troubleshooting
  • Soft Skills
  • Problem Solving and Analytical Thinking
  • Communication Skills
  • Detail Observant
  • Time Management and organization Skills

Consider going through this DBMS tutorial to get started as a beginner.

A day in the life of a Database Administrator

The profound position of a Database Administrator involves a hectic behind the scene schedule. Let’s have an insight of a day in the life of a Database Administrator. Apart from pioneering the administrative tasks of a database, a DBA also has to collaborate with co-workers, help them in fetching and analysing data, planning and implementing strategies with business leaders and teams at work. 

A typical day of a DBA might start off with checking on logs and SQL Server Agent. On days when you don’t have enough time to review the server details, you can set up a ‘rotation’ schedule to have a tab on top priority servers daily and a ‘cycle’ schedule to take a look at the less-essential servers alternately or weekly. Adopting best practices and performance baselines for performance tuning and throughput optimization is an inherent fragment in the life of a DBA. Performance baselines and throughput benchmarks are something indispensable in the world of database management. 

Luckily, baselines are not something that makes you go through a lot of hassle.  Another important task that waits for the DBAs is testing and validating Backups Data Recovery techniques. With the help of baselines, a DBA is able to recognise the loopholes that may give rise to problems sooner or later. So, here’s when the real deal begins, a large chunk of your time as a DBA in coming up with solutions and performing operation tunings. But the job doesn’t end here. A DBA has to take care of coordinating the data pushes and application upgrades as per his/her role, data and database environment. As DBAs you are commonly called for scheduling, addressing, and coordinating patch management.  Code reviewing and making interaction with developers also count as part and parcel of a DBA’s day to day life. They further participate in various capital improvement projects and initiatives throughout the year. Well, on days when you get your duties done in 3-4 hours unexpectedly, you can invest some time on self-improvement. But then again, a DBA is always on standby, watching out for possible database threats and constantly enforcing the best database practices. 

How to Become a Database Administrator

One thing that you must have understood by now is that the path to becoming a successful DBA is paved by your patience, hard work, and dedication. Your dream to become a DBA can easily come true if you follow the following steps in order. 

Step-1: Earning a Degree

So the very first step that you might want to take is getting a Bachelor’s degree in CS and IT. Having a proper degree is not always mandatory but it can help you land a nice DBA job in leading companies in the early stages of your career. You can further consider acquiring a Master’s degree also. 

Step-2: Excel Database Administrator skills

Now, if you already have the basic know-how of Database Administration, take it one step higher. Start polishing your Database Administrator skills. Check out this crash course on Database Management right away! You may like to scroll back to have a second look at the section dealing with skills required to become a DBA in this guide.

Step-3: Identify your Niche

As you have already been told about the types of DBAs and associated specializations, now you need to find out which one suits you the best. Find out which area of Database Administration and Management stands out as your strength and start refining it. 

Step-4: Gain experience through working

Once you have gained expertise in the Database Administration and Management skills, look out for opportunities to gain experience. Seek DBA jobs in the major companies of the industry. You can elevate your experience level through freelancing as well. Take up small freelancing DBA jobs until you land your dream job in this field. 

If you are interested in a certificate course for becoming a Database Administrator, click here

What are the advantages of a Database Administrator Course?

If you are looking forward to becoming a Database Administrator, then you should definitely go for the Database Administrator course. It will not only give you certification and knowledge but also help you elevate your career. Here is why you might not want to miss taking up a Database Administrator course.

  • A Database Administrator course helps you gain expertise in DBMS skills.
  • You can learn various database applications like Oracle, SQL, etc. which can be useful in IT roles concerned with tasks other than Database Administration, like Database Admin, IT consultant, Project Manager, etc. 
  • Taking up a Database Administrator course helps you find out your specialization in Database Administration that will further help you decide what type of DBA you want to become.
  • Another plus point is that you can pursue a DBA course alongside your freelance Database Management and Administration jobs.
  • A certified DBA course can help you get a raise at your workplace.
  • At last but not the least, it will help your resume stand out to the employers in the initial years of your DBA career.

Note: Do not cramp your resume with irrelevant skills. Tweak the skills section of your resume in a way that complements the position you are applying for. 

Start your journey towards becoming a skilled Database Administrator with these courses. Find a plethora of degree & certificate courses at the Great Learning Academy to suit your career.

FAQs

Q1. What are the steps to become a Database Administrator?

Ans. The ladder to becoming a DBA constitutes the following steps: 

  1. Get yourself an IT or CS degree
  2. Learn and upgrade the relevant hard (Oracle, DBMS, etc.) and soft skills (communication, logical thinking, etc.)
  3. Set your specialization
  4. Yield work experience
  5. Practice regularly

Q2. Is Database Administrator a good career option?

Ans. At the end of the day, data is everything. So, yes, DBA is indeed a good career option with a number of golden opportunities. If data handling is something that intrigues your interest, then you must go for it.

Q3. What all skills do I require to become a DBA?

Ans.  The list of basic required skills goes as follows:

  • Oracle
  • SQL
  • DBMS
  • Web Technologies & Security
  • Cloud Computing
  • Communication
  • Analytical & Logical Thinking
  • Problem Solving

Q4. What are the career alternatives to becoming a DBA?

Ans. If you are interested in data management and administration field, you have the following career alternatives:

  • Database Manager
  • Data Engineer
  • SQL Developer
  • Data Analyst 
  • Data Scientist
  • Database Tester

Q5. Which is the best DBA certification?

Ans. The best considered DBA certifications are: 

  • Oracle Certified Professional
  • MySQL Database Administrator
  • IBM Certified Database Administrator – DB2
  • MS SQL Server Database Certifications, and other similar ones.

Q6. Is knowing how to code compulsory for a DBA?

Ans. No, coding is not mandatory for this job role. However, knowing how to code in some of the common programming languages like Python, C/C++, etc. can be beneficial for grabbing better opportunities.

Conclusion

We are currently living in a sphere where data is proliferating not only in volume but in significance too. Each and every industry out there is trying to discover the best ways to make optimum use of data stored in their databases. This is where a Database Administrator comes into the picture. If you have a keen eye for managing and analyzing data and are also good at dealing with database software, a Database Administrator can be a sound career option for you. 

In a nutshell, a Database Administrator role is worth trying for as it opens up numerous learning and growing opportunities throughout one’s career. You can score a job in a chief company at a handsome package with Database Administration skills. In current times, there has been an upheaval in the demand of Database Administrators in every industry. You would not sit idle if you have the right Data Management and Administration skills. So, if you are determined to forge ahead in the direction of becoming a Database Administrator, start your learning journey right away with Great Learning Academy.

0 Source: GreatLearning Blog

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