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Responsibilities & Activities of a Database Administrator

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Optimal performance of a database requires coordination of system administration activities, including database design, implementation and use. A database administrator (DBA) is responsible for controlling an organization's database operations to ensure they adhere to specifications. As a DBA, you may work in a variety of organizations, including database processing firms, insurance companies and banks. Aspiring DBAs need a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS) or other computer-related courses. The most common specializations for database administrators include systems and application. Systems DBAs handle physical and technical aspects of a database, while application DBAs support database-specific applications and software.

Database Documentation

One of your responsibilities as a DBA will be setting up and maintaining documentation and standards. Documentation entails recording various aspects of database operations, including procedures, guidelines and data descriptions, such as the average size of records in each data file. This documentation is important for end users and helps in the development of database applications.

Database Design and Development

You will also coordinate with other IT specialists, including analysts and programmers to design and develop databases suitable for your firm’s operations. As your firm’s DBA, you will identify user needs for creating databases. You will then use your expertise and experience to design databases that are scalable and able to handle the long-term growth of your firm.


Understanding the underlying operating system of your firm’s database is important when performing maintenance of database software and equipment. You will be responsible for providing solutions for technical needs of databases, including installing upgrades and patches for debugging programs. At times, you might upgrade current databases by merging old databases into new ones to ensure optimal performance and prevent loss of data and unauthorized access.


Software applications can become obsolete as technology changes. As a result, you will need stay up-to-date with new database techniques and operating procedures and be able to train your firm’s analysts and database operators on the upgrades. You will also train them on data recovery and backup procedures for complex databases.


Clyde Bentley has been a writer since 2001, specializing in career and business articles. He worked as a copywriter for a New York City fashion ad agency and copy edited for the McGraw-Hill Book Company. Bentley holds a Master of Arts in journalism, minor in management from The University of Texas at Austin.

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