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Technology Changes Role of Database Administrator

The database administrator (DBA) is responsible for managing and coordinating all database activities. The DBA’s job description includes database design, user coordination, backup, recovery, overall performance, and database security. The database administrator plays a crucial role in managing data for the employer. In the past the DBA job has required sharp technical skills along with management ability. (Shelly, Cashman, Waggoner 1992). However, the arrival on the scene of the relational database along with the rapidly changing technology has modified the database administrator’s role. This has required organizations to vary the way of handling database management.
(Mullins 1995)

Traditional database design and data access were complicated. The database administrator’s job was to oversee any and all database-oriented tasks. This included database design and implementation, installation, upgrade, SQL analysis and advice for application developers.. The DBA was also responsible for back-up and recovery, which required many complex utility programs that run in a specified order. This was a time-consuming energy draining task. (Fosdick 1995)

Databases are currently in the process of integration. Standardizing data, once done predominately by large corporations, is now filtering down to medium- size and small companies. The meshing of the old and new database causes administrators to maintain two or three database products on a single network. (Wong 1995)

Relational database management systems incorporate complex features and components to help with logic procedures. This requires organizations to expand the traditional approach to database management and administration. The modern database management systems not only share data, they implement the sharing of common data elements and code elements. (Mullins 1995)

Currently, the more sought after relational database products are incorporating more and more complex features and components to simplify procedural logic. Due to the complexity of todays relational database, corporations are changing the established way of dealing with database management personnel. Traditionally, as new features were added to the database, more and more responsibility fell on the DBA. With the emergence of the relational database management system (RDBMS), we are now beginning to see a change in the database administrator’s role.(Mullins 1995)

The design of data access routines in relational database demands extra participation from programmers. The database administrator simply checks the system’s optimization choice, because technology is responsible for building access paths to the data. Program design and standard query language (SQL) tools have become essential requirements for the database administrator to do this job. However, this technology requires additional supervision and many DBAs are not competent in SQL analysis and performance monitoring. The database administrator had to learn to master the skills of application logic and programming techniques. (Mullins 1995)

The database administrator’s job description and responsibilities have changed with technology. The DBA is greatly concerned with database quality, maintenance and availability . If the relational database fails to perform, the database administrator will be held accountable for the failure.

The role of the database administrator is expanding to include too many responsibilities for a single person. This has led to the DBA’s job being split into two separate titles: a traditional DBA along with a procedural DBA.

The traditional database administrator is responsible for organizing and managing data objects. However, with new technology, the DBA is not always responsible for debugging, utilities or programming in C, COBOL or SQL. (Mullins 1995). These tasks go to object builder programming personnel who are familiar with object-oriented programming languages. With the database manager unqualified in SQL, the job is referred to object builders well versed in using C, COBOL, SQL. (Sipolt 1995). The traditional database administrator’s strength is in creating the physical design of the database. The procedural database administrator is an expert in accessing data. Procedural DBAs are responsible for procedural logic support, application code reviews, access path review and analysis, SQL rewrites, debugging, and analysis to assure optimal execution. (Mullins 1995)

Along with the changing job description, administrators are facing increased demands from the corporations for which they work. Database administrators are responsible for staff cost control, hardware, software, and are becoming increasingly responsible for the work quality and response time of their staff. (Riggsbee 1995)

The job modifications are not the only change in this industry. Database administrators received a substantial increase in their wages in 1995. The average earnings for a DBA are now $52,572 according to the 1995 survey source. However, salaries differ according to the specific region of the country in which one resides. The mid-level database administrator in San Francisco earns $55,000 to $65,000, substantially more than our survey states. However, Salt Lake City database administrator’s salary fell between $30,000 to $35,000. Another area of salaries on the rise is the health care profession. Previously lower end on the pay scale, hospital pay is on the rise and currently mid-scale in the market. (Mael 1995)

Companies no longer feel responsible for additional training or long-term retention of an employee. The trend is currently opting for a new employee, rather than hiring from within the company. Companies are willing to compensate new blood for their knowledge, rather than invest time and effort in training. This cold hard fact is true from the top management down to data entry. Therefore, it is vital to individual database personnel to make sure they are receiving the proper training to prepare them for our rapidly changing technology world. (Mael 1995)

The database administrator’s roll has become ambiguous. Therefore, the job description has been separated into two fields. The traditional database administratori is responsible for managing and the organization of data. He is no longer responsible for programming in C, COBOL, or SQL. Traditional database administration personnel create the physical data design. The task of procedural database administrator encompasses logic support, coding review, programming in SQL, C, or COBOL. The procedural database administrator’s expertise is in data access.

Our world of rapidly changing technology has placed greater demands on database administration personnel. Relational database demanded modification of the database administraton into two separate specialities. This change should result in the traditional database administrator maintaining a managerial capacity, with responsibilities in the physical design of the database. The procedural database administrator’s capacity is in the more technical aspects of building the relational database. He expertise in procedural logic support, data access path review and analysis demands superior performance of the relational database.

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