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Working as a Database Administrator

If you're looking for a career that's growing with more and more opportunities presented every day, becoming a database administrator is a great place to start. Bonus points are awarded if you already have a bachelor's degree in an information- or computer-related subject.

Database Administrators focus their time on using specialized software to store and organize data. Every industry that has a large database is going to hire for this position. But typically these employees can be found working for educational institutions and insurance companies.

What Does a Database Administrator Do

Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.

Duties

Database administrators typically do the following:

  • Ensure that organizational data is secure
  • Back up and restore data to prevent data loss
  • Identify user needs to create and administer databases
  • Ensure that the database operates efficiently and without error
  • Make and test modifications to the database structure when needed
  • Maintain the database and update permissions
  • Merge old databases into new ones

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts can easily use the database to find the information they need and that the system performs as it should. DBAs sometimes work with an organization’s management to understand the company’s data needs and to plan the goals of the database. They also may work with computer and information systems managers to provide database solutions. Database administrators are responsible for backing up systems to prevent data loss in case of a power outage or other disaster. They also ensure the integrity of the database, guaranteeing that the data stored in it come from reliable sources.

Some DBAs oversee the development of new databases. They have to determine what the needs of the database are and who will be using it. They often monitor database performance and conduct performance-tuning support. Database administrators often plan security measures, making sure that data are secure from unauthorized access. Many databases contain personal or financial information, making security important.

Many database administrators are general-purpose DBAs and have all these duties. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks that vary with an organization and its needs. Two common specialties are as follows:

System DBAs are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. They typically have a background in system architecture and ensure that the firm’s database management systems work properly.

Application DBAs support a database that has been designed for a specific application or a set of applications, such as customer-service software. Using complex programming languages, they may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the applications that work with the database. They also do all the tasks of a general DBA, but only for their particular application.

How To Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators (DBAs) usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science. Before becoming an administrator, these workers typically get work experience in a related field.

Education

Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS) or a computer-related field. Firms with large databases may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.

Database administrators need an understanding of database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, commonly called SQL. Most database systems use some variation of SQL, and a DBA will need to become familiar with whichever programming language the firm uses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is generally offered directly from software vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and best practices required from DBAs. Companies may require their database administrators to be certified in the products they use.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most do not begin their careers as database administrators. Many first work as database developers or data analysts. A database developer is a type of software developer who specializes in creating databases. The job of a data analyst is to interpret the information stored in a database in a way the firm can use. Depending on their specialty, data analysts can have different job titles, including financial analyst, market research analyst, and operations research analyst. After mastering one of these fields, they may become a database administrator. For more information, see the profiles on software developers, financial analysts, market research analysts, and operations research analysts.

Advancement

Database administrators can advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. DBAs must be able to monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must be able to evaluate complex information that comes from a variety of sources.

Communication skills. Most database administrators work on teams and must be able to communicate effectively with developers, managers, and other workers.

Detail oriented. Working with databases requires an understanding of complex systems, in which a minor error can cause major problems. For example, mixing up customers’ credit card information can cause someone to be charged for a purchase he or she didn’t make.

Logical thinking. Database administrators must make sense of data and organize it in a meaningful pattern so that it is easily retrievable.

Problem-solving skills. When problems with a database arise, administrators must be able to troubleshoot and correct the problems.

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Average Salary$79,186
Job Growth Rate9%

Database Administrator Jobs

Database Administrator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Database Administrator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Database Administrator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Database Administrator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Database Administrator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Database Administrator

Top Careers After Database Administrator

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Database Administrator

Database Administrators in America make an average salary of $79,186 per year or $38 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $105,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $59,000 per year.
Average Salary
$79,186

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range84k - 121k$101k$101,338
Salary Range78k - 119k$97k$96,984
Salary Range73k - 108k$89k$89,374
Salary Range70k - 97k$83k$82,658
Salary Range66k - 101k$82k$82,276
Salary Range65k - 96k$79k$79,194
$52k
$121k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Database Administrator
Database Administrator
Central Ohio Transit Authority
Central Ohio Transit Authority
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$69,36210/23/2020
$69,362
Database Administrator-Secret Clearance
Database Administrator-Secret Clearance
Spherion
Spherion
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$77,21910/23/2020
$77,219
DBA/Database Administrator (SQL Server) (Direct Perm)
DBA/Database Administrator (SQL Server) (Direct Perm)
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/22/2020
10/22/2020
$95,00010/22/2020
$95,000
Database Administrator
Database Administrator
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/22/2020
10/22/2020
$79,30610/22/2020
$79,306
Database Administrator
Database Administrator
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/22/2020
10/22/2020
$31,30510/22/2020
$31,305
See More Recent Salaries

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Database Administrator Demographics

Gender

male

58.4%

female

37.2%

unknown

4.4%

Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Asian

16.3%

Hispanic or Latino

9.7%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.4%

French

8.5%

Chinese

4.2%
See More Demographics

Database Administrator Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

44.6%

Masters

20.2%

Associate

13.8%

Top Colleges for Database Administrators

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY

Tuition and fees
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

8. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. New York University

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,530
Enrollment
4,571
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Database Administrator

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Database Administrator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.4% of database administrators listed database on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and detail oriented are important as well.

Best States For a Database Administrator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a database administrator. The best states for people in this position are Washington, New Jersey, California, and Colorado. Database administrators make the most in Washington with an average salary of $100,852. Whereas in New Jersey and California, they would average $89,156 and $89,106, respectively. While database administrators would only make an average of $84,434 in Colorado, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Jersey

Total Database Administrator Jobs:
352
Highest 10% Earn:
$128,000
Location Quotient:
1.22
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Washington

Total Database Administrator Jobs:
231
Highest 10% Earn:
$142,000
Location Quotient:
0.85
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Colorado

Total Database Administrator Jobs:
226
Highest 10% Earn:
$119,000
Location Quotient:
1.04
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Database Administrator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a database administrator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless database administrator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Database Administrator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless database administrator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Database Administrator Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ database administrators and discovered their number of database administrator opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Tata Consultancy Services was the best, especially with an average salary of $72,534. Wipro follows up with an average salary of $75,841, and then comes LCC International Inc. with an average of $77,876. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a database administrator. The employers include Leidos, DXC Technology, and Spherion

1. Tata Consultancy Services
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$72,534
Database Administrators Hired: 
2,164+
2. Wipro
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$75,841
Database Administrators Hired: 
1,395+
3. LCC International
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$77,876
Database Administrators Hired: 
946+
4. Fujitsu America
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$87,719
Database Administrators Hired: 
736+
5. IBM
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$84,673
Database Administrators Hired: 
564+
6. Compunnel Software Group
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$74,953
Database Administrators Hired: 
514+

Database Administrator Videos

Recently Added Database Administrator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020