Essentially, the main role of a database administrator has to do with overseeing the installation and ongoing function of software on a system designed for use by a number of users. There are several specific responsibilities that someone in this job will perform in just about any corporate environment.
A basic responsibility for just about every database administrator involves the installation of new databases. As part of the database installation, he or she will set up login credentials to authorized persons, define the privileges associated with each authorized user, and ensure that every work station attached to the network is set up to access the new database. This process usually involves a period of troubleshooting, in which the administrator will address and resolve any problems that users experience with the new product.
Database administrators often handle the process of creating backup records of the information contained in the databases on the system. This involves more than setting up an automatic backup and assuming that the backup is proceeding according to plan. The administrator will check the backup files to make sure the information is complete, the integrity of the data is secure, and that the saved files can easily be accessed and loaded in the event that something happens to the main database.
With just about all software, new releases and upgrades are made available from time to time. The database administrator will be aware of any new versions or upgrades to existing versions that could improve the efficiency of a currently installed database. Generally, he or she is authorized to upload free upgrades and install them at will. In the event that a new version is available, the administrator may work with others in the company to determine if the cost of replacing the existing database software is worth the investment.
In more recent years, the role of the database administrator has expanded in some companies. The administrator may be called upon to take a basic design and customize the fields or functions to more effectively serve the needs of the corporation. While these types of projects are more commonly associated with a database analyst or designer, it is not uncommon for a database administrator in a small company to assume these roles.