The work of a DBA

The role of a database administration in an organization is to design, implement and maintain the organizational database system. This includes liaison with management to establish procedures and policies directing management, maintenance, use and security of the database system in the organization.

There are many different database storage and management systems, but all of them likely begin at the same place: that of an above average knowledge of IT, hopefully with a college degree in Computer Science (CS), Information Technology (IT) or Information Systems (IS). It goes without saying that the more knowledge you have, the quicker you’ll be able to make a transition into the DBA field of practice.

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What you need to become an SQL DBA

  • More than average understanding and knowledge of database systems
  • .Net and T-SQL coding knowledge
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of operating systems and storage methods
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills, dedication to working long hours and trustworthiness are also important

There are many products that you can choose to base your DBA practice on, and you should decide this beforehand. This article concentrates on the SQL Server database application by Microsoft.

Going from a new SQL DBA to an Advanced DBA

The transition from general database administration to advanced DBA is mainly about reorganizing your thoughts and thinking strategically. At the advanced level, the focus now shifts toward incorporating big data solutions and Business Intelligence knowledge and practices to your list of skills.

You will need:

  • Deep knowledge of enterprise software and intermediate SQL Server DBA skills. You gain experience and skill as you practice DB administration in SQL Server environments of increasing complexities.
  • Above average administration skills in Dependent Applications e.g. Business Objects, WebSphere, SharePoint etc.
  • Knowledge and experience in deployment of other middleware software, including interactions with development teams responsible for coding, .Net, XML, distributed transactions, single sign-on and connectivity among others.
  • Advanced knowledge and growing experience in the management of complete enterprise infrastructure in these areas: disaster recovery, backup, security management, general recovery, diagnostics and performance.
  • Working knowledge of other database systems in the market e.g. Oracle, DB2, Sybase etc.

Your experience as an advanced DBA will build on the skills acquired as a junior and mid-level DBA i.e. backup and restore procedures, query tuning, error monitoring and fixing, SQL Server installations, Disaster Recovery procedures etc. However, most of the time these skills become repetitive, with the DBA only brought in where troubleshooting is needed or situations have escalated.

To avoid the risk of obsolescence, the mid-level DBA should advance his skills by becoming a master at the tasks mentioned above. For Query Tuning for instance, you can advance the skills to cover Systems Performance Tuning which includes Advanced tuning procedures that include systems outside of the database server, advanced DBA skills, review and analysis of third-party applications, data architecture management etc.

By so expanding your scope of knowledge to approach the SQL Server DBA task from a wide perspective, you’ll be able to seamlessly offer technical support as well as consultancy services through all data initiatives.