Sometimes, a whole host of disasters can cause problems with computer data. The loss of data integrity can lead to companies and individuals losing information that can have devastating financial consequences. In order to determine whether or not data that has been damaged is accurate, specialized computer software engineers known as data integrity analysts study data.
Data integrity is a concept regarding whether or not information in an electronic database is reliable. Due to file corruption, system crashes and human error, information sometimes becomes compromised. Specialists in data integrity not only make sure that data is correct, but also are often hired in order to recover lost data. These workers are often able to recover and repair data, regardless of if the data was wiped out by a virus or by a natural disaster. Data that seems deleted is often still on the computer until new information is added to the computer. Data integrity experts figure out where these files are and then restore them. Once the file has been located, the data integrity expert is able to recreate the drive using specialized software and is then able to determine whether or not there are holes in the file, which is sometimes caused by the file being overwritten.
Data integrity experts sometimes work for independent companies where they recover corrupted files for a fee. However, government agencies, large hospitals, private companies, banks and universities often hire data integrity specialists to recover crucial data as soon as the data is lost. These software engineers usually work in clean and comfortable offices. Since they spend a lot of time in front of a computer, they sometimes develop eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
A variety of educational paths can lead to a worker becoming a data integrity expert. Associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in computer science often require data integrity and data recovery classes. However, some data integrity specialists are hired by software companies with only a high school diploma and are trained on the job.
The need for computer software engineers is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Advances in software technology will reduce the number of incidents where data is lost due to system crashes, but other problems such as viruses and human error will still cause some data integrity to be compromised.
Payscale.com reported that in 2010, data integrity analysts could earn between $35,949 and $75,000. Those with 1 to 4 years of experience can sometimes earn as much as $49,367, while those who have worked for more than 9 years sometimes only earn $40,000.