Database administration is the function of managing and maintaining database management systems (DBMS) software. Mainstream DBMS software such as Oracle, IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server need ongoing management, which is done by specialized IT personnels called Database administrators or DBAs.


 DBA designs, implements, and maintains the database system; establishes policies and procedures pertaining to the management, security, maintenance, and use of the database management system; and trains employees in database management and use, in addition to staying updated with emerging technologies and new design approaches.

Database Administrator Roles

Designing, implementing, and maintaining the database system; establishing policies and procedures pertaining to the management, security, maintenance, and use of the database management system; and training employees in database management and use, in addition to staying updated with emerging technologies and new design approaches are all part of Database Administrator roles. Find more:

  • To ensure that the stored data is backed up regularly, stored effectively, and that the data is secure from unauthorized access.
  • Making the data available, by maximizing database uptime.
  • Knowledge of business functions and the ability to communicate with other employees in the company in both technical and non-technical roles is vital.
  • Installation, configuration and upgrading of Database server software and related products.
  • Evaluation of Database features and Database related products.
  • Establishing and maintaining sound backup and recovery policies and procedures.
  • Responsible for Database design and implementation.
  • Implement and maintain database security (create and maintain users and roles, assign privileges).
  • Database tuning and performance monitoring.
  • Application tuning and performance monitoring.
  • Setup and maintain documentation and standards.
  • Plan growth and changes (capacity planning).
  • Work as part of a team and provide 24×7 support when required.
  • Do general technical troubleshooting and give cons.

Work nature

Extent to which the administration of a database is automated dictates the skills required to manage databases. As automation increases, the organization requires highly skilled workers to create and manage the automation and a group of lower skilled line DBAs to execute the automation.

Candidates with multiple years of experience are usually preferred by the companies as database administration work is complex, repetitive, time-consuming and requires significant training besides the fact that databases hold valuable and mission-critical data.

The DBA must have the skills to recover the database to a given point in time to prevent a loss of data, in cases ranging from simple failure to a full catastrophic failure. A highly skilled DBA can spend a few minutes or exceedingly long hours to get the database back to the operational point.

Database administration tools

  • The tools that come up with the DBMS software to help DBAs manage the DBMS are called native tools. Example: Microsoft SQL Server comes with SQL Server Enterprise Manager and Oracle has tools such as SQL*Plus and Oracle Enterprise Manager/Grid Control.
  • To monitor the DBMS and help DBAs carry out certain functions inside the database more easily, third parties such as BMC, Quest Software,Embarcadero Technologies, EMS Database Management Solutions and SQL Maestro Group offer GUI tools.
  • Another kind of database software exists to manage the provisioning of new databases and the management of existing databases and their related resources.


How to become DBA

Best way to take up DBA as career is to take relevant classes and get familiarized with the specific, popular databases that are in demand. Certification programs in specific data bases are helpful in exhibiting the skill set while internships are a great start to the career.

Typically, employers look out for someone with either a degree in Computer Science or Management Information Systems (MIS) for DBA profile. On-the-job training with a particular database product or more experience with a range of database products will be helpful. Usually, experience with one or more of the major database management products including Structured Query Language, SAP, and Oracle-based database management software is a necessity.

Oracle database certifications are very popular database certification programs, high in demand with employers. Another popular certification is for the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator or MCDBA. The MCDBA is also one of the highest paying technical certifications.

From other technical support roles, such as System Administrators and Network Administrators, may easily transit into a Database Administration role by becoming certified as a Database Administrator.

DBA Career Progress

DBAs are also known by the titles ‘Database Coordinator’ or ‘Database Programmer’. While a database programmer requires more advanced skills in SQL programming than a DBA may have, they may not have and do not require the skills of database administration, backing up, restoring, monitoring or tuning to do their job well.

The role integrates closely with the other jobs of Database AnalystDatabase Modeller, Programmer Analyst, and Systems Manager.

A hierarchical system of database administrators, generally adopted by organizations include: Data analysts/query designers, Junior DBAs, Mid-level DBAs, Senior DBAs, DBA consultants and Manager/Director of Database Administration/Information Technology.

Database Administrator jobs and outlook

Often database administrators are promoted to a senior database administrator followed by a strategic management role within the company, such as a MIS Manager, and eventually even to a Chief Technology Officer role. In case DBAs specialize in a certain area, such as database security, they become experts in that particular area taking them to a much higher level.

DBAs are among-st the well-paid IT professionals. Their salary ranges from $37,000 to $100,000 per annum, with entry-level pay scale ranging anywhere between $30,000 and $40,000. Work experience is a major factor determining the wage in Database Administrator jobs .

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