How to Become a Database Administrator (DBA)

Jul 21, 2021

4 Min Read

Are you searching for where to start to become a database administrator? It is good to know about the skills required to become a good database administrator along with some general interview questions that you might face when looking for a job.

There has been a revolution in the form of digital transformation due to the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and devices related to the Internet of Things. It is believed by most researchers today, that to survive in an organization in today’s times, it is not just important but essential to be a part of this digital transformation. Data is of no use if we are not able to analyze it properly. This has led to organizations investing more in data analytics. However, data analytics is not as simple as it sounds. Teams need a foundation of solid data strategy to make use of data in a way that is relevant to the goal of a company. Data science is one such area that is at the heart of data management and is required to analyze the data to fulfill the needs of the company. 

The last few years have seen the creation of most of the data we see on the internet today. According to estimates, it is expected to grow at a much faster rate by 2025. However, it is not only the data scientists who are responsible for analyzing this data. Another important position is the database administrator. A database administrator is responsible for storing and organizing the data within a company. According to different reports, the job of a database administrator is among the top ten best technology-related jobs in the world. 

What is the role of a database administrator?

Just as you plan efficiently and diligently how to store physical files in an organization, a database administrator is required to plan and execute the storage of the data of an organization. In fact, not just storage, he or she is also responsible for gathering, organizing, and processing the data. Some major roles and responsibilities include –

  • Installation of the server software
  • Managing the structure of the database
  • Configuration of database servers
  • Security of the data of the organisation
  • Maintaining a backup of the crucial data

Skills required for being a database administrator

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, management information systems or computer engineering is one of the most important degrees required for this job. Some premier organizations also prefer the candidate to have a master’s degree in the same field as well, with a specialization in database management. The basic knowledge of database structures is however an essential part irrespective of your degree in the computer field. The standard database language is the SQL – Structured Query Language. It is used by most of the database systems the world over. Having the knowledge and experience of working in RDBMS – Relational database management systems or database systems based on XML, OOPS – Object-Oriented Programming Systems is another advantage that can land in a good placement with steady growth. A certification course is also offered by IBM, known as the IBM Certified Database Administrator—DB2 which can help you groom yourself for this job. Apart from there are different Microsoft SQL Server database certifications, a course on Oracle Database 12c Administrator or  Oracle Certified Professional MySQL Database Administrator which can help you polish your skills for becoming a good database administrator.

Another skill being sought after by IT companies these days is soft skills. Being a database administrator is not a standalone job, one needs to coordinate with a team or lead a team of database managers, brief and coordinate with various stakeholders, often working without any supervision. Hence it is important to be able to communicate well, adapt well to any changes and be able to pay attention to detail.

The Average Salary of a Database administrator

The job of a database administrator is one of the highest-paying jobs in the digital world. Even the professionals working in the lowest-paid organizations of this sector each earn an average 10% more than their peers in other sectors. According to various surveys, the role of a database administrator is much more paid than that of people working at similar posts in the insurance sector, computer systems designs, educational services, and other data-related services such as data processing and hosting services. 

Common database administrator interview questions

Some common interview questions which you might face when applying for the job of a database administrator are –

  1. What experience do you have in managing database structures?
  2. Do you have any hands-on experience with on-premises databases or cloud-based databases?
  3. Suppose during data migration, you are faced with data loss? How would you handle it?
  4. Have you ever worked on SQL/MySQL, T-SQL or PL/SQL?
  5. What do you feel about running a test on a live database? How good an idea is that?
  6. What are the factors that will help you determine your strategy for storing files in the database?
  7. What do you know about database schema?
  8. How would you handle a situation if you and senior technical members in your team are not on the same page with regards to some database management strategies?
  9. Have you ever worked on a challenging project? If yes, describe your role in that project.
  10. What strategies would you place for improving the data storage performance?

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