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Job Description of a Data Specialist

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Perhaps one of the most significant advances in technology in the 20th century was the development of information technology. No longer is it necessary for organizations to keep volumes of paper records. Now, most information can be stored electronically. The importance of electronic information, or data, has led to the creation of the data specialist position. This specialist ensures that the quality of the data is as high as possible.

Function

Data specialists are information technology experts who specialize in analyzing, collecting, storing and creating electronic data. They are responsible for testing data in information systems to make sure that this data is not corrupt or inaccurate. Data is regularly compiled in reports and sent to upper management or presented at board meetings in order to aid in decision making. When performing data tests, much of the data must be harvested in order to use this data in other projects. The data specialist is also expected to act as a consultant for others who utilize the data contained in the information systems.

Conditions

Given that they are on a computer for long periods of time, data specialists sometimes experience eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. These specialists usually spend their time in computer laboratory or office settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data specialists usually work 40 hours a week. But they sometimes have to work overtime because of emergencies such as server crashes. Some data specialists have to travel to various locations in order to test data and information systems.

Skills

The educational requirements for becoming a data specialist are at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or information science. Some data specialists get a master's degree in a computer-related field, which increases their marketability. They often must also have experience with the technology that is used by their company. These specialists need good problem-solving and analytical skills because they must often resolve issues with little input. They must also have good interpersonal and communication skills in order to be able to work well in a network administration or network software development team and to also be able to explain complex technical topics.

Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for data specialists such as database administrators is expected to grow by 15 percent between 2012 and 2022. This growth is driven by the increasing amount of data that organizations store on electronic databases.

Earnings

The average annual salary for database administrators was $80,740 in 2013, according to the BLS. Colleges, universities and professional schools offered the lowest salary at $69,200. Other chemical product and preparation manufacturing work settings offered the best pay, with an average annual salary of $99,160.

2016 Salary Information for Database Administrators

Database administrators earned a median annual salary of $84,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, database administrators earned a 25th percentile salary of $62,350, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $109,940, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 119,500 people were employed in the U.S. as database administrators.