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Become A Database Administrator

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Working As A Database Administrator

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $66,000

    Average Salary

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.


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.

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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.


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.


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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1,849 Database Administrator jobs More

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Real Database Administrator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Database Administrator Norgate Technology Indianapolis, IN Feb 22, 2016 $179,482
Database Administrator Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jun 20, 2015 $174,000
Principal Database Administrator Crystal Equation Corporation Atlanta, GA Oct 01, 2015 $170,560
Principal Database Administrator Crystal Equation Corporation Alpharetta, GA Jul 27, 2015 $170,560
Principal Database Administrator Crystal Equation Corporation Alpharetta, GA Jul 20, 2015 $170,560
Principal Database Administrator Crystal Equation Corporation Atlanta, GA Jun 04, 2015 $170,560
Principal Database Administrator Crystal Equation Corporation Atlanta, GA Jul 20, 2015 $170,560
Database Administrators (Principal Database Engineer) Salesforce.Com San Francisco, CA Mar 30, 2016 $166,400
Manager, DBA Prosper Marketplace, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 28, 2016 $160,000
Database Administrator Populus Group Rockville, MD Feb 25, 2015 $156,525
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Top Skills for A Database Administrator


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Top Database Administrator Skills

  1. Pl/Sql
  2. Microsoft SQL Server
  3. Recovery Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed PL/SQL procedure for generating report on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.
  • Provisioned Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008 and installed service patches.
  • Enhance database performance, perform restores, implement recovery procedures, handle performance tuning and conduct regular system backups.
  • Performed Database backups (operating system, flat file backups & export/import).
  • Performed daily DBA management tasks including troubleshooting, performance and tuning, database monitoring and backup/recovery.

Top Database Administrator Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Database Administrator

  1. IBM
  2. Bank of America
  3. HP
  4. Wipro Limited
  5. Tata Consultancy Services
  6. Accenture LTD
  7. Wells Fargo
  8. Capital One
  9. Boeing
  10. Northrop Grumman
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