A data administrator is an information technology professional who may design and maintain computerized databases. The duties of a data administrator primarily involve managing software, including access authorization. Database software often needs to be examined and tweaked in order to store information according to an organization's needs. Monitoring and ensuring the functionality of the software is a crucial part of a data administrator's job.
Generally, data administrators determine how a database program should be setup and organized. They are often in charge of selecting server and storage applications that will display information in a specific manner. For example, the information regarding the different schools in a district may be searchable by name and address. The administrator determines what information is stored in the program and how it is categorized.
Besides applying their knowledge to configure and customize various database software programs, administrators must also be aware of how that software interacts with computer hardware. A good number of database programs provide users access to information through a local area network (LAN) or the Internet. One of the common duties of a data administrator is to make sure that database programs are accessible over a company's network. An administrator may work with a network engineer to increase and decrease network capacity as necessary.
At times, databases and software experience functionality errors. It is up to a data administrator to troubleshoot the system and discover the root cause of the error. Besides reactively fixing software programming errors, data administrators also routinely update and maintain the systems. This may involve temporarily disabling the functionality of the program in order to apply upgrades and transfer the stored data securely.
A major concern of any administrator is the security of the information contained in the database. Data administrators also partner with network system engineers to protect against possible intrusions. They may actively investigate and recommend potential firewall and intrusion detection software, in addition to encryption technology. Administrators are in charge of granting access to the database by creating user names, passwords and permissions.
When a data administrator sets up a user name, he will typically grant certain permission levels. Depending upon the user's job function or status, he may be able to modify programs on certain computers within an organization. Permission levels can also be used to restrict certain users from being able to access information or software components. For example, in an educational setting, student users may be restricted from changing any of the software on a computer.