How to Become a Database Adminitrator | Career and Salary Information (2023)

In this Guide:

4 steps to become a database administrator
What is a database administrator?
What does a database administrator do?
Database administrator job description
Database administrator skills and experience
Database administrator salary
Database administrator job outlook

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With the rapid growth and advancement in information technology in the late 20thcentury, businesses were accumulating reams of data for historical records. At first, few saw the value of this data, but soon it became widely understood that organizations were amassing an extremely useful and valuable resource. Once that realization spread, the construction, storage,manipulation,and management of huge databases became a pivotal function in every organization. Database administrators were at the very heart of this new reality, as theystill are today.

Database administrators are information technology professionals that ensure theoptimalstorage and access to an organization’s data. This is done by ensuring software programs are designed, managed,andmaintainedto permit rapid access whenever and however needed by authorized personnel. Database administrators also work with cybersecurity professionals to safeguard the data from unauthorized access and damage. Alternatively, database developersare responsible forthe design, programming, and construction of new databases. Some organizations treat these two posts as one job, but for the purposes of this discussion, we have separated them as distinct careers. A career guide for database developers can beviewedhere.

This guideprovidesan overview of the database administrator role and lists the stepsrequiredto begin and maximize a career as adatabase administrator. Included is a detailed list of job responsibilities, background, education, and experience required to be successful professional, as well as salary information, and thefuture outlookfor the database administrator job market.



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What is a Database Administrator?

Let’sstart at the beginning. What exactlyisa database administrator?In essence,databaseadministrators(occasionallyknown as DBAs)have ultimateresponsibility for designing andmaintainingall aspects of an organization’s data storage facilities.

Database administrators are often tasked with building a new database from the ground up, beginning with the design and construction of application specific customizations to a database platform, and the implementation of the new database.This would transform the role into more of a database developer, with which its often combined.Data input and accumulation methods and protocols must be designed, access permissions granted andmonitored, security protocols put in place andmonitored, data integrity constantly analyzed, damage repaired, backup methods determined andmaintained, program updates implemented, new data sources and data points integrated into the existing database, and new reporting requirements satisfied.

What does a Database Administrator do?

Database administratorsare responsible forthe storage, organization, presentation,utilizationand analysis an organization’s database and database management software. Whatever the information storage needs of a company are, a database administrator strives to meet them. This can include setting up new computer databases or integrating data from old systems to new systems. A gooddatabase administratoralso needs to respond to the (sometimes constant) change of informational needs, whether it be new types of data being accumulated or different reporting or presentation needs of management. The database administrator must adapt the database software to accept new data points and produce new reports whenever necessary.

Responsibility formaintaininga fully functioning database also lies with the database administrator. Database administrators must regularly perform routine tests and modifications to ensure that a database is performing and running correctly. If a problem occurs, a database administrator must analyze the programs and hardware todeterminethe problem, and then perform the necessary repairs or alterations. Database administrators also mustmonitoraccess privileges, any unauthorized use, and making changes to permissions whenrequired. Coordinating with infosec staff members, database administrators also must update security measures as internal security protocols are adjusted.

Four Steps to Become a Database Administrator

Step 1: Education

(Video) How to Becoming a Database Administrator or Architect

Database administrators must be knowledgeable of all aspects of designing, organizing,andmaintaininginformation storage needs for anyparticular company. A strong generalized background in relational database management systems, including an understanding of structured query language (SQL), is a basic prerequisite for all database professionals. More specific and advanced database skills and knowledge arerequiredtooperatespecific platforms, including various Oracle products (such as theopen sourceMySQL environment and Oracle itself), Microsoft SQL Server,IBMDB2 and more.

Database administration job openings will usually require an undergraduate degree. Degrees in information technology are the norm, andprobably themostappropriate courseof study.Bachelor’sdegrees in computer science, engineering and even business administration can also gain a candidate entry into database management. Taking as many courses in database administration or management as possible will make the college transcripts more attractive to prospective employers. This may includecourseworkin several specific database packages, such as Oracle, IBM AS/400, SQL, andETL. Some employers will hire entry-level database administrators who have a two-yearassociate’sdegree in database administration, orpossibly evena certificate in database management or a relatedITsubject. Some certificates can be acquired even before or during college. And a trade association for IT professionals in training is also available for students –CompTIA Student Membership.

A number ofcertifications for database administrators are offered bysome of the biggest names in tech, likeIBM,Microsoft,and Oracle. Most of the vendor-specific certifications available are dedicated to the platforms offered by these three companies because they are by far the most popular database software producers today. Some of the certification programs for specific software frameworks include:

Oracle has multiple certifications and multiple expertise levels available for each certification. IBM also has several certifications available, primarily for the DB2, and various levels as well. Even if a current job doesn’t require knowledge of Oracle or Microsoft database programs, future opportunities may, so it’s always a good idea to expand technical horizons and enhance the resume with more certifications.

Vendor-neutral certifications, those not tied to a particular database software product, are not plentiful, but there are a few available. Some examples are:

Several colleges and technical schools also offer similar vendor-neutral database administrator certificate programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificate programs.

Step 2: Career Path

Entry-level positions are available for candidates with abachelor’sdegree, and sometimes even anassociate’sdegree or database administration certification. Sometimes called associate database administrator, these entry-level positions can kick off a career in several directions, not just database administrator. If database administration turns out to be the favored path, it can also lead to advancement into these careers:

  • information systems manager
  • computer systems analyst
  • data or database architect
  • database engineer
  • database developer
  • chief information officer

Step 3: Build a network of information technologyprofessionals

As with nearly every profession, networking among industry professionals can be an invaluable aid in building a successful career. This may be especially true in computer science professions due to the constantly changing technologies. Networking and being a member of various industry trade associations can provide countless opportunities to keep current, including conventions, seminars, and other educational offerings often afforded by such organizations. Some of the trade associations relevant to database administration include the following:

Step 4:Keep up with a changingworld

Database administratorsmust alwaysbe acquainted with the latestofinnovations in computer programming and database frameworks in order to be effective managers of data storage facilities. The abovementioned trade associations provide excellent access to advancements in technology, as will networking with other professionals. Keeping tabs on the latest announcements and product introductions from the primary database management framework providers, including IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, will mean no surprises with what’s available on the market. Professional certifications may also require period refreshing as products and technologies evolve, so it’s essential to update certifications whenever practical.


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Database Administrator Job Description

As the lead caretaker of all things database, adatabase administrator’s responsibilitieswill include the following:

  • Install, configure, troubleshoot, and maintain a databasesystem
  • Monitor and optimize system performance using index tuning, disk optimization, and othermethods
  • Perform regular tests to ensure optimal databaseperformance
  • Manage databases andpermissions
  • Replicate and backup databases to ensure data integrity ismaintained
  • Perform database mergers when a company transitions to a newsystem

Database Administrator Skills and Experience

Job openings for database administrators list requirements for applicants that typically include the following:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Analytical thinker
  • Problem solver
  • Familiarity with one or more of the following relational database frameworks
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Oracle
  • Knowledge of configuration management tools like ETL, BI, Puppet or Chef
  • Understand and formulate meaningful businessmetrics
  • Experience working with high-volume dataplatforms
  • Understand cloud storage and communicationprotocols
  • Knowledge of project management disciplines and methodology and change management
  • Experience with disaster recovery methods

Database Administrator Salary

According, the average annual salary for a database administrator is about $73,458as ofMay 2021. But experience and expanding skills can increase earning power considerably. Entry-level database administrators make an average of $56,244, while those withover two decades ofexperiencein the industryearn nearly $100,000 on average.American cities where database administrators are in higher demand and can expect to command a somewhat higher salary include New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago.

Database Administrator Outlook

According to theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrator jobs (which is often, but by no means exclusively, combined with database development into one role) are expected to grow 10% per annum between 2019 and 2029 due to the high demand for these professionals across a variety of industries.Information gathering and utilization is more than a growing trend, it’s an essential part of business survival in the 21stcentury.

Marketers and business leaders are now finding ways to garner much more information from service users and customers, especially from online venues. And the trend of amassing and leveraging more and more data is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Database administrators (DBAs) will be one of the primary beneficiaries of this voracity for information and its many advantages.


What are the steps to become a database administrator? ›

How to become a database administrator
  1. Complete your education. The minimum educational qualification required to become a database administrator is a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology. ...
  2. Get certified. ...
  3. Gain experience. ...
  4. Apply for jobs.
8 Nov 2021

What skills do I need to be a database administrator? ›

Key skills for database administrators
  • Patience.
  • Meticulous attention to detail.
  • A logical approach to work.
  • The ability to prioritise tasks.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Good organisational skills.
  • Communication and interpersonal skills.

How could you best prepare yourself for a career as a database administrator or to work with databases in your line of business? ›

How to be a database administrator
  • Earn a bachelor's degree.
  • Get work experience.
  • Learn key computer languages.
  • Master computer programs and platforms.
  • Pursue software vendor certification.
  • Create a resume.

What is the highest salary of database administrator? ›

Database Administrator DBA salary in India ranges between ₹ 5.0 Lakhs to ₹ 23.8 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 10.2 Lakhs.

How long does IT take to learn database administration? ›

Considered all together, becoming an entry-level database administrator means anywhere from two to seven years. But once you land your first database administrator job, it will take at least another three years before you'll be able to develop any sort of proficiency as a DBA.

How long does IT take to learn database? ›

It should take an average learner about two to three weeks to master the basic concepts of SQL and start working with SQL databases. But in order to start using them effectively in real-world scenarios, you'll need to become quite fluent; and that takes time.

What is entry-level database administrator? ›

An entry-level database administrator or DBA helps to maintain the security and integrity of an organization's data. They use sophisticated software to undertake these duties. As a new hire, you work as part of a team of other administrators.

Is database administration a good career? ›

Yes, database administrator is a relatively good career.

DBAs earn just over $70,000 a year, on average. Top earning DBAs yield salaries in the low six-figures. The database administration field has a good job outlook, with a 9% 10-year projected growth rate and numerous advancement opportunities.

How can I improve my database skills? ›

7 Tips for How to Finally Get Good at (and Master) SQL
  1. Make SQL Part of Your Work Day. ...
  2. Document Your SQL Learning Experience. ...
  3. Produce Reports using SQL for your business. ...
  4. Share Your SQL Knowledge with Others. ...
  5. Volunteer or Freelance on an SQL or Database Project. ...
  6. Learn SQL Early in Your Career.
1 Aug 2020

How do I become a database administrator with no experience? ›

Get professional certifications

Usually, employers require you to have at least a bachelor's degree in a closely related role. Besides having a degree, you can still enrol in short courses or write certification exams on database administration. These may give you an edge over other applicants.

How can I start a career in database? ›

Common courses include introduction to computer applications, computer networks, programming essentials, system analysis, and computer information technology. Earning an associate degree qualifies you for some entry-level positions. However, many database management careers require a bachelor's degree or higher.

Which DBA is best? ›

The best DBA certificate for SQL: Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate. The best DBA certificate for Oracle: Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional. The best DBA certificate for PostgreSQL: Certified PostgreSQL DBA (CPSDBA).

Which database administrator is best? ›

Here are details on our five best database certification picks for 2022.
  1. IBM Certified Database Administrator — DB2 12. ...
  2. Microsoft Azure. ...
  3. Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator. ...
  4. Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification. ...
  5. SAP HANA: SAP Certified Technology Associate — SAP HANA 2.0 SPS05.
3 days ago

How many hours do database administrators work? ›

Database Administrators usually work a 40-hour week, but will sometimes work overtime if there is an emergency, such as a power outage or natural disaster. Some Database Administrators may be required to be on-call. They can find full-time employment onsite and remotely.

Where do I start to learn database? ›

10 Free Courses to Learn SQL and Database using Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server
  • Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying (Udemy best course) ...
  • SQL for Data Science (Coursera Best course to Learn SQL) ...
  • SQL: The Hitch Hikers Guide To Writing SQL Queries (Udemy) ...
  • Oracle SQL: An Introduction to the most popular database.

Which database is best to learn? ›

Which is best Database for web applications In 2022?
  • The Oracle. Oracle is the most widely used commercial relational database management system, built-in assembly languages such as C, C++, and Java. ...
  • MySQL. ...
  • MS SQL Server. ...
  • PostgreSQL. ...
  • MongoDB. ...
  • IBM DB2. ...
  • Redis. ...
  • Elasticsearch.

What is the best way to learn databases? ›

Know What a Database Is and How It's Used

The best database management bootcamps are a great way to learn these skills in a short time. Other ways to learn about databases include online courses and free resources and websites. You can also start working on real projects to experience databases hands-on.

Should I learn SQL or Python? ›

Using SQL vs Python: Case Study

If someone is really looking to start their career as a developer, then they should start with SQL because it's a standard language and an easy-to-understand structure makes the developing and coding process even faster. On the other hand, Python is for skilled developers.

What should I learn first in a database? ›

My advice is that you should start with RDBMS and become proficient. Once you learn how the majority of the databases out there work, you can branch out to the new kid on the block and learn about NoSQL. Some database systems to check out: PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, and MySQL.

Is SQL enough to get a job? ›

If you're looking for your first job in data, it turns out knowing SQL is even more critical. For data analyst roles, SQL is again the most in-demand skill, listed in a whopping 61% of job posts. For data analyst roles on Indeed, SQL appears as follows: 1.7 times more than Python.

Does database administrator need coding? ›

Do database administrators need to know programming? As a database administrator, your role is not to develop software or websites, but you'll be working closely with developers. Therefore, although it's not mandatory, having programming skills could make your job easier.

How do I prepare for a database administrator interview? ›

Database Administrator Interview Questions
  1. What types of databases do you work with? ...
  2. Do you have experience with on-premises databases, cloud databases or both? ...
  3. Can you explain what ODBC is? ...
  4. What is the highest number of database servers you have worked with? ...
  5. How would you handle data loss during a database migration?

Is database administrator hard? ›

“A Database Administrator has a special responsibility for a component that is critical to the success or failure of a business: its DATA. This makes being a DBA very challenging and stressful given its many responsibilities.

Is DBA job stressful? ›

Is being a DBA stressful? Yes, of course. The responsibilities of DBAs are crucial to the success or failure of an organization or company because they work with their organization or company's data. Therefore, becoming a DBA is difficult and stressful as you will have to shoulder many responsibilities.

Where do database administrators work? ›

Many database administrators and architects work in firms that provide computer design services or in industries that have large databases, such educational institutions and insurance companies.

What are the 5 important objects of database? ›

Database objects
  • Tables.
  • Constraints.
  • Indexes.
  • Triggers.
  • Sequences.
  • Views.
  • Usage lists.

Is database easy to learn? ›

Generally speaking, SQL is an easy language to learn. If you understand programming and already know some other languages, you can learn SQL in a few weeks. If you're a beginner, completely new to programming, it can take longer.

What is the easiest database to learn? ›

SQLite, a powerful Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), is also very easy to learn and to practice simple queries. It is very essential to become familiar with the basics of the most popular SQL Databases.

Can I get a database job without a degree? ›

Is a Bachelor's Degree Necessary? Strictly speaking, no. However, very few organizations will hire a database administrator without at least a bachelor's degree in a related field, alongside some work experience. Practically all competitors for an existing DBA position will have a bachelor's degree.

Can a DBA work from home? ›

As a work from home database administrator (DBA), your job is to provide remote help and support for a storage system of digital records. In your role as a DBA, you may remotely manage the software used to store data and check for errors or problems with the database.

Is DBA worth the money? ›

DBA training may help you develop deeper knowledge than an MBA program will while opening doors to more ambitious careers in industry or academia. While MBA degrees are designed to meet the needs of 20th-century businesses, DBAs can help meet the needs of organizations today—and well into the future.

Is DBA a good career in 2022? ›

There is a huge demand for a database administrator for the immense use of Oracle DBA in the global tech market. DBA jobs are highly lucrative with a sufficient salary per annum for a skilled and knowledgeable database administrator.

Is DBA better than developer? ›

Database Administrators aren't as in demand as software developers. However, their job has a higher level of job security in it. Almost every company in all industries require some form of a database, which must be organized and managed by a database administrator according to the company's needs.

What is the main job of database administrator? ›

Database Administrators ensure that the databases run efficiently and securely. For example, they create or organize systems to store different data types, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They also make sure authorized users can access this information when needed.

How do I become a DBA in SQL? ›

How to Become a Database Administrator
  1. Decide which technology: Oracle or Microsoft (usually).
  2. Learn the SQL for that database vendor.
  3. Learn more advanced SQL and database topics.
  4. Learn about database administration.
  5. Look for junior database developer roles.
  6. Get experience as a database developer.

Which course is best for database administrator? ›

Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification

For individuals interested in working in the Oracle environment who have the necessary experience to become a database administrator, Oracle's Database SQL Certified Associate Certification is another top Oracle certification and an excellent starting point.

Is DBA job easy? ›

Yes, of course. The responsibilities of DBAs are crucial to the success or failure of an organization or company because they work with their organization or company's data. Therefore, becoming a DBA is difficult and stressful as you will have to shoulder many responsibilities.

Is coding required for DBA? ›

Do database administrators need to know programming? As a database administrator, your role is not to develop software or websites, but you'll be working closely with developers. Therefore, although it's not mandatory, having programming skills could make your job easier.

How many days IT will take to learn SQL? ›

How Long Does it Take to Learn SQL? Because SQL is a relatively simple language, learners can expect to become familiar with the basics within two to three weeks. That said, if you're planning on using SQL skills at work, you'll probably need a higher level of fluency.

How can I be good at database? ›

Database Design Best Practices
  1. Consider Every Viewpoint During Planning. ...
  2. Choose A Database Type. ...
  3. Normalize Your Data. ...
  4. Make Structures Transparent. ...
  5. Define Constraints to Maintain Data Integrity. ...
  6. Document Everything. ...
  7. Plan for Increasing Backup Time in the Build. ...
  8. Keep Privacy Primary.

How do I become a database administrator without a degree? ›

You can take courses or get certified in database programming. Additionally, many database developers learn on the job, working their way up from entry-level positions. Regardless of your education, the best way to learn the skills you need to be a database developer is to get experience working with databases.

Is IT hard to learn database? ›

Generally speaking, SQL is an easy language to learn. If you understand programming and already know some other languages, you can learn SQL in a few weeks. If you're a beginner, completely new to programming, it can take longer.

Are DBA highly paid? ›

DBAs with experience of more than ten years but less than 19 years earn around ₹ 12 lakh per year. And those with more than 20 years (or more) of experience earn an average of ₹ 11 lakh per year. As you can see, the more experience you have in this sector, the higher would be your pay.

What does DBA do all the day? ›

It's been said that the database administrator (DBA) has three basic tasks. In decreasing order of importance, they are: protect the data, protect the data, and protect the data.

Is DBA a stressful job? ›

The role of a database administrator (DBA) is gainful with a good job outlook, but the work can be extremely stressful without much recognition.


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