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Computer Database Administrator Job Description, Career as a Computer Database Administrator, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$60,650 per year

Employment Outlook: Excellent

Definition and Nature of the Work

Computer database administrators design, write, and take care of computer database systems so that the right person can get the right information at the right time. A database is simply a collection of computer files full of information that a company may wish to track. This information may include customer addresses, inventory, and payroll figures. A database administrator might set up and organize a database or reorganize an existing database. To organize a database, an administrator writes precise instructions for the computer. These instructions, called a computer program, tell the computer how to collect and sort data and how to give data to the people who need them. Database administrators also write programs to perform queries to extract useful information and to produce reports as necessary. The database administrator also watches over the system to ensure that users do not tamper with the information or the structure of the database. In cases where the database system contains private information about a business or its customers, the database administrator makes sure that only people with authorization are allowed access to confidential information. They may also design programs to protect the database from computer hackers or to weed out problems in the database.

The database administrator makes current and accurate information available to all branches and personnel at all times. Computer database administrators can use the database to help management make informed decisions. For instance, they can create computer models from the database system that will predict the results of a product design change, a move to a new location, or a change to the billing process. Centralized control by a computer database administrator avoids the problem of missing or duplicate information and simplifies the updating of files.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers hiring database administrators look for candidates with formal training in computer science. Educational requirements usually include at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, systems science, telecommunications, or a related field of study. High school students interested in pursuing this type of work should study mathematics, computer science, and physics.

Candidates for jobs in this field may also need specific training certification in various networking specialties. For example, Microsoft Corporation has established a training program in which candidates can earn a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) certificate after passing a series of tests that cover all aspects of planning, setting up, maintaining, and using a Microsoft SQL Server.

Getting the Job

Newspapers and Internet job sites carry advertisements every day for computer database administrators. Many employment agencies specialize in placing applicants in computer-related positions.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 104,000 database administrators were employed in the United States in 2004. Employment of computer database administrators was expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Computer database administrators may be promoted to higher-level jobs in large companies with data processing departments. If they demonstrate skills in managing people as well as database systems, they can move into executive-level jobs in these areas and manage groups of other database administrators. Because of the importance of tracking information accurately in companies, they can eventually become the chief information officer in their company. With rapid increase in networking—linking computers together—more job openings will become available for computer database administrators.

Working Conditions

Computer database administrators can work in any business that uses computer systems. For example, they may work in large industries with enormous database systems or in small offices where the database may contain only the company's payroll and customer address list.

Computer database administrators work a forty-hour week. However, they may have to work substantial amounts of overtime, which may or may not be paid. Database administrators may work on weekends to perform routine maintenance and create system backups. They also have to be present whenever there is a problem with the database.

Earnings and Benefits

The salary range of a computer database administrator can vary widely, depending on the size of the database system. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median yearly wage for database administrators in 2004 was $60,650. According to the "Computerworld Salary Survey 2005" (Computer- world, October 24, 2005), the median yearly salary for a database administrator was $81,152 in 2005. Those in management jobs earn more.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Computing Machinery
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 626-0500

Computing Technology Industry Association
1815 South Meyers Rd., Ste. 300
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 678-8300

IEEE Computer Society
1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 371-0101

Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals
2350 Devon Ave., Ste. 115
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(847) 299-4227

Most companies offer attractive benefit plans, including medical insurance, vacations, savings or profit sharing plans, and pension plans.

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