Technology Careers

Careers in Database Administrator
Online Database Administration Programs Available through Accredited Schools

Phil Mcmillan
IT Specialty:
Database Administration
Job Title:
Database Systems Administrator
Major Insurance Company
B.S. in Finance and finishing M.S. in Information Technology

Q.How does someone go about getting a job in this field?
A. Typically a degree in Computer Science/Information Technology is required, although there are some exceptions to that. I would recommend taking as many data and database classes as possible. In my particular position, one would need to have some experience, but there are many database-related entry-level positions that would be good stepping stones. My past experience was mostly in the arena of data design. But, experience with general technical support and operating systems is also valuable.

Q.† What are ways to advance in your field?
A. Experience is probably the most important element. But, technical certifications are also looked upon favorably. It shows that you are taking initiative and striving to expand your base of knowledge and expertise. In my arena, IBM offers a range of database certifications. 3.† What is the most enjoyable thing about your job? There are new challenges every day. Seldom does a day go by that I donít learn something new.

Q.† What is the biggest challenge regarding your job?
A. In our area, we deal with a lot of different areas, networking, scripters, etc. That can become difficult as various areas use different terminology and have different perspectives.

Q.What are your daily tasks like?
A. There are two distinct aspects to my job. One is the service aspect. That would be dealing with problems as they arise. Here I would be troubleshooting problems, talking to business areas experiencing problems, and discussing issues with IBM. The second aspect pertains to project work. This involves working on future upgrades of the DB2 database system, helping business areas improve current functionality, and build new functionality. So a typical day would involve a blend of those activities. Some days are more oriented toward project work. On other days, Iím entirely involved in dealing with current issues and problems.

Q.† What skills do you use at work?
A. I use both technical skills and people skills. I must be able to troubleshoot complex problems and build new solutions for business problems; those things require technical skills. I also must work with various areas in and out of IT. This requires people skills.

Q.What percentage of your day do you spend working independently or in a group?
A. In my position, I spend approximately 60% of my time working independently and 40% of my time working collaboratively.

Q.† What is one thing you didnít know about your field before getting into it that you wish you had known?
A. I think in IT, generally, you can never have too much technical knowledge. In my area, specifically, I wish had known more about how applications interact with DB2. We spend a lot of time dealing with application errors that are encountered when accessing the databases.