Database administrator

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Description

The role of the database administrator (DBA) varies according to the size of the organisation and the organisational reliance on the database. A database administrator is responsible for ensuring that data stored in the database is available when needed and that security of the data and the database is maintained at all times. A database administrator is also responsible for ensuring that the database runs at an optimal speed so that users can access the information quickly.

Generally a database administrator will have a number of tasks that are common across the role:

  • installation and upgrades: install and update the platform the system is running on
  • configuration management: understanding how large the database will become over time; ensuring that the database is placed on the correct server so that it is available to the correct people and ensuring that the correct type of storage is used for the information collected through the database
  • security and compliance: understanding the security options for information held on the database
  • monitoring and tuning: ensuring that the database is running to optimal levels and understanding the table structure within the database in order to 'tune' the database
  • backup and recovery: understanding the options for backing up and recovering data held within the database. There will be local policy and procedures for each of these processes
  • trouble shooting: investigate an issue and work to find the root cause of why there is a problem with the system. They must also be able to implement a solution to address the issues.

A database administrator exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)[1] and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.[2]

Within the SFIA profile, the database administrator has level 4 and 5 capabilities, i.e. enable, ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.

Autonomy

Works under general direction within a clear framework of accountability. Exercises substantial personal responsibility and autonomy. Plans own work to meet given objectives and processes.

Influence

Influences customers, suppliers and partners at account level. May have some responsibility for the work of others and for the allocation of resources. Participates in external activities related to own specialism. Makes decisions which influence the success of projects and team objectives.

Complexity

Work includes a broad range of complex technical or professional activities, in a variety of contexts. Investigates, defines and resolves complex issues.

Business Skills

Selects appropriately from applicable standards, methods, tools and applications. Communicates fluently, orally and in writing, and can present complex information to both technical and non-technical audiences. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who share common objectives. Plans, schedules and monitors work to meet time and quality targets. Rapidly absorbs new information and applies it effectively. Maintains an awareness of developing technologies and their application and takes some responsibility for driving own development.

 

  SFIA Skill

SFIA Skill Code

SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility

SFIA Skills Level Descriptor

Database administration

DBAD

5

Drafts and maintains procedures and documentation for databases. Manages database configuration including installing and upgrading software and maintaining relevant documentation. Contributes to the setting of standards for definition, security and integrity of database objects and ensures conformance to these standards. Monitors database activity and resource usage. Optimises database performance and plans for forecast resource needs.

Database design

DBDS

5

Maintains and applies up to date, specialist knowledge of database concepts, object and data modelling techniques and design principles, and a detailed knowledge of the full range of database architectures, software and facilities available. Analyses data requirements, to establish, modify or maintain a data model. Takes account of specialist requirements (e.g. geocoding, for geographic information systems). Interprets the model into an appropriate database schema within set policies. Demonstrates, installs and commissions selected products.

Information security

SCTY

4

Explains the purpose of and provides advice and guidance on the application and operation of elementary physical, procedural and technical security controls. Performs security risk, vulnerability assessments, and business impact analysis for medium complexity information systems. Investigates suspected attacks and manages security incidents. Uses forensics where appropriate.

Security administration SCAD 4 Maintains security administration processes and checks that all requests for support are dealt with according to agreed procedures. Provides guidance in defining access rights and privileges. Investigates security breaches in accordance with established procedures and recommends required actions and supports / follows up to ensure these are implemented.

 

Queensland Government roles align with the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.

The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces.  The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types: 

  • Individual contributor (manages self)
  • Team leader (manages individuals)
  • Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
  • Executive (manages program managers)

When developing a Role Description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills. 

Entry points

Most staff who work as a database administrator possess a degree in areas such as information technology or corporate systems management. 

Industry experience or a diploma level qualification are also held in high regard and may be of some assistance in gaining entry to a career as a database administrator. Diploma level qualifications can generally be obtained through participation in a TAFE course.

Learning and development

Development or improvement of skills as a database administrator can occur in a number of ways.

Courses to increase general knowledge and skill in database administration are readily available through organisations such as TAFE or universities. Private companies offer courses that increase skill in specific database product. These courses are generally offered by the companies who market or sell a particular database.

 

  1. The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management.  This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation.  Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
  2. The Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth.  The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning.

http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf

The supporting Companion Guide can be found at

http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/Companion_guide_QPS_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf