What is a database administrator (DBA)?

We’re in an age of big data, of online business, and continued requirements for strong cyber-security. That’s where your database administrator (or DBA) comes in handy. But what is a database administrator, exactly?

Database administrators hold an integral role in companies big and small. But the growth and capability of automation software has left some people worrying that DBAs are on their way out. They fear that automation will supplant the traditional role of the DBA.

This is not the case.

In fact, database administrators can benefit greatly from business process automation. So, we’ve broken down what a DBA does, why they’re needed, and how automation software fits into the picture.


What is a database administrator?

A good way to answer the ‘what is a database administrator’ question is to look at the three types of DBA, the tasks they do and the responsibilities they hold.

  • Systems DBAs (a.k.a. operations DBAs)

Systems DBAs focus on the physical aspects of database management. For example, installing and maintaining database management systems, backing up databases, optimising performance, and disaster recovery.

  • Development DBAs

Development DBAs handle the development aspects of database administration. For example, data definition language (DDL) generation and structured query language (SQL) writing.

  • Application DBAs

Application DBAs manage any third-party applications and software that interact with your database. (For example, automation software.) Their tasks might include installing new software applications, ensuring system integration, and managing upgrades.

It’s not uncommon for one person to handle the responsibilities of all three types of DBA.

What is a database administrator needed for?

Database administrators are critical members of the IT team. They’re overseers for your computer systems. And, of course, they specialise in managing and maintaining an organisation’s databases.

DBAs are particularly integral to any business that relies heavily on their information systems. For example, banks, insurance companies, and hospitals.

In other words, database administrators oversee the creation, maintenance and security of your databases. They do this with a working knowledge of (and experience with) database management products and software.

So, what is a database administrator? They ensure the integrity, security and accessibility of a company’s data.


Typical DBA tasks

Database administration is a skilled, varied, and busy job. So, as a sample, day to day tasks include:

  • Ensuring the security of company data
  • Backing up and restoring data
  • Identifying database user needs
  • Creating and managing company databases
  • Keeping databases running correctly and efficiently
  • Making and testing modifications to database structures
  • Updating old or legacy databases into new ones
  • Managing cross-system data merges
  • Ongoing database maintainence

A data administrator’s best friend

You might have heard a tired, stale argument that automation will wipe out DBA roles. In fact, the opposite is true. Rather than eliminating the field, automation software is augmenting database administration.

For example, running automation software helps DBAs with the routine maintenance of company databases. It helps keep the database up-to-date while your DBA works on it. (Rather than in it.)

Automation software (like ThinkAutomation) can help with a variety of repetitive tasks. For example, it can automatically back up new records and delete old records after a set amount of time has passed. This time would be determined by your DBA.

A DBA can also use automation to ensure the consistency of data throughout databases. Or to run automated reports. Or for queries and lookups, for tracking and measuring, to extract, transform, and load.

And that’s only scratching the surface. There are many more routine tasks weighing down your database administrators that automation software could handle.

But if automation software does all this, what is a database administrator for?


A helping hand, not a replacement

So, what is a database administrator with automation? They’re someone that can focus on optimising your company databases and information systems on every level.

Your DBA is also needed to control the automation. They manage the rules it follows and the processes it completes.

A DBA is also important for bigger, more complex tasks and decisions that automation isn’t capable of making.

Employment of database administrators is projected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies across the economy.



Let automation assist your DBA

Database administrators and automation are better together.

So, to augment your DBA efforts, start automating with ThinkAutomation.


Further reading