For a role in database management, employers will be looking for you to have the following:
Strong analytical and organisational skills
Eye for detail and accuracy
Understanding of structured query language (SQL)
Knowledge of 'relational database management systems' (RDBMS), 'object oriented database management systems' (OODBMS) and XML database management systems
Experience with their database software/web applications
The ability to work quickly, under pressure and to deadlines
Up-to-date knowledge of technology and the Data Protection Act
Ability to work well in a fast paced environment, where the technology is constantly changing
When it comes to qualifications, operational knowledge or experience is seen as very important, but a relevant degree or equivalent can help you enter the industry at a higher position.
Much of the necessary experience required for this type of role can be gained through a previous job in IT support, programming or web development. Alternatively, there are entry routes through graduate training programmes and apprenticeship schemes.
As it’s likely the technology you’ll be using will constantly be changing and upgrading, you’ll have to keep up-to-date with the latest modifications. This can be achieved through on the job training, mentoring and professional development courses.
Depending on the needs of the company, it may be worth looking at courses including: e-skills UK Graduate Professional Development Award, the British Computer Society Certificate, Diploma and Professional Graduate Diploma (options in database systems) and IMIS programmes.
As well as IT skills, you’ll build up a bank of transferable ‘soft skills’. These include communication, time management and customer service skills so that you understand and can communicate well with database users.
Hours and environment
As a database administrator, you’ll typically be working between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In some organisations, it’s likely you’ll also be scheduled on call in case there are any technical problems outside of these hours. With recent technological advances, this is increasingly being carried out remotely.
If positioned in-house, you'll spend much of your time working from an office at a computer or workstation. If your role involves building databases, you will find yourself working frequently in clients’ offices.
It’s likely you’ll be working closely with other IT professionals, including database designers, system developers, programmers and project managers.
As an entry level database administrator, you'll probably be earning between £22,000 and £26,000 a year.
After three years of experience this will rise significantly to £30,000 to £35,000. Those with a decade or more of experience are known to earn up to £50,000. More than 65% of all database administrator positions are in London and the South East, which means salaries will often be above average.
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