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What Is Database Optimization?

Database optimization refers to a variety of strategies for reducing database system response time. Read on to learn more about database optimization and the professionals who manage databases in a wide range of industries.

Definition

Databases can store tremendous amounts of information, petabytes of information. Specific bits of data are accessed by queries written in a particular interface language, such as SQL. Database optimization involves maximizing the speed and efficiency with which data is retrieved. Database designers, administrators and analysts work together to optimize system performance through diverse methods. Thoughtful design that carefully addresses functional needs is the foundation of performance enhancement.

The construction of queries can yield faster results, as well. Administrators and analysts seek to improve their servers' data access methods and retrieval times through design techniques, statistical analysis and monitoring of system traffic. In this role, you endeavor to make the most of your server's potential by possessing a strong knowledge of the structure of the data, the applications installed on the server and the impact varied tasks have on the database's overall performance.

Important Facts About Database Optimization Careers

Work Environment Typically in a computer systems design firm
Similar Occupations Computer Network Architects, Computer Support Specialists, Software Developers
Key Skills Interpersonal, technical, and organizational skills
Required Education Varies depending on your career of choice

Career Options

Some possible jobs in the field of database optimization include database designer, database administrator and database analyst.

Database Designer

Database designers are generally computer applications software engineers who develop databases to meet the needs of businesses and other organizations. As a database designer, your work may also involve the repair, maintenance and improvement of database systems. Knowledge of database management systems software and strong programming skills are essential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), applications developers, including database designers, will experience strong employment growth of 31% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). There will be a need for professionals to design new applications, especially security software. PayScale.com reported that database developers earned a median wage of $74,488 in 2019.

Database Administrator

Storage, analysis and presentation of data are the primary functions of database administrators. Some employers prefer these professionals to have experience in database design, but typically they assist designers in the development process. As a database administrator, you're responsible for setting up and modifying new systems according to employer needs, adding users, troubleshooting and handling security threats.

The BLS estimates that this field will see a 11% rise in employment over the 2016-2026 decade. As companies have more data, administrators will be needed to help manage it. The usage of cloud computing and electronic medical records might also create a need for these professionals. The BLS reported in May 2018 that database administrators were paid a median annual salary of $90,070.

Database Analyst

Database analysts work closely with applications developers to determine solutions to business data problems. As a database analyst, you also participate in the design and implementation of database structures, as well as the optimization of the system. Like database designers, these professionals also require a background in database management and software systems.

According to the BLS, computer software analysts in general can expect to see a very fast 9% employment increase between 2016 and 2026. Strong growth will be found in the computer systems design and healthcare fields. The use of cloud computing will also spur growth for analysts. In 2019, database analysts were paid a median wage of $61,153, according to PayScale.com.

Education Requirements

You may acquire data optimization skills in a computer science, database management or information technology program. An associate's degree, certification and some work experience may suffice for some entry-level positions; however, a bachelor's degree is typically preferred by most employers. An MBA with a concentration in information systems may be required for some positions.

Certification

Professional certifications can lead to better job opportunities, and some employers require them. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Platform is one certification applicable to administrators, analysts and developers that is earned by examination. In addition to configuration, implementation and security management, the certification is for optimization of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 databases.

Depending on your area of specialization, you can also become professionally certified through Oracle. Oracle offers certification paths for developers, administrators, programmers, architects and implementers, among others. Among the certifications you can earn are the SQL Certified Expert and the Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Certified Expert.