Career paths

What is a Database Administrator?

A database administrator is someone who uses software to store and organise data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data is available to users and is secure from unauthorised access.

Database administrators work in many different types of industries, including computer systems design and related services firms, insurance companies, banks, and hospitals.

Database Administrator

What does a Database Administrator do?

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts can easily use the database to find the information they need and that the system performs as it should. DBAs sometimes work with an organisation’s management team to understand the company’s data needs and to plan the goals of the database.

Database administrators often plan security measures, making sure that data is secure from unauthorised access. Many databases contain personal or financial information, making security important. Database administrators are responsible for backing up systems in case of a power outage or other disaster. They also ensure the integrity of the database, guaranteeing that the data stored in it comes from reliable sources.

DBAs must be able to monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must be able to evaluate complex information that comes from a variety of sources. Most database administrators work on teams and must be able to communicate effectively with developers, managers, and other workers.

Working with databases requires an understanding of complex systems, in which a minor error can cause major problems. For example, mixing up a customer's credit card information can cause someone to be charged for a purchase he or she didn’t make. Database administrators use software to make sense of information and to arrange and organise it into meaningful patterns. The information is then stored in the databases that these workers administer, test, and maintain. When problems with a database arise, administrators must be able to diagnose and correct them.

Some responsibilities of a database administrator include:

  • Identifying user needs to create and administer databases
  • Ensuring that the database operates efficiently and without error
  • Making and testing modifications to the database structure when needed
  • Maintaining the database and updating permissions
  • Merging old databases into new ones
  • Backing up and restoring data to prevent data loss

Many database administrators are general-purpose DBAs and have all these duties. However, some DBAs specialise in certain tasks that vary with the organisation and its needs.

What is the average Salary for a database administrator?

The average salary for a Database Administrator (DBA) in South Africa is R210,757.

A Database Administrator (DBA) typically makes between
R51k - R518k.