AWE’s Evolution: Data Services, Security, and the DBA Lead

by | Jun 29, 2024

As the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) undertakes a transformative journey to meet the United Kingdom’s next-generation nuclear deterrent needs, the importance of Information Services and Security has never been more critical. This comprehensive shift aims to evolve AWE into a data-driven, adaptive, and future-ready entity, focusing on integrating advanced cybersecurity measures, supporting a multi-billion-pound construction program, and enhancing IT services.

While the breadth of this transformation may appear daunting, it offers an exhilarating and rewarding venture for those prepared to embrace the challenge. “We’ve got a long journey that we’ve only just started, and we’re looking for motivated people who can take us in the right direction,” notes an AWE spokesperson, underscoring the need for visionary talent to steer this mission forward.

A pivotal role in this transformation is the Database Administrator (DBA) Team Lead. AWE is actively seeking a forward-thinking individual to lead its team of database administrators. These databases, which include SQL Server and Oracle platforms, form the backbone of the organization’s operations, supporting everything from third-party applications and in-house development to data warehousing and business intelligence capabilities. The successful candidate will be based in the Reading/Basingstoke area and will receive a competitive salary ranging between £48,250 and £70,000, depending on experience. Recognized as one of the top 25 big companies to work for in the UK, AWE offers a plethora of attractive benefits, including a market-leading contributory pension scheme, a generous holiday entitlement of 270 hours per year (inclusive of Bank Holidays), and flexible working hours. Additionally, the organization provides funding for annual membership in relevant professional bodies, life insurance, and part-time hours, ensuring a balanced work-life experience.

The DBA Team Lead will carry the mantle of hands-on leadership, tasked with maintaining the performance of business-critical databases and managing database applications. This includes responding to incidents, resolving bottlenecks and low-level bugs, designing future-proof infrastructure, and collaborating with third-party suppliers. “Your role will contribute directly to that shared mission. We won’t deceive you; in some areas, we’re starting from a low base, but within ten years, this organization will look very different, and you can help make that happen,” the spokesperson adds, emphasizing the long-term impact and legacy of the position.

Responsibilities also extend to supporting the Business Intelligence (BI) and Development Teams using tools like SSRS/SSIS and Power BI, devising and testing disaster recovery plans, and managing, coaching, and mentoring the team. The DBA Team Lead will be accountable for ensuring that changes to databases and services align with operational and strategic plans, troubleshooting, and optimizing existing code and databases, and designing and implementing new database server instances. Candidates for the role are expected to have a customer-focused, can-do approach, coupled with demonstrable knowledge of administering SQL Server (SQL2008 R2, SQL2012, SQL2014, SQL2019) and Oracle (9, 12c, 19c) databases. Knowledge of SQL Database services within Azure, experience with the design and development of databases and data warehouses, and strong communication skills are also crucial. Leadership skills, a strong command of SQL and SQL server tools, PowerShell and Unix Shell Scripting skills, and advanced knowledge of database security, backup and recovery, and performance monitoring standards are equally important. All candidates must be willing and able to obtain and maintain the necessary security clearance for the role, ensuring they can contribute effectively to AWE’s mission.

The transformation of AWE underscores the critical role that Information Services and Security play in national defense. The emphasis on data-driven decision-making, flexible IT services, and robust cyber security measures highlights the growing importance of technology in securing national interests. The DBA Team Lead role is pivotal in this transformation, ensuring the seamless operation of database systems that underpin multiple facets of AWE’s operations. The generous benefits and competitive salary reflect the high stakes and significant responsibilities associated with this position. The requirement for security clearance indicates the sensitive nature of the work involved, further emphasizing the role’s importance in national security.

As AWE progresses in its transformation journey, the role of Information Services and Security will continue to evolve. The emphasis on adaptable cyber security measures and future-proof IT services suggests a forward-looking approach that will likely incorporate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The DBA Team Lead position will be crucial in this evolution, ensuring that database systems remain robust and scalable to meet future demands. The focus on data-driven decision-making indicates a potential increase in the use of advanced analytics and big data technologies.

The transformation of AWE points to a future where technology and national security are inextricably linked, with Information Services and Security at the forefront of this evolution. As AWE undertakes this ambitious transformation, the role of the DBA Team Lead will be central to driving these changes, ensuring that the organization remains a cornerstone of national defense for decades to come.