A database administrator is a trained professional who is in charge of the data, such as customer records, employee records and financial information in a business. DBAs enter, store, retrieve and organize data and ensure it’s secure at all times. They create, administer and maintain databases and also back up and restore data to make sure it’s not lost. If the database needs any modifications, they are the ones who take care of this. They also may do some computer programming as part of their job. The database administrator also makes sure the other users have access to certain data and makes sure there is no unauthorized use. DBAs may specialize in being system DBAs or application DBAs.
How to Become a Database Administrator
To become a database administrator, an individual should have at least a bachelor’s degree in information, computer science or a related field. DBAs working for large corporations may be required to have master’s degrees in information systems, computer science or information technology with a concentration in data or database management. A database administrator must have a strong knowledge of database languages, such as Structured Query Language or SQL. U.S. News & World Report ranks database administrators as No. 7 among best technology jobs, No. 14 among best STEM jobs, and No. 96 among the best jobs.
Employment Outlook for DBAs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that DBAs should see some positive job growth, although job growth varies depending on the kind of DBA and the job sector and industry. The BLS predicts that DBAs overall should see an employment growth of 11 percent during the decade of 2016-2026. DBAs working with cloud computing is predicted to see a job growth of 17 percent, while those working in the computer systems design industry should see a growth of 20 percent.
Salary Potential for a Database Administrator
DBAs earned average annual wages of $89,050, according to a May 2017 wage report by the BLS. Those in the lowest 10 percent earned about $48,480, and those in the top 90 percent earned $132,420. Wages can vary by different factors, such as degree level, years of experience, industry worked and geographic location. Here are the states where the highest wages are earned by DBAs as well as the wages as of 2017:
- New Jersey – $106,390
- Washington – $98,120
- Connecticut – $97,670
- Virginia – $97,050
- District of Columbia – $97,030
Below are the states with the lowest wages for DBAs.
- Montana – $60,600
- Idaho – $61,430
- Wyoming – $61,850
- West Virginia – $66,230
- Mississippi – $71,280
In many cases, location plays the biggest part in determining wages. This can be easily seen by comparing the wages in Montana with the wages in New Jersey.
Regardless where a database administrator chooses to work, the wages are good, especially when compared to many other computer-based occupations. Combining potential wages with the good employment outlook for a database administrator makes database administration a very attractive career.