How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators are vital for many companies today, especially larger corporations and companies that maintain a high volume of important information. Databases are technologies that are used to sort, store and access data in the most effective fashion. Most database administrators are computer specialists and programmers who are experienced in many forms of technology and who understand how databases work on the programming level. Database administrators usually make an average of $73,490 per year, and the job displays higher than average growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Database administrators often need a comprehensive education to understand database theory. Databases rely on different types of language to pull data from them, and different types of database require a different type of background. The most popular types of database today run on a structured query language, but noSQL databases are also becoming very popular among large enterprises. Database administrators also often specialize in specific types of database technology, such as OracleSQL, MSQL or MySQL technology.

What Does a Database Administrator Do?

A database administrator will usually set up, maintain and troubleshoot a database. They will also perform disaster recovery and data loss prevention. Database administrators are rarely the people who actually input data into the database. Usually data is entered into the database through an application and the task is performed by data entry clerks or other staff members. Administrators may be regularly called upon to troubleshoot issues with a database or to integrate the database with new systems.

Setting up a database is extremely important as many companies will use a database for many years before migrating to new technology. Before creating a database, a database administrator will create a detailed plan. This plan will include minimizing system resources, offering easy access to data and integrating well into an existing structure. Once the plan has actually been set up, creating a database is usually a fairly trivial process. The database will then be populated with information and the administrator will ensure that the database continues to operate as expected.

How Do You Become a Database Administrator?

Most database administrators will enter into the profession with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. Some database administrators will have an Associate’s Degree in Database Administration or a similar two-year degree program. Database administrators may also arise from programmers, systems administrators and network administrators. Most IT professionals will understand the basics of database administration, though they may not understand the intricacies required that a true database professional would.

Database administrators are considered a specialized IT field that often requires some introduction into the field, either via on-the-job training or via specialty certifications. There are certifications offered by CompTIA and Microsoft in regards to database administration, and these certifications can make it much easier for an IT professional to acquire a job within the field. Otherwise, internships and individual projects can also make it easier to apply for this type of position.

How Do You Advance as a Database Administrator?

A database administrator can eventually become a computer and information systems manager, which carries with it an average rate of pay of $115,780. Computer and information systems managers perform many similar functions to a database administrator but on a broader scope and often for larger corporations and government enterprises. Database administrators can also seek to improve their salary by working for larger companies or by moving into different industries.

A database administrator can sometimes move into the field of security analysis or computer systems analysis with additional training. These positions require some of the same skills, such as logic and patience. Software development is another field that a database administrator can sometimes go into. According to O*Net Online, computer systems analysis is one related field with a very bright outlook.

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