A DBA is a Data Professional

By Grant Fritchey

A DBA (Database Administrator) is a Data Professional tasked with managing an organization’s data using some sort of database software, such as Microsoft SQL Server. They are concerned with gathering, storing and presenting data to data consumers, which includes virtually anyone in the modern world. For example, managers use data to plan for the future, employees use data to make daily decisions, and Internet users (virtually anyone who uses a computer or smartphone) use data they find to comparison shop, learn new skills, listen to music, and keep up with the news. No matter where you look, virtually all the data that exists anywhere is managed by Data Professionals.

Here’s a quick break down of the various jobs that fall under the umbrella of Data Professional. While exact job titles will vary from organization to organization, most Data Professionals fall into one of the following disciplines.

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Meet the DBA in Space Judges


Judging any contest is difficult, as you want to be as fair as possible. So coming up with the final 15 contestants for the DBA in Space competition was not an easy job for the judges. But as you have probably already learned today, they have made their decision, and the final 15 will go before a vote of the public to decide which lucky DBA will have an opportunity to fly into space.

Red Gate Software invited three people to be the judges, which included Simon Galbraith (Joint CEO of Red Gate Software), Buck Woody (well known DBA and former NASA employee), and Graham Coxon, an (English singer-songwriter whose former band, Blur, were responsible for composing the call signal for the Beagle 2 mission to Mars in 2003).

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The Final 15 Revealed: DBA in Space


Today, the final 15 competitors were announced at the DBA in Space website. To get into the final 15, the contestants first had to successfully answer all 14 tasks and questions from the competition, and then submit what would be their first Tweet from space. According to the rules, the Tweet had to be 140 characters or less and include the #redgate hashtag. Assuming they got this far, the Tweets that met this criteria where then judged based on the following criteria: (a) relevance to the database administrator community; (b) how innovate the Tweet is; and 3) relevance to the theme of space.

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DBA in Space: Behind the Scenes—Question 12

This is a continuation of my DBA in Space journal.

As this scene starts on Lunar Exhibition set, Miss Friday is nowhere to be found, and alien Brad asks question twelve of the competition. As you can see, alien Brad really looks bad. His face is completely covered with boils, as if the skin were ready to slide off his interior Martian body. In fact, he has given up trying to pretend to be the real Brad, as he now assumes, as we learned from the last episode, that he knows that we know he is an alien. Because of this, he reveals personal information about himself on Mars. In fact, he reverts to his Martian ways, with a deep voice, anger in his face, and lizard-like eyes, when he says, “But if you don’t play along, you won’t make it to the launch.” He is telling the audience that if they don’t participate in the competition, that you can’t win. An obvious statement, but one that is very true. I imagine a lot of DBAs probably didn’t participate in the contest as they assumed that they could not win. But of course, one DBA will.

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The Layman's View of the DBA

By Steve Jones

A DBA (Database Administrator) is someone who takes care of your data. When you place an order on Amazon.com, it’s the DBA who ensures the order is permanently recorded in the database. If one of the computers at Amazon fails, and they regularly do, the DBA can recover the data. The DBA should be the person that prevents part of your order from getting lost because it’s incorrectly recorded, and it’s the person that makes sure that if you update your address, the change is recorded so your purchases reach the right destination.

A DBA makes sure that the transfers between your bank account and other accounts are completed in full, without allowing the deduction from your account to occur without the credit arriving in the destination account. DBAs try to ensure the data that appears on your bill is correct, and that if you change the name on your account, the change is reflected in your statement.

DBAs are like the local librarians, keeping track of all the various words and numbers in their library and knowing where everything is. They are the custodians of information in databases, trying to keep it all organized, intact, and available for access. DBAs are not perfect and they can make mistakes which result in the mistakes we occasionally find on bills or statements.

However, DBAs don’t act alone, and in many cases their job is directly affected by other people. The websites you use, or the applications on your computer or mobile phone, are written by developers that decide how you enter or read the information, and how the data moves into or out of the database. These developers sometimes do not have the proper training on how to store data to prevent mistakes, or how to clean data to fix incorrect entries, resulting in bad data outside of the control of the DBA.

In addition, the connections to databases are often managed by system administrators or network professionals who also deal with failures. When you cannot access your account on a website, it’s entirely possible the database is running and working fine; the problem is in the connection between the website computer and the database computer.

The DBA’s role is often taken for granted. If everything works as expected, it appears the DBA is not doing any work, or adding any value to their company. This may be why so many companies forgo hiring a DBA and expect their developers and system administrators to manage the databases. That’s not usually the case as the work a DBA does is designed to prevent problems, and be available to fix the inevitable issues that will arise.

The DBA is a preventative mechanic, working on your car every day and night when you aren’t using it, ensuring that it is working when you do need it. They’re the behind the scenes staffers that coordinate and organize the concert or play you enjoy, unaware of just how much work goes into providing you with an enjoyable experience. The DBA is the glue that binds so much of our technological world together, helping to ensure that all parts of the system know what should be built, sent to who, and when it should arrive.

Find out how DBA Grant Fritchey describes what a DBA is and does.

DBA in Space: Behind the Scenes—Question 11

Part 2 of Question 11:The follow up to the question.

This is a continuation of my DBA in Space journal.

This was a Friday task-related question and involves two key scenes. First, in what appears to be a video from a dead Miss Friday (aka Verity Blunt). She is asking you for your help to find the footage of the alien making the transmission she had recorded before her untimely demise. After you perform your task, then a new scene is show where alien Brad appears to be in a server room, and then jacks himself into a computer, apparently trying to upload the SQL Source Control software and database back to his dad back on Mars. This is the footage that Miss Friday wanted you to find. As you may notice at the end of this scene, alien Brad notices the webcam, and then you see the menacing message on the screen: “Your attempts to stop me are in vain. Cease your interference unless you want to be reunited with Agent Friday”. Apparently, alien Brad knows that you are watching. Also, can you be sure that alien Brad succeeded in uploading the software and database so that his father would help him return home?

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