Question : Who is a DBA?

This post is targeted for those who are keen or new to DBA profession. Based on my experience I tried to write about DBAs and Possible career paths related to it.
Who is a DBA?

An IT Professional, who is responsible for Installation, Configuration, Upgrading, Administration, Monitoring, Maintenance and Security of Databases in any organization. This is a theoretical definition of DBA however in today’s dynamic environment; DBAs are wearing many hats at a time.

Phases of a DBA Career path (not limited to these only)

  • Junior DBAs
  • Mid-level DBAs
  • Senior DBAs
  • DBA consultants
  • Manager or director of database administration/information technology
  • Data Architects
  • Release Managers
  • Change Managers

Main Responsibilities

  • Installing and upgrading the database server tools
  • Planning future storage requirements for the database systems
  • Modifying the database structure based on information given by application developers
  • Enrolling users and maintaining system security
  • Ensuring compliance with database vendor license agreement
  • Controlling and monitoring user access to the databases
  • Monitoring and optimizing the performance of the databases
  • Planning for backup and recovery of database information
  • Data Archiving
  • Backing up and restoring databases
  • Contacting database vendor for technical support
  • Generating various reports by querying from database as per need
  • Participating in Disaster Recovery Tests
  • Working closely with other teams like Network Operation Teams, Monitoring Teams

High Level Skills that a DBA must have

  • Top Communication skills
  • Good knowledge of database theory
  • Good knowledge of database design, logical or physical
  • Good knowledge of RDBMS
  • Knowledge of structured query language (SQL), e.g.Transact-SQL
  • Understanding of distributed computing architectures
  • Understanding of the underlying operating system
  • Understanding of storage technologies, memory management, disk arrays, NAS/SAN, networking
  • Understanding of routine maintenance, recovery, and handling failover of a Database
As I mentioned, today’s jobs are more demanding.DBAs are now a days performing many roles and when they specialised in those roles, they grow likeProduction Support DBAs: These DBAs are focused on the physical aspects of database administration such as DBMS installation, configuration, patching, upgrades, backups, restores, refreshes, performance optimization, maintenance and disaster recovery.

Development DBAs: These DBAs are focued on the logical and development aspects of database administration such as data model design and maintenance, DDL (data definition language) generation, SQL writing and tuning, coding stored procedures, collaborating with developers to help choose the most appropriate DBMS feature/functionality and other pre-production activities.

Application DBAs: These DBAs are usually found in organizations that have purchased 3rd party application software such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) systems.

Hybrid DBAs: As name suggests, these DBAs are usually those who performs almost all the tasks which are mentioned. These DBAs might not be specialized however they are the one who grows like Architects at enterprise level.

I hope this gives you some basic information about DBA Career.