Database Administrator (DBA): Evolution In IT Jobs

As the title says, this article is about DBA (Database Administrator). The purpose of writing this article is that I have done lot of research on DBA activities, training, routine and salary structure, and I planned to write an article about career advice for DBAs, the next big thing.

Overview

Today when you see a Data Center in an MNC or in a bank you see many teams are deployed in the Datacenter Unit like Server Team, Windows Team, Security Team, DBA Team, and so on . Today the DBA Team is considered as a vital part in any organization; whether  a small or big leading private bank, the DBA role is crucial. I will give you an example of why the DBA role is crucial.

Example: DBA Role is crucial

Consider Finacle --  now everyone is aware of finacle. Financle is software developed by Infosys, and wherever you go, India or outside India, Finacle is the core banking software. Now, if it is a software it has to have a database. The database of Finacle is mostly in Oracle. In Finacle there are almost 500 – 600 tables in the DB and the DBA has to monitor those tables and do various activities.

I'll explain to you with a real world example. Say we withdraw money from ATM or do NEFT transactions; these are just APIs called tothe DB and data is stored in the DB . If a branch network is down it is the DBA's job to find out why the DB is down  and what course of action is to be taken. This is just Finacle,  there may be plenty of databases I am referring to be it Oracle, SQL, PLSQL and So on.

Let’s Talk about Work

In an overview section I just gave an ideaof what a DBA does. Let’s talk in detail what exactly he or she does. When you get selected for a DBA post there is always a senior DBA to help you or to assist you. He will tell you to do things which he has been doing for years;  don’t blame him that may be company tradition . Routine work includes,

  • Install DB and Configure on Server
  • Reports and Email to Hierarchies or Client
  • Monitoring each Databases (like growth of file size )
  • Monitoring DB Size
  • Monitoring Table Size
  • Monitoring physical Disk Space (Windows/Unix/AIX Space).
  • Managing Sync of primary and Standby By database (Make sure both in Sync).
  • Backups, Partition, Storage and so On.
  • Setting up User Privileges.

Earlier, in late 2000, DBA was a hectic job not because of the work culture but the environment setup like SQL DB and windows server and so on. Consider here SQL server 2000 and SQL server 2014  -- now just think why I am referring to a hectic job.

I am just referring to SQL Server, there may be changes in Oracle,PLSQL,Mongo DB and so On. SQL Server is just an example.

Today when you have time you just observe SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2014 you will see a drastic change in both the management tools. Today in SQL Server 2014 there are many things which are added which you just can’t think of like ColmnStore indexing, Encryption of database, Memory OLTP and so on . Below screenshot will help you to compare. Believe me more features are coming in 2016 version. Again, the same scenario might exist in Oracle and various databases.

databases

databases

I had seen many DBAs in my previous firm and current firm they just come, do their daily tasks like monitoring and solving queries and go home, just like picking up your boss and driving and dropping him off at the office. But there’s more to it when you do get selected as a DBA --  understand the environment and first understand their activities and their culture.

Don’t feel demotivated by my previous paragraph. In previous firms we used to call Microsoft Support usually for financials at year end and so on. There was a person in Microsoft who was working with Microsoft for eight years.  I interacted with him and you wouldn't  believe he stared his journey as an accountant ( Commerce background ) and he worked with Access.  He did some certification and became a certified SQL DBA and look now where he is  -- Microsoft SQL DBA (Certified Engineer )

Personal experience

In my previous firm I was working as a pure .NET developer or you could say programmer, and I  developed quit a few applications and as there was no new work in development I said to my managers: I am getting bored . What the managers suggested was, why you don’t sit with DBA team as work is plentiful  there and you will learn new things and once new development comes you can come back to development. Initially I didn’t like the offer but when I started I wasn’t open to learning new things; I was typecast to one domain you could say. But as days passed by I started liking SQL and I learned a hell of a lot of things and developed a .NET application on Primary and Standby Database, an automated tool which I wouldn't have learned if I  had been just a coder. Today the current situation is I just love SQL .I thanked my manager for that opportunity because I realized the knowledge that I had gained was priceless. If you want to do SQL certification and get certified there are many courses available if you want to be SQL certified just apply for the exam and there are plenty of resources or Dumps available on internet. Here's a useful link that might help you.

Make a difference

Here I am referring to trying to make a difference in your organization and  trying to implement new things which you have learned,  like it might be replication, mirroring automated backup in multiple servers and so on. Command your authority to your managers that you are here to stay not to just come to do activities and go home --  trust me it will help you in longer run. Buy some books read them online sources are plenty read blogs on new technologies try to implement them.

Show me the money honey

As in the earlier overview section I just gave you an idea or you can say summary of what exactly the DBA Team is doing. And there is just more to it, not just monitoring. I will show you some data which I collected from online multiple sources.

I had gathered data from lower to higher (The data or you can say salary may vary from country to country)

Designation Average Salary (Per Year)Relevant ExperienceCountry
Database AdministratorRs 417,4922 +India
Senior Database Administrator Rs 876,0845 +India
Database Administrator(Manager)Rs 160000010 + Or MoreIndia
Database Administrator$69,733Depends on RequirementUS
Database AdministratorC$65,407Depends on RequirementCanada

(Source: Paysacle.com and glassdoor.com)

As these are just numbers even that may vary when you move from one company to another company that depends on your knowledge, skillset and relevant experience you have.

Why DBA

Why Not DBA? Today if you do a survey quick survey you will figure out each and every company/Organization has a  Database and you need a team to monitor that Database, it may be a small or big Organization. Today with new things getting introduced in DB Section SQL, Oracle, Mongo DB the demand of DBA is significant whether  in India or elsewhere.Today the demand is huge with SQL server are on SAN and many companies are higring people who have SAN experience with Mirroring,Clustering and replication coming in picture SQL have bright scope with new versions coming like SQL 2016 with a added feature added POLYBASE. Again  I will refer to one of my closest friends, who is an Oracle DBA with five years of experience and he is going to Germany for his new job as an Oracle DBA . Hooolaalalaa !! 

Scope

When you talk about scope there is equal scope for everyone whether with DBA/Programmer/Server admin,  provided you just make a difference and don’t just sit and pass time.

Resources