Database managers are responsible for handling relevant information of a company. From taking care of business operations related data to creating new databases for new business ventures, everything falls under their jurisdiction. In short, an IT company or any other tech-oriented company will stop running if database managers or database administrators cease to exist. The primary task of all DBAs at an organization is to ensure all company databases are active, online and secure. If there are any logistical problems or operational problems, the DBAs need to take charge immediately.
The superheroes of the database world
One can easily say that the DBAs are the heroes without capes for companies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA, there will be an 11% increase in employment opportunities for DBAs in the next seven years. By 2024, there will be a tremendous demand for trained data managers who can take care of company data. It will include Junior DBA positions, Senior DBA positions, and remote DBA positions as well.
If you are looking forward to becoming a DBA in the recent future, you should pick a school that offers courses in database administration and data warehousing. You should have a good knowledge of the basics of computer science, which is why we always recommend a bachelor’s degree in computer science. You need to learn SQL, .NET or Java. Later, you may choose to specialize in Oracle or Microsoft SQL. They are both very similar, and once you know one, you can master the other.
Companies like it more if their DBA applicants have a business degree. Students from AACSB accredited colleges are usually given preference. Excellent communication skills are a prerequisite for this job. It includes both oral communication and written communication. Having a few certificates to show is always appreciable.
Most of the “accidental DBAs” started by teaching themselves how to manage simple SQL databases. It is an efficient process, but it is also a lengthy one. This kind of application-based practical learning needs a lot of tenacity. Most recruiting companies prefer DBAs who have formal degrees supporting their database management skills. Extra certifications in the management of information systems (MIS) or information system often gives applicants an extra edge during the selection process.
We always recommend collecting a few DBA certificates like OCM or OCP on your way to the final interview. During your days in college or university, you should always try to enter contests and educational programs that award certificates of qualification. A few additional DBA certifications can become the frosting on the cake for you during the recruitment.
In fact, website developers, web programmers, data analysts and computer information managers are always excellent candidates for the posts of database administrators. They can easily learn a few extra skills including database programming, SQL and computer office systems to successfully bring change to their careers.
With great responsibility comes great pay
Database administrators need to work, all the time. That is not an exaggeration. The quality of work changes as you graduate from a junior to a senior, but the work hours remain more or less the same. If you see a guy in a bathing suit typing away madly on his computer instead of taking in the beauty of the beach, well, you have found the quintessential DBA.
According to the BLS, as of 2017, the average DBA works about 40 hours a week. However, that does not mean, you get to enjoy a complete weekend off without any strings attached. If your company database needs some minor fixing, guess who is going in punch in for the day? That is right! You!
DBAs have a very demanding job that intrudes into social life, family life, and private life. However, the compensation is quite pleasing. The annual salary of an average DBA is about $69,000 and the highest 10% rake in approximately $115,000 per annum. Database administrators earn a lot more than your ordinary telecom specialists and communication analysts. In fact, very few professions in the tech industry can match up to the DBA’s annual salary packages.
Did we mention? The higher you go up on the rung, the higher your pay becomes. You will have to continually study, acquire new skills to stay relevant and perform consistently to get frequent promotions. However, since becoming a DBA is not everyone’s cup of tea, you can expect much less competition as compared to other administrative jobs in the data management industry. Also, a couple of database related certifications can easily get you a 10% salary hike.
Start from the beginning
If you are new to computer sciences and database management, you should start at the very beginning. Start by interning for an excellent senior DBA. Understand the nitty-gritty of the DBA work, before you can plunge into the real stuff. Then move to junior database administrator roles in your own company or a new company. It is perfect for those who are looking for a fresh start and have little to no experience in the field.
As you gain experience and expertise, you will move to the position of a DBA. Once you have mastered the skills required to manage your company database autonomously, you can deem yourself ready for the post of a senior DBA. Always remember that the job responsibly of a senior DBA is enormous. The entire company’s data security and organization remains in the hands of the senior DBA.
In short, avoid the DBA boot camps that start with “Oracle is a piece of cake” type messages. Becoming a DBA is a long journey. Mastering Oracle or Microsoft SQL takes a lot of time and learning. In fact, someone might take years to master Oracle or SQL. There are no shortcuts to becoming a DBA. Online certification courses are all right as long as they are coming from authorized sources only!
Lucy Jones is a database administrator. She has been working with several well-known tech companies as a remote DBA. Her experience in database management and Oracle makes her the go-to person for any database related queries.