Database Administrator Job Description

Database administrators use specialized or proprietary software to organize and store their employer’s data. This includes things such as proprietary documents, employee information, customer information, and financial information. Their main priority is keeping their employer’s data safe. They have to keep up with the latest data security trends in order to do their jobs efficiently. In some cases, they may have to develop a customized database to meet the needs of their employer. Another priority of database administrators is making sure the data under their control is organized and easily usable by data analysts. Given the role data plays in today’s business environment, database administrators can find employment in virtually any industry.

Database administrator is a mid-level position that can involve supervisory duties, such as delegating basic database management tasks to lower-level IT employees. Database administrators work in a standard office environment and spend the majority of their time at a computer. They also work standard office hours. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for database administrators is set to rise 11 percent through 2026.


Database Administrator Duties and Responsibilities

Database administrators perform several duties in their quest to organize and secure their employer’s data. Some of a database administrator’s most relevant duties and responsibilities include:

Ensure Security of Organizational Data

The most important responsibility for data administrators to make sure their employer’s data is secure. This is especially important in the government and healthcare industries, as the data is extremely sensitive in nature. This requires staying on top of the latest developments in the world of hacking.

Develop and Alter Database Structures

In most cases, database administrators must develop a customized database based on the needs of their employer. This involves working with decision-makers to identify user needs and then creating a database structure based on those needs.

Regularly Back up Data and Restore Data After Data Loss

Creating a backup system of their employer’s data is one of the most important responsibilities for database administrators. They must regularly check databases to ensure the backup is up-to-date. They must also create and implement the procedure for restoring data in the case of data loss.

Create Policies and Procedures for Administering Database Environment

Database administrators are responsible for setting the “rules” of the databases they create. This involves creating the login process, user accounts for all employees, and security clearances for sensitive data.

Test and Troubleshoot Databases to Ensure Functionality

It is up to database administrators to make sure the databases they create are fully functional. This involves creating policies and procedures for regular testing and coming up with solutions when problems do arise.


Database Administrator Skills

Database administrators need technical skills to succeed, although a few soft skills are also needed. Database administrators have to be experts in the principles of information systems and be fluent in structured query language (SQL) in order to create customized databases. They also have to have knowledge of Transact-SQL and PSM to create databases. Creating and maintaining databases takes a person with an above average ability to focus and a strong eye for detail. It also requires problem-solving ability and an analytical mind. In addition to these qualities, database administrators must have the following skills to get a job:

  • Using problem-solving skills to solve database malfunctions
  • Creating security protocol using knowledge of information security
  • Collaborating with decision-makers and database users to address user and management needs in database updates
  • Using organizational skills and keen eye for detail to maintain up-to-date data backups


Database Administrator Tools of the Trade

  • Structured Query Language (SQL) – database administrators use structured query language to physically create databases


Database Administrator Education and Training

It is possible to obtain employment as a database administrator with an associate’s degree in computer science, information systems, or a related degree, but most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in one of those fields. Those who want to advance to senior database administrator and beyond typically have their master’s degree in information systems or database management. Certifications aren’t necessary to find employment, but they are available from specific software developers like Microsoft.


Database Administrator Salary

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for database administrators is $84,950. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $47,300 and those in the top 10 percent make above 129,930. Those who make in the six figures have their master’s degree and years of experience.


Database Administrator Resources

Are you interested in learning more about the career path of database administrator? If so, check out the list of resources below.

IEEE Computer Society – The IEEE Computer Society is a professional organization for computing professionals, including database administrators. This organization is a subsidiary of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Its website is updated consistently with news on happenings within the computing industry.

DAMA International – DAMA International is a global data management community with chapters all over the world. Its website has multiple resources for members, and its Certified Data Management Professional certification is highly sought after.

Database JournalDatabase Journal is updated 3 to 5 times a week with the latest trends in database management. It also contains several tutorials geared towards database administrators.

Planet MySQL – Planet MySQL is a website dedicated to all things structured query language. It is an excellent resource for aspiring and practicing database administrators alike.

Database Administration: The Complete Guide to DBA Practices and Procedures – This book includes everything one needs to know about database administration in the 21st century. It covers topics such as data integrity, data modeling, security, creating database environments, data and storage management, metadata, and more. It is a suggested read for those just getting started as database administrators.


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