The Skills You Need to Become a Database Administrator

By Robert Half March 7, 2017 at 8:00am

Not only does this year look bright for database administrator (DBA) jobs, but so do the coming years: The position ranked as one of the top career choices in U.S. News & World Report, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects over 11 percent job employment growth through 2024.

“The need for experts in data manipulation, reporting and integration within business units has driven demand within organizations for those with database administration skills," said Chris Mathe, branch manager of technology consulting services for Robert Half Technology in Minneapolis.

This demand for database administration skills makes it a strong career choice. Companies need administrators with a talent for storing, organizing and managing data systems — and that's driving up starting pay for the position.

Database administrator salary: projected pay to increase

A starting database administrator salary is projected to increase 3.6 percent in 2017, with pay ranging from $98,500-148,000.

Use our Salary Calculator to adjust an entry-level database administrator salary for your city.

Database administrator job description and education

Want to know what it takes to have a database administrator career? Here are the essential degrees and qualifications required:

  • A strong technical foundation in database structure, system configuration, installation and practice.
  • Knowledge and experience in major relational database languages and applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and IBM DB2.
  • At least two years of postsecondary education (or a college degree) is typically required, and certifications from Microsoft, Oracle and others are valuable.
  • Strong attention to detail and customer-service orientation, as well as the ability to work on a team.

Find out which IT certifications are most valuable.

A typical database administrator job description includes:

  • Managing, monitoring and maintaining company databases
  • Making requested changes, updates and modifications to database structure and data
  • Ensuring database integrity, stability and system availability
  • Maintaining database backup and recovery infrastructure

Wanted for the administrator job: big-picture thinkers with small-detail focus

In addition to the skills listed above, Mathe says the best DBAs are business savvy individuals and big-picture thinkers: “You need to understand what drives the demand for these services in solving business problems, not only executing IT tasks,” said Mathe. Attention to detail and a love of complex problem-solving are key traits for this career as well.

For more information on an entry-level database administrator salary and job description, and starting compensation for more than 70 IT jobs in 150 North American cities, check out our Salary Guide.

More database-related career resources:

This post has been updated to reflect more current information. It originally appeared on 1/13/14.

 

 

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