Database Administrators

Summary

database administrators image
Database administrators ensure that data are available to many different users.
Quick Facts: Database Administrators
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Job Outlook, 2020-30 $qf_outlook_html
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What Database Administrators Do

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data.

Work Environment

Many database administrators work in firms that provide computer design services or in industries that have large databases, such educational institutions and insurance companies. Almost all database administrators work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer- related subject, such as computer science.

Pay

Job Outlook

Overall employment of database administrators is projected to grow $pc.toString().replaceAll("^\-","") percent from 2020 to 2030, $gra.

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for database administrators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for database administrators.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of database administrators with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about database administrators by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Database Administrators Do

Database administrators
Database administrators ensure databases run efficiently.

Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and secure from unauthorized access.

Duties

Database administrators typically do the following:

  • Ensure that organizational data are secure
  • Back up and restore data to prevent data loss
  • Identify user needs to create and administer databases
  • Ensure that databases operate efficiently and without error
  • Make and test modifications to database structure when needed
  • Maintain databases and update permissions
  • Merge old databases into new ones

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts and other users can easily use databases to find the information they need and that systems perform as they should. Some DBAs oversee the development of new databases. They have to determine the needs of the database and who will be using it. They often monitor database performance and conduct performance-tuning support.

Many databases contain personal or financial information, making security important. Database administrators often plan security measures, making sure that data are secure from unauthorized access.

Many database administrators are general-purpose DBAs and have all of these duties. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks that vary with an organization and its needs. Two common specialties are as follows:

System DBAs are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. They typically have a background in system architecture and ensure that the firm’s database management systems work properly.

Application DBAs support a database that has been designed for a specific application or a set of applications, such as customer-service software. Using complex programming languages, they may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the applications that work with the database. They also do all the tasks of a general DBA, but only for their particular application.

Work Environment

Database administrators
Database administrators are often referred to as DBAs.

Some DBAs administer databases for retail companies that keep track of their buyers’ credit card and shipping information; others work in healthcare settings and manage patients’ medical records.

Work Schedules

Almost all database administrators work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators
Database administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science.

Database administrators (DBAs) usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject, such as computer science.

Education

Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science. Firms with large databases may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.

Database administrators need an understanding of database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, commonly called SQL. Most database systems use some variation of SQL, and a DBA will need to become familiar with whichever programming language the firm uses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is generally offered directly from software vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and best practices required from DBAs. Companies may require their database administrators to be certified in the products they use.

Advancement

Database administrators can advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. DBAs must monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must evaluate complex information that comes from a variety of sources.

Communication skills. Most database administrators work on teams and need to communicate effectively with developers, managers, and other workers.

Detail oriented. Working with databases requires an understanding of complex systems, in which a minor error can cause major problems. For example, mixing up customers’ credit card information can cause someone to be charged for a purchase he or she didn’t make.

Problem-solving skills. When database problems arise, administrators must troubleshoot and correct the problems.

Pay

Database Administrators

Median annual wages, May 2020

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

Almost all database administrators work full time.

Job Outlook

Database Administrators

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Overall employment of database administrators is projected to grow $pc.toString().replaceAll("^\-","") percent from 2020 to 2030, $gra.

About $tools.number.format('#,###',$op) openings for database administrators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment of database administrators (DBAs) is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies in all sectors of the economy. Database administrators will be needed to organize and present data in a way that makes it easy for analysts and other stakeholders to understand.

The increasing popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows database administration to be done by a third party over the Internet, could increase the employment of DBAs at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry. Employment of DBAs in this industry is projected to grow 21 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Employment of DBAs in the computer systems design and related services industry is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2028. The increasing adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses that do not have their own dedicated information technology (IT) departments could increase the employment of DBAs in establishments in this industry.

Job Prospects

Job prospects should be favorable. Database administrators are in high demand, and firms sometimes have difficulty finding qualified workers. Applicants who have experience with the latest technology should have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for database administrators, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

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15-1141 $tools.number.format($emp_current) $tools.number.format($emp_projected) $emp_percent_change $tools.number.format($emp_net_change) Get data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of database administrators.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Computer and information systems managers Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
computer network architects image Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Computer programmers Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Computer support specialists Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Computer systems analysts Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Financial analysts Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Information security analysts Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Network and computer systems administrators Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Market research analysts Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Operations research analysts Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help solve complex issues.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Software developers Software Developers

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Web developers Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Database Administrators,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm (visited July 23, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019