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Database Administrator

Job Outlook: 9% (Faster than average)

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What Database Administrators and Architects Do About this section

Database administrators
Database administrators ensure databases run efficiently.

Database administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure a variety of data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They also make sure that the data are available to authorized users.

Duties

Database administrators and architects typically do the following:

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

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts and other users can easily use databases to find the information they need. They also ensure that systems perform as they should by monitoring database operation and providing support.

Many databases contain personal, proprietary, or financial information. Database administrators often are responsible for planning security measures to protect this important information.

Database architects design and build new databases for systems and applications. They research the technical requirements of an organization during the design phase and then create models for building the database. Finally, they code new data architecture, integrating existing databases or infrastructure, and check for errors or inefficiencies.

The duties of database administrators and database architects may overlap. For example, administrators and architects may be generalists who work on both systems and applications. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks, such as maintenance, 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 ensure that the firm’s database management systems work properly.

Application DBAs do all the tasks of a general DBA focusing solely on a database for a specific application or set of applications, such as customer-service software. They may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the applications that work with the database.

Work Environment About this section

Database administrators
Database administrators are often referred to as DBAs.

Database administrators and architects held about 168,000 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of database administrators and architects were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 13%
Educational services; state, local, and private 6
Management of companies and enterprises 6
Insurance carriers and related activities 6
Data processing, hosting, and related services 3

Database administrators and architects work in nearly all industries. For example, in retail they may design databases that track buyers’ shipping information; in healthcare, they may manage databases that secure patients’ medical records.

Work Schedules

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator or Architect About this section

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

Database administrators (DBAs) and architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field.

Education

Database administrators and architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as engineering; some DBAs study business. Employers may prefer to hire 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 and architects need an understanding of database languages, such as Structured Query Language, or SQL. DBAs will need to become familiar with whichever programming language their firm uses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is typically offered directly from software vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. Employers may require their database administrators and architects to be certified in the products they use.

Advancement

Database administrators and architects may advance to become computer and information systems managers. Experienced database administrators may advance to become database architects.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. DBAs monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must evaluate information from a variety of sources to decide on an approach.

Communication skills. Most database administrators and architects work on teams and need to convey information effectively to 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.

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

Pay About this section

Database Administrators and Architects

Median annual wages, May 2020

Database administrators and architects

$98,860

Computer occupations

$91,250

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for database administrators and architects was $98,860 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $155,660.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for database administrators and architects in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Data processing, hosting, and related services $108,520
Computer systems design and related services 106,260
Insurance carriers and related activities 105,570
Management of companies and enterprises 103,550
Educational services; state, local, and private 78,890

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Database Administrators and Architects

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Computer occupations

13%

Database administrators and architects

8%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 13,900 openings for database administrators and architects 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 growth will be driven by the increased data needs of companies in nearly all sectors of the economy. Database administrators and architects will be needed to organize data and present information to stakeholders in a user-friendly format.

The increasing popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows third parties to do database administration online, is expected to increase employment of these workers at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry.

Employment of database administrators and architects in the computer systems design and related services industry also is projected to grow. The continued adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses that do not have their own dedicated information technology (IT) departments is expected to increase the employment of database administrators and architects in this industry.

Employment projections data for database administrators and architects, 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

Database administrators and architects

15-1245 168,000 181,200 8 13,200 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about database administrators and architects, visit

Association for Computing Machinery

Computing Research Association

IEEE Computer Society

For more information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

CareerOneStop

For a career video on database administrators and architects, visit

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O*NET

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