How to Become a Database Administrator

In 2013, the median salary for a database administrator was $78,520. The median hourly wage was $37.75[v]

Salary Potential if You become a database administrator

In 2013, the median salary for a database administrator was $78,520. The median hourly wage was $37.75[v]

Many organizations use databases to store financial data, client profiles, project stats, and other important information. It is database administrators who configure, test, and implement these information infrastructures.

Database administration responsibilities may include designing and modifying databases, identifying and correcting database errors, using security measures and backup plans to keep data safe, and controlling user access, among other duties.

Database administration could appeal to those with a strong interest in technology and math, as well as those who enjoy solving complex logical problems. If this sounds like it might be a good fit for you, we have provided some helpful info about database administrator salary potential, educational requirements, recommended skills, and other aspects of this profession.

Database Administrator Job Description

A database administrator (sometimes called a DBA) typically has to understand not just the technical side of creating, managing, and maintaining a database, but also the organizational goals behind each database’s functions. After all, it’s the database administrator’s role to ensure that information infrastructures operate efficiently and allow users to perform their daily tasks – like pulling financial reports or looking up a client’s contact information. Below are some common duties for those who become database administrator:

  • Writing and coding database descriptions; determining data relationships and attributes
  • Planning and executing data mergers and migrations
  • Creating and modifying databases according to user needs; performing maintenance and upgrades; understanding organizational goals in order to make recommendations and changes
  • Backing up and restoring data, as well as implementing security measures to prevent unauthorized access
  • Managing IT staff, such as programmers and analysts, who may work directly on or with the databases
  • Estimating cost, time, and other factors in projects involving database development or modifications; developing project scope and guidelines
  • Providing user regulations and permissions, training, and support

Database Administrator Qualities and Skill Sets

It’s a good idea to learn what sorts of qualities and knowledge areas could be most useful to you in this potential career. Here are some characteristics shared by many database administrators:

  • An understanding of database schemas, filters, indexes, queries, tables, and other key aspects of database development
  • Knowledge of database programming languages, such as Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Experience in database management system software like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL software, Erwin, and Quest Software Toad; development software like C++; data mapping and modeling software; and other programs
  • Knowledge of operating systems like DOS shell script, Microsoft Windows, and UNIX
  • Logical problem solving – DBAs have to understand how every decision or modification may affect other aspects of the database, much like chess players have to think several moves out.
  • Strong written and verbal skills – you may need to produce project write-ups and reports, as well as make presentations or provide training to your team.
  • Leadership and management skills – in some cases, you may oversee a team of programmers or systems analysts, lead department initiatives, or perform other managerial functions

How to Become a Database Administrator

What Education do I need to become a Database Administrator[i]

Database administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS), computer science, or a related field. Some employers, such as those with large and complex databases, may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in computer- or information-science. They may especially prefer a master’s degree with an emphasis on data or database management.

typical entry level degree to become a database administrator is a bachelors degreeOf course, every employer has different requirements for hiring a DBA. A passion for lifelong learning and professional development may also be valuable to prospective DBAs, since technology is always evolving.

Training and Career Enhancement [i]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many database administrators actually start out in a different but related career. They may gain professional experience as database developers or data analysts prior to pursuing the role of DBA. Learning the ropes in one of these related professions could be a good way to gain a thorough understanding of database processes, functions, and business implications before pursuing a database administrator career path.

If you want to become a database administrator, professional certifications could be another way to prepare for potential employment opportunities. Generally offered by software and product vendors, certifications may help you demonstrate your knowledge and competencies to a prospective employer. Some examples of certification programs include:

  • CompTIA Security+ certification – this certification covers the fundamentals of network security and risk management. Topics include identity management, cryptography, security concerns related to cloud computing, and more.[ii]
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Platform – this certification covers building and administrating enterprise-scale databases using Microsoft SQL Server 2012. [iii]
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Business Intelligence – this certification applies to database professionals responsible for delivering information to users across an organization. Topics covered include building and implementing data models, reports, and business intelligence solutions using Microsoft SQL Server 2012. [iv]

Database Administrator Salary Potential and Job Growth[v]

If you’re considering becoming a database administrator, you may be wondering about potential earnings and projected job growth in this field. While exact figures could vary depending on your employer and where you live, you might be interested in the stats below:

  • In 2013, the median salary for a database administrator was $78,520. The median hourly wage was $37.75.
  • Projected job growth between 2012 and 2022 is 15% to 21%, which is faster than average for all occupations.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of DBAs at cloud-computing firms is projected to increase due to the growing popularity of database-as-a-service.[i]


Sources:  |

[i]| [ii] | [iii]|[iv] |[v] | [vi]

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