A Database Administrator

Database administrators play a key role in modern organizations. Almost every organization relies on data processing from a small to large scale. A database administrator (DBA) monitors the entire life cycle of data.

Database administrators sit in the information technology team and are responsible for overseeing the flow, management, and use of data. They work alongside or absorb the tasks of database designers and database developers to provide data and computer systems design and related services for an organization.

If you want to become a database administrator, you’ll be happy to know that you can achieve your dream in just four years, or less if you choose not to take a bachelor’s degree. In this article, you will learn the best educational pathways and work experience for aspiring database administrators.

So is becoming a database administrator a good career choice in 2023? Just take a look at the job growth and salary expectations for the field:

  • In 2020, the median database administrator salary was $98,860, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • BLS reports that database administrator positions are rising six percent faster than the national average for all occupations
  • Between 2021 and 2029 database administrator positions are expected to surge by 10 percent
  • There will be an estimated 145,300 database administrator jobs in the US by 2029
What Is Database Administration

What Is Database Administration?

Database administration is the management of an organization’s data using database management systems. Database administrators use these systems to monitor all the data that flows through an organization. They also make sure data can be easily analyzed and used to generate actionable insights.

The type of data that goes through an organization includes financial, personnel, and customer information. An essential part of database administration nowadays is to make sure no unauthorized party gains access to an organization’s data.

What Do Database Administrators Do?

A database administrator’s main responsibilities revolve around managing data and database systems. Although tasks and duties differ depending on the specific industry and company you work for, database administrators essentially act as the gatekeepers of database management systems.

Database administrators have extensive knowledge of the business’ goals and objectives. They use this knowledge to plan and allocate specific database systems that can handle the workload. When necessary, they recommend updates or replace database management systems. The goal is to provide the most efficient system to increase productivity.

Database Administrator Job Description

Database administrators help an organization store, manage, and analyze data. For example, they may be tasked with creating reports from the database such as financial reports. In this way, they have a key role in a company’s decision-making.

A big part of the role is making sure that database systems are secure. They set the parameters for accessing the data, such as how users log in. They also monitor and test the system to ensure there are no glitches.

It also falls on the database administrator to back up all essential company data for quick and easy recovery in case information gets lost. This may involve backing up server files on cloud storage or backing up server files on a separate server. They are also responsible for ensuring that the database management system is up to date and properly licensed.

Database administrators take the lead when the company migrates from one database system to another, ensuring that no data is damaged or lost in the process. They also provide technical support and training to other staff members when necessary.

What Are the Required Skills for Database Administrator Careers?

A database administrator needs a unique set of skills to thrive in the field. You’ll need to be highly organized and have good attention to detail. You’ll also need to gain specific technical skills to be able to manage and present data. Below are some of the essential database administrator skills.

Database Schema Management

The database schema can be compared to the blueprint of a database. The schema varies from company to company. It is one of the core subjects that you will need to have an advanced understanding of to work in the field.

Data Security

It’s not enough to know how to manipulate data, you also need to keep it secure. If you are responsible for an organization’s data, you need to make sure that only authorized users have access. Even within the organization, you should be able to grant data access based on different clearance levels.

Data Modeling

Data modeling is the creation of a visual representation of data to make it easier for people to understand. You will learn how to model structured and unstructured data either as a whole or in parts. A few common types of data modeling are physical data models, conceptual models, relation techniques, and hierarchical techniques.

Metadata Management

The entire database management system relies on metadata. Metadata gives meaning to large chunks of data. You should know how to collect, manage, and store metadata so it can be used to tag and track the information on the database.

Data Integrity

A compromised database can put a company at risk. As a database administrator, you will have to make sure that only accurate data remains within the system. Database administrators protect the integrity of data by deploying things like database triggers, check constraints, and referential integrity.

How Much Do Database Administrators Make

How Much Do Database
Administrators Make?

The average database administrator makes $98,860, according to BLS. This is well above the national average for all occupations of $56,310. The salary varies by location. It also depends on things such as work experience, qualifications, and professional certifications.

The table below contains data on the average salary of database administrators in different parts of the US. The data was found on Payscale and is subject to change.

City Average Salary
San Francisco, CA $94,500
Dallas, TX $90,059
Minneapolis, MN $85,514
Atlanta, GA $85,160
Milwaukee, WI $83,380
Boston, MA $81,114
Chicago, IL $81,052
New York, NY $80,356
Philadelphia, PA $79,610
Phoenix, AZ $79,096
Seattle, WA $76,767
Los Angeles, CA $74,099
Miami, FL $66,486
Cleveland, OH $65,553
Portland, OR $55,000

Experience also affects salary and compensation. An entry-level database professional will earn much less than someone with 20 years of experience. The table below shows the average for different stages of your career in database administration.

Position Salary
Entry-Level (0-5 Years) $56,022
Mid-Career (5-10 Years) $63,367
Experienced (10-20 Years) $89,263
Late-Career (20+ Years) $98,710

Database Administration Technologies and
Coding Languages

SQL Programming Language

Structured Query Language (SQL), a domain-specific language, is the backbone of database administration. It is used to manage data in a relational database management system. It is also vital for data streaming.

Typically, the data programmer is in charge of writing the SQL programs. However, a database administrator might be responsible if there is a problem along the way. So, it makes sense for database administrators to understand SQL. You can pick up SQL quickly with one of the best SQL boot camps.

C# Programming Language

The most common use of C#, and all the other languages in the C suite, is cross-platform app development. However, C# can be used to create high-performance applications for relational databases. C# is a popular programming language to learn for those working in data-related careers.

Python Programming Language

Python is one of the most common languages learned today. Python can be used to program database management systems thanks to the Python database API. Once you learn Python, you can establish a connection to any database and complete projects quickly and efficiently. One of the best databases to connect to Python is SQLite Python.

How Can You Become a Database

To become a database administrator you’ll need some education and experience in the field. You can get your education through both traditional and non-traditional routes, depending on your circumstances and goals. Below are the most popular learning paths for aspiring database administrators.

Database Administrator Learning Paths

Data Science Bootcamps

Data science boot camps teach you SQL, Python, and many other technologies you need to succeed as both a data scientist and a database administrator. You can learn the fundamentals of data science in three to 12 months, depending on the data science boot camp you choose.

The curricula are rigorous because of the fast-paced learning style. Bootcamps are becoming increasingly popular and accepted among top tech companies. They provide affordable alternatives to traditional universities. Bootcamps also provide job assistance and career services to help you find a rewarding career immediately after graduation.


You can get a two-year database administration degree from a community college. This associate degree usually requires 60 credits to complete. You can use the degree to secure an entry-level position in database management.

Alternatively, a four-year college experience will give you the chance to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration. This is the most expensive and lengthiest education path. If you already have an associate degree, many universities allow students to transfer their credits and complete a bachelor’s degree in only two years.

Schools like the University of Maine at Augusta, Colorado State University (Global Campus), and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell allow students to earn database administration degrees online.


If you don’t have the funds to pursue a formal education, you can teach yourself how to become a database administrator. There are several online resources at your disposal. With self-paced learning, there is no timeline for completing your education.

Many bootcamps and massive open online course (MOOC) learning platforms offer self-paced, often free resources to help you learn on your own. Note that it might be more difficult to convince prospective employers of your skills as a database administrator if you don’t have a formal education, so it’s a good idea to also do some work experience.

What Companies Are Hiring Database Administrators?

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, Oracle, and Cisco are among the top companies that hire database administrators. Any company that relies on database management systems needs database administration experts to ensure a smooth and efficient flow of data while maintaining security.

As a database administrator, you’re not restricted to the tech industry. You can work in insurance, hospitality, healthcare, supply chain management, food manufacturing, and finance.

Database Administration FAQ

What are the two types of integrity rules in database management systems?

The two types of integrity implemented by database administrators are entity integrity and referential integrity.

What exactly is a database and a database management system?

A database is an organized collection of data that is accumulated over time. A database management system is a software and hardware solution used to organize, secure, and maintain databases.

What is data redundancy in database administration?

This is a term used to describe the duplication of data in one database management system. Database administrators must get rid of redundancies to avoid wastage. Redundancies may also lead to compromised data integrity.

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