Database Administrator

Every organization needs the ability to organize information efficiently and retrieve it rapidly. Whether it be employee records, financial records, product information, or any other type of information, knowledge is power and lack of knowledge will quickly lead to disaster in our information age.

Larger companies have two job positions that deal with this problem. The first is the network administrator. This person is responsible for designing and maintaining the organizations computer network effectively and efficiently. If the network does not operate at peak efficiently, access to information can be slowed or even stopped. The person who actually deals with the information directly however is the database administrator.

A computer database should have to ability to do many things, including store, organize and analyze various types of information, and then make that information easily available for computer users who are not database experts.

There are two types of database. The first type of database is not generally used by a broad spectrum of employees. These are analytical databases, or OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) which take historical data and analyze it for later use. This type of database is used by companies and other organizations to conduct market research in relation to various demographics. The second type of database is the operational database, or OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and this type is the most familiar for regular users. Online databases deal with dynamic data and to track information in real time. Companies use operational databases to keep track of inventory, sales, orders of various types, and even in many cases even order inventory with no human assistance. If a certain inventory item is below a minimum level in stock the database will sense this and place an automatic order, sending it to the appropriate supervisor for approval.

In many cases operational and analytical databases work hand in hand. Great examples can be found on the websites of large companies like Amazon.com or Microsoft, which uses analytical databases to decide which products to promote in which areas of the world and operational to not only make sure that the inventory will allow a product to be supplied to that area but to actually process the order.

Database Administrator Certification

The very first thing a potential database administrator needs to accomplish is to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. This basic degree can be in fields such as programming, software engineering, information systems or information technology (IT). There are a number of database administrator certifications in specific types of database, such as the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDA), or Novell Certified Administrator (NCA), that are necessary as well. In many cases working database administrators had from 2-3 years experience working in some other field prior to moving into database administrator. Many programmers and software engineers decide to specialize in database administration simply because of the wide open job prospects in this field. Simply put, there are more businesses that use databases than there are who design software applications and operating systems.

These database administrator degrees and certifications are necessary for several reasons. The first of course is to assure that the database administrator is intimately familiar with computers, networks and of course databases, but they must also be capable of meeting deadlines, leading teams, managing resources to design, implement and maintain effective databases to work under intense pressure. The successful creation, implementation and maintenance of a full database suite can mean the difference between success and failure of the company that the database administrator works for. Again using Amazon.com as an example, if a product is listed on the website, but the company is out of stock on this particular product, or the ISBN numbers are out of order, thousands of products can be ordered that are not in stock or thousands of orders can be filled with the wrong product, costing the company many millions of dollars in reparations.

Database Administrator Salary

The salary range for a database administrator is on par with the salaries in most of the computer field. According to salary.com, database administrator salaries range from $65,000, for an entry level position, to as much as $107,000 for a senior administrator and the median income is approximately $87,000. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will experience a much greater than average job growth during the next 5 years as more and more companies move into the digital age and companies find themselves need managing more and more data as well as keeping their information secure from both cyber attacks and industrial espionage and this is very attractive in today´s job market. Any prospective student considering a career in computer science should seriously consider a job as a database administrator.