Database administrator


Tell us about your work---what do you do? I am a consultant , and currently provide services as a database administrator/troubleshooter What skills are needed? Understanding of relational databases and Sequel (SQL) code , as well as a good understanding of the type of information that business gather and how they must use it. Good understanding of programming techniques and programming languages used. What was your major? Accounting How did you get started in your career? The last five years that I worked as a Regional Audit Manager for the Federal Government, I concentrated on computer system audits. I learned a great deal about backend databases , the front-end programming , hardware limitations , and the ever present human error. What experience do you need in this job? Hands on knowledge of database structures and of SQL, such as Oracle , MS , DB2 , SYBASE , ACCESS etc. and trench knowledge and experience of what companies actually have to work with. Describe your "typical" workday: My typical day is spent trying to solve problems related to "mission critical" databases. Most times there is little or no documentation, the individuals who created the database or the front-end applications are no longer available, and the company is having major validation, and integrity issues with the data. To further complicate matters most times they have exceeded the capacity of the program or the hardware. The problems are significant and can cost the company a great deal of money, and many times may mean life or death for a company's existence. First step is to learn everything you can about the database. Why was it created? Who uses it? How is it used? What problems are they having? Recreate the problems. Document every step you take, no matter how minor. Try to isolate the problem. Try to solve it. It's like working a giant crossword puzzle but with the added complexity of a maze. Take the wrong turn, pick up the wrong trail and you could have a disaster on your hands. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Having very little time to discover the primary causes of the problems. Clients expecting miracles. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Getting it done, on time, and well. Great pay. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Just be ready to work hard hours , be frustrated, work mostly on your own, and complete a great deal of research and documentation. Most DBAs have to do their main changes when everyone else is off the system. That means late nights and weekends.