Job Title: Database Administrator
Age: early 20s
Works for: Forestry Victoria
"I got into ICT when it began crossing over into my existing interest of biology. Suddenly there was all this cool technology that I could use!"
Tell us what you do, Hamish.
Mostly my role involves working with data to create maps and then analysing the results. I work to bring together different information, about fires, or animals, or pests, and manage it all as part of a huge database.
As a Database Administrator, I am responsible for creating, supporting and securing our database management system. My role includes strategy and design, monitoring and improving the database, so its working as well as it can. And I also do a lot of planning so the database can be expanded to hold new information.
I sometimes provide technical support to the other people who need to use this information for their work and I work closely with teams from the South West Region of Victoria.
What do you like about your job?
Definitely working with the mapping technology. I enjoy being able to answer people’s questions by helping manage all the information that’s been gathered. The analysis side of things is challenging and I also really like that.
ICT. Where did it all begin for you?
I guess it was when technology began crossing over into my existing interest of biology. I was studying Biological Resource Management at Ballarat University. While I was studying, a new mapping program came out, and I realised that there was all this cool technology that could be used in biology.
After uni I got into fire management. With my knowledge of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS), I made maps for fire management, helping to get all the useful info the state needs to fight fires. I was halfway through an Honours project, using satellite imagery to track the breeding sites of brolgas (of all things!), when I was offered a job with Forestry Victoria. A large component of that position involved using GIS, which was exactly the path I wanted to go down.
What skills were needed for your job?
Good database skills and an appreciation of the language used in the software. From that point of view, it was a steep learning curve for me. I've really been able to improve on those skills by using them on the job. I've also found it important to understand the principles behind the applications I use. For example, the concepts behind GIS can be applied to other programs. All of the programs are significantly different, but the same principles apply.
Where do you see your career going next?
I hope in the next year or so to complete more training. It would be great to get into things like satellite imagery analysis.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in ICT?
Keep your options open during high school. Once you are at university, try to specialise your skills.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).