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Become A Database Systems Administrator

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Working As A Database Systems Administrator

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

  • Repetitive

  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Database Systems 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.

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How To Become A Database Systems 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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Database Systems Administrator Career Paths

Database Systems Administrator
Database Administrator General Manager Vice President
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Oracle Database Administrator Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Oracle Database Administrator Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Manager
Director, Technical Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Oracle Database Administrator Senior Software Engineer Senior Project Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Database Administrator Principal Consultant Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Database Administrator Principal Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Database Administrator Principal Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
SQL Database Administrator Developer Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
SQL Database Administrator Developer Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
SQL Database Administrator Developer Senior Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Database Administrator Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Oracle Database Administrator Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Systems Manager Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Systems Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Information Technology Project Manager Senior Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Technical Project Manager Implementation Manager
Integration Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Business Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Director Of Business Systems
13 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Database Systems Administrator?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Engineer 3.1 years
Database Engineer 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Database Systems Administrator
Programmer 4.7%
Consultant 4.3%
Top Careers After Database Systems Administrator
Consultant 5.6%
Manager 2.0%

Do you work as a Database Systems Administrator?

Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
Show Salaries
$62,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Amarr
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Database Systems Administrator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Database Systems Administrator in the United States is $85,604 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $117,000.

Real Database Systems Administrator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
System Database Administrator, Principal Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Feb 18, 2013 $138,000
Enterprise Applications/Database Systems & Solution Architec Lands' End, Inc. Dodgeville, WI Aug 17, 2015 $135,000
Systems Database Administrator, Principal Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Nov 25, 2013 $128,000
Systems/Database Administrator, Principal Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Feb 27, 2015 $128,000
System Database Administrator, Principal Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Mar 17, 2014 $125,000
System/Database Administrator, Principal Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Mar 23, 2016 $125,000
Database Migration Lead, System Admin Accenture LLP Seattle, WA Jun 22, 2015 $123,000
Database Administrator, Information Systems Ricoh Americas Corporation Malvern, PA Feb 07, 2016 $116,388
Oracle Applications Dba/Systems Administrator Salesforce.com, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 28, 2011 $115,000
Systems/Database Administrator Sysmex America, Inc. Lincolnshire, IL May 10, 2016 $110,000
Database Administrator, Information Systems Ricoh Americas Corporation Norristown, PA Feb 07, 2013 $108,608
Lead Database Systems Administrator Hospira, Inc. Lake Forest, IL Nov 07, 2014 $103,000
System DBA IBM India Private Limited Westfield Center, OH Aug 21, 2016 $77,997
Database Administrator, Information Systems IKON Office Solutions, Inc. Norristown, PA Jan 30, 2011 $77,834
Database & System Administrator The Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO Aug 31, 2015 $77,000
Database Systems Administrator Harvest Software Solutions, LLC Jacksonville, FL Sep 18, 2015 $76,000
Database Administrator, Teradata Systems C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. Keene, NH Oct 01, 2010 $75,000
Database and Systems Administrator (Database and I SIFY Technologies Limited Santa Clara, CA Sep 29, 2010 $74,547
Systems/Database Administrator DTI Services, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 20, 2010 $72,982
SQL Server Database and System Administrator Tata Consultancy Services Limited Schaumburg, IL Apr 25, 2013 $66,100
SQL Server Database and System Administrator Tata Consultancy Services Limited Schaumburg, IL Oct 01, 2011 $65,500
System and Database Administrator Vortalsoft, Inc. Somerset, NJ Sep 20, 2014 $65,208
Database Systems Administrator ELAN Technologies, Inc. Irving, TX Aug 27, 2013 $65,000
Systems and Database Administrator Sam Analytic Solutions, LLC Raleigh, NC Sep 23, 2014 $65,000
Database Admin/Systems Admin Edge It Corp Sterling, VA Sep 13, 2016 $64,000

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Top Skills for A Database Systems Administrator

  1. Database
  2. Pl/Sql
  3. Windows XP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained and enhanced Unify 2000 based inventory and accounting databases.
  • Develop PL/SQL scripts for database tuning/monitoring and migration between releases.
  • Offered clients general support for Windows, Windows XP, Windows NT, OS/2, Novel and Mac systems.
  • Implemented and tested Disaster Recovery procedures using flash backups.
  • Designed and implemented numerous SQL Server databases in support of application developers.

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Top 10 Best States for Database Systems Administrators

  1. Colorado
  2. Washington
  3. New Jersey
  4. Illinois
  5. California
  6. Utah
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Connecticut
  9. Virginia
  10. Nevada
  • (945 jobs)
  • (646 jobs)
  • (692 jobs)
  • (913 jobs)
  • (3,087 jobs)
  • (216 jobs)
  • (833 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (2,938 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)

Database Systems Administrator Demographics

Gender

Male

68.5%

Female

20.3%

Unknown

11.2%
Ethnicity

White

56.1%

Asian

14.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.5%

Black or African American

11.7%

Unknown

5.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.0%

Mandarin

12.0%

Chinese

8.0%

German

8.0%

French

8.0%

Russian

8.0%

Telugu

4.0%

Japanese

4.0%

Cheyenne

4.0%

Tagalog

4.0%

Cantonese

4.0%

Arabic

4.0%
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Database Systems Administrator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.6%

University of Maryland - University College

9.9%

University of Arizona

5.8%

Strayer University

5.3%

George Mason University

4.7%

Regis University

4.1%

American InterContinental University

4.1%

University of Washington

4.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

University of Iowa

3.5%

New York University

2.9%

Illinois Institute of Technology

2.9%

George Washington University

2.9%

Michigan State University

2.9%

Community College of the Air Force

2.9%

Georgia State University

2.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

2.9%

University of Texas at Dallas

2.9%

Southern Methodist University

2.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

28.1%

Business

14.0%

Computer Information Systems

9.5%

Information Technology

7.8%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Management Information Systems

4.7%

Information Systems

4.2%

Computer Engineering

3.7%

Management

3.3%

Computer Applications

2.9%

Mathematics

2.5%

Computer Networking

2.4%

Accounting

1.9%

Project Management

1.5%

Finance

1.5%

Computer Programming

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%

Computer Technical Support

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.3%

Education

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.0%

Masters

25.6%

Other

15.5%

Associate

7.9%

Certificate

3.6%

Doctorate

1.5%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.1%
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