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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 held about 91,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of database administrators were as follows:

Finance and insurance 13%
Computer systems design and related services 13
Information 12
Educational services; state, local, and private 9
Management of companies and enterprises 7

Database architects held about 52,700 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of database architects were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 29%
Finance and insurance 13
Management of companies and enterprises 7
Administrative and support services 6
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 5

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 2021

Database architects

$123,430

Database administrators and architects

$101,000

Computer occupations

$97,430

Database administrators

$96,710

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

The median annual wage for database administrators was $96,710 in May 2021. 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 $48,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $151,400.

The median annual wage for database architects was $123,430 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $63,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $169,500.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for database administrators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance $102,930
Management of companies and enterprises 101,400
Computer systems design and related services 101,000
Information 99,340
Educational services; state, local, and private 77,340

In May 2021, the median annual wages for database architects in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Administrative and support services $127,690
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 127,690
Finance and insurance 127,240
Management of companies and enterprises 126,900
Computer systems design and related services 116,160

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Database Administrators and Architects

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Computer occupations

15%

Database architects

10%

Database administrators and architects

9%

Database administrators

8%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Overall employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 11,500 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 continued data needs of companies in nearly all sectors of the economy. Database administrators and database architects will be needed to organize and present information to stakeholders in a user-friendly format. As organizations continue to migrate to cloud environments, these administrators and architects will be critical to ensuring proper database design, transition, backup, and security and to ensuring that connections to legacy systems remain intact.

Employment projections data for database administrators and architects, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Database administrators and architects

144,500 157,300 9 12,800

Database administrators

15-1242 91,800 99,200 8 7,400 Get data

Database architects

15-1243 52,700 58,100 10 5,400 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

Database Architects

O*NET

Data Warehousing Specialists

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