Data centre operators maintain computer operations within the data centre. They manage daily activities within the centre to solve problems, maintain the system availability, and evaluate the system’s performance.
The duties of a data centre operator include, but are not limited to:
- Monitoring the temperature, humidity, and air quality in the data center to maintain safe working conditions
- Installing, configuring, and maintaining servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and other hardware components used in a data center
- Diagnosing and troubleshooting problems with servers, storage devices, networks, power supplies, cooling systems, etc. in order to maintain optimal performance
- Providing support for end users by answering questions about technology issues or helping them to resolve problems with their computer systems
- Conducting regular backups of data to secure storage media such as tape drives, optical discs, or external hard drives
- Monitoring security measures such as fire alarms and surveillance cameras to ensure that the data center is safe from threats
- Maintaining records of equipment inventories, usage trends, software licenses, and other data center information for regulatory compliance
- Reporting any malfunctions or irregularities in equipment or processes to appropriate individuals for resolution
- Coordinating with other IT staff members to ensure that new servers are configured correctly before being put into operation
The following job titles also refer to data centre operator:
data centre operators
data center administrator
data centre employee
Data centre operators work in clean, well-lit, and temperature-controlled areas. They sit at computer consoles and use a variety of software programs to monitor and control the systems that store, process, and distribute data.
Data centre operators typically work in shifts that cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because data centers must be operational at all times. They may work weekends, holidays, and overtime as needed. Some data centre operators are required to be on call, which means they must be available to work on short notice.
Entry-level data centre operators typically need a high school diploma. Some employers prefer an associate’s degree in computer science or a related field.
Most data centre operators receive on-the-job training when they start a new position. This training may last for a few weeks to a month and may include shadowing an experienced data centre operator and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Data centre operator is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Data centre operator career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to data centre operator.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of data centre operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of data centre operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of data centre operator.
- Resource description framework query language: The query languages such as SPARQL which are used to retrieve and manipulate data stored in Resource Description Framework format (RDF).
- Query languages: The field of standardised computer languages for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information.
- Database management systems: The tools for creating, updating and managing databases, such as Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of data centre operator.
- Migrate existing data: Apply migration and conversion methods for existing data, in order to transfer or convert data between formats, storage or computer systems.
- Provide technical documentation: Prepare documentation for existing and upcoming products or services, describing their functionality and composition in such a way that it is understandable for a wide audience without technical background and compliant with defined requirements and standards. Keep documentation up to date.
- Administer ICT system: Handle components of ICT system by maintaining configuration, managing users, monitoring resource use, performing backups and installing hardware or software to comply with the set requirements.
- Keep up with the latest information systems solutions: Gather the latest information on existing information systems solutions which integrate software and hardware, as well as network components.
- Manage database: Apply database design schemes and models, define data dependencies, use query languages and database management systems (DBMS) to develop and manage databases.
- Analyse ICT system: Study the activity and performance of information systems in order to model their usage and weaknesses, specify purpose, architecture and services and discover operations and procedures for accomplishing them most efficiently.
- Monitor system performance: Measure system reliability and performance before, during and after component integration and during system operation and maintenance. Select and use performance monitoring tools and techniques, such as special software.
- Balance database resources: Stabilise the workload and resources of a database, by controlling the demand of transactions, allocating disk spaces and ensuring reliability of the servers in order to optimise cost and risk ratio.
- Maintain database performance: Calculate values for database parameters. Implement new releases and execute regular maintenance tasks such as establishing backup strategies and eliminating index fragmentation. Evaluate hardware products and operating systems.
- Maintain database security: Master a wide variety of information security controls in order to pursue maximal database protection.
- Maintain ICT server: Diagnose and eliminate hardware faults via repair or replacement. Take preventive measures, review performance, update software, review accessibility.
- Develop contingency plans for emergencies: Compose procedures outlining specific actions to be taken in the event of an emergency, taking into account all the risks and dangers that could be involved, ensuring that the plans comply with safety legislation and represent the safest course of action.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of data centre operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- MDX: The computer language MDX is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information. It is developed by the software company Microsoft.
- DB2: The computer program IBM DB2 is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company IBM.
- Microsoft Access: The computer program Access is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company Microsoft.
- XQuery: The computer language XQuery is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information. It is developed by the international standards organisation World Wide Web Consortium.
- OpenEdge database: The computer program OpenEdge Database is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company Progress Software Corporation.
- ObjectStore: The computer program ObjectStore is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company Object Design, Incorporated.
- MySQL: The computer program MySQL is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, currently developed by the software company Oracle.
- SPARQL: The computer language SPARQL is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information. It is developed by the international standards organisation World Wide Web Consortium.
- IBM Informix: The computer program IBM Informix is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company IBM.
- World Wide Web Consortium standards: The standards, technical specifications and guidelines developed by the international organisation World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which allow the design and development of web applications.
- Database development tools: The methodologies and tools used for creating logical and physical structure of databases, such as logical data structures, diagrams, modelling methodologies and entity-relationships.
- Information confidentiality: The mechanisms and regulations which allow for selective access control and guarantee that only authorised parties (people, processes, systems and devices) have access to data, the way to comply with confidential information and the risks of non-compliance.
- LDAP: The computer language LDAP is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information.
- Data storage: The physical and technical concepts of how digital data storage is organised in specific schemes both locally, such as hard-drives and random-access memories (RAM) and remotely, via network, internet or cloud.
- PostgreSQL: The computer program PostgreSQL is a free and open-source software tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.
- FileMaker (database management systems): The computer program FileMaker is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company FileMaker Inc.
- SQL Server: The computer program SQL Server is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company Microsoft.
- Unstructured data: The information that is not arranged in a pre-defined manner or does not have a pre-defined data model and is difficult to understand and find patterns in without using techniques such as data mining.
- CA Datacom/DB: The computer program CA Datacom/DB is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, currently developed by the software company CA Technologies.
- LINQ: The computer language LINQ is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information. It is developed by the software company Microsoft.
- Business ICT systems: The software packages, hardware devices and new technologies used in supporting business processes such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), mobile devices and network solutions.
- Teradata Database: The computer program Teradata Database is a tool for creating, updating and managing databases, developed by the software company Teradata Corporation.
- N1QL: The computer language N1QL is a query language for retrieval of information from a database and of documents containing the needed information. It is developed by the software company Couchbase.
- Data models: The techniques and existing systems used for structuring data elements and showing relationships between them, as well as methods for interpreting the data structures and relationships.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of data centre operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
- Develop automated migration methods: Create automated transfer of ICT information between storage types, formats and systems to save human resources from performing the task manually.
- Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
- Use ICT ticketing system: Utilise a specialised system to track registration, processing and resolution of issues in an organisation by assigning each of these issues a ticket, registering inputs from involved persons, tracking changes and displaying the status of the ticket, until it is completed.
- Control of expenses: Monitoring and maintaining effective cost controls, in regards to efficiencies, waste, overtime and staffing. Assessing excesses and strives for efficiency and productivity.
- Integrate system components: Select and use integration techniques and tools to plan and implement integration of hardware and software modules and components in a system. Apply specific testing techniques to ensure integrity during system integration.
ISCO group and title
3511 – Information and communications technology operations technicians
- Data centre operator – ESCO
- Data Center Operator Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
- Featured image: By Christopher Bowns – https://www.flickr.com/photos/cipherswarm/2414578731/, CC BY-SA 2.0