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Program ResourcesWhat is a Database Administrator?

Those who are analytical, detail oriented, tech savvy and passionate about organization may find themselves well-suited to pursue a career as a database administrator. Database administrators are hired to organize a company or organization’s financial or customer information. They make sure that a company’s database operates correctly and routinely perform the following duties:

  • Auditing data to guarantee new data comes from reliable sources
  • Suggesting and testing modifications to the structure of the database
  • Maintaining the database and updating user permissions
  • Merging old databases into new ones
  • Identifying company needs and suggesting improvements
  • Carrying out regular backups

Most database administrators work full time for computer systems design firms and related businesses, such as internet service providers. Insurance companies and banks, which typically keep large amounts of personal and financial customer data, also employ in-house database administrators. Retail companies and health care firms are two additional examples of workplaces where database administrators may find potential employment. Database administrators can expect to work in an office environment; a 40-hour workweek is typical, but as with all jobs, sometimes more hours are required to complete projects or manage emergencies.

Career Growth

Jobs for database administrators are projected to grow 11 percent by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This faster-than-average growth is attributed to the increased need for qualified data management employees across all industries. Good database managers establish job security when they can pull, organize and present data in a way that makes sense to analysts and stakeholders.

Some companies employ database administrators on a third-party or contract basis, much like they would hire a public relations firm to manage communication. The employment of database administrators in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow exponentially — 26 percent by 2024. Applicants with knowledge of the latest technology will be the most employable.

Salary Potential

While the salaries for database administrators vary based on experience, location and industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage is $81,710. It’s common for database administrators to advance into roles as computer and information systems managers.

Education Required

Some companies require database administrators to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Companies and organizations with large databases may seek candidates who hold a master’s degree with a focus on database management in areas such as computer science, information systems or information technology. It is important for database administrators to know the language of the trade — SQL (structured query language) is the most commonly used. Strong database administrators are able to adapt to whatever language their company prefers.