Hot Jobs in Tech: Database Administrator

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Fancy Yan

Database administrators (DBAs) store and organize a company’s data. This individual may also work with an information security analyst to implement the security updates recommended for the company.

As companies’ datasets grow, so does the demand for DBA roles.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15 percent employment growth by 2022 for DBAs -- faster than average. Median salaries for DBAs are $77,080 per year.

What is a Database Administrator?

Not only do they store and organize a company’s data, they also protect this data from unauthorized users.

Moreover, DBAs may handle the following tasks:

  • Creating and administering databases based on users’ needs.
  • Implementing diagnostics to ensure the database operates efficiently and properly.
  • Modifying and inspecting the database structure when needed.
  • Merging old databases with new ones.
  • Performing data backup and restoration to ensure data is not lost.
  • Securing sensitive organizational data - sometimes in communication with an information security analyst.

Most DBAs are general. But there also DBAs that specialize, as defined by the BLS:

  • System DBAs are responsible for physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. These DBAs generally have a background in system architecture. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that their firm’s database systems work properly.
  • Application DBAs support a database that has been designed for a specific application, such as a financial accounting software. Using advanced programming languages, application DBAs write as well as debug programs. They also must be able to manage aspects of the applications that work with the database.

    How to Become a Database Administrator


    Most DBAs have an undergraduate degree in computer science, database management, computer information systems (CIS), or a related field.

    Aside from a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, many employers like to hire DBAs with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

    This is because MBAs are well-versed in key business domains like accounting, marketing, management, and so on.

    Therefore, they are more adept at communicating with technical and non-technical employees and are seen as more well-rounded. This is a desirable trait for a DBA.

    Sometimes certification is required. These certifications are offered by product vendors, such as Microsoft, Oracle or Red Hat. Usually, companies require their database administrators to be certified in the product they use.

    Furthermore, experience within the IT industry is also desirable.


    Here is a detailed list of 17 skills required to be a DBA. A few of these skills include:

    • Data modeling and database design: “The DBA must possess the ability to create an efficient physical database design from a logical data model and application specifications. If the data resource management discipline has not been created, the DBA also must be responsible for data modeling, normalization, and conceptual, and logical design.”
    • Backup and recovery: “Implementing robust backup and recovery procedures is the insurance policy of the DBA.”
    • Performance management and tuning: “Dealing with performance problems is usually the biggest post-implementation nightmare faced by DBAs. As such, the DBA must be able to proactively monitor the database environment and to make changes to data structures, SQL, application logic, or the DBMS subsystem to optimize performance.”


    Database administrators are growing in demand—as mentioned at the beginning of this article, jobs in this field will grow 15 percent in the next seven years. As companies amass data, the need for these roles grows along with it.

    While formal education is usually necessary to be a DBA, the type of education can vary from computer science to IT to even people in the business fields. Meaning, this it is a position that can value a somewhat diverse background.

    DBAs must communicate with the technical and non-technical in order to accomplish most tasks. So a well-rounded communicator is a highly valued individual for this field.

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