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Database Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Specific day-to-day job duties for database engineers vary based on employer. However, the core duties for database engineers are the same across all companies:

Write and Maintain Database Programs Database engineers write new database programs and maintain existing programs to ensure they can handle the flow of traffic and the amount of data being stored in the database.

Design New Databases Database engineers design new databases based on company needs, data storage needs, and the number of users accessing the database.

Monitor Databases and Programs Database engineers continuously monitor databases and related systems to ensure high functionality.

Write Programs and Scripts Database engineers write new support programs and scripts for databases to increase data storage capacity and fix existing database problems.

Troubleshooting Database engineers troubleshoot database code, checking for potential problems that affect database functionality and related database programs.

Debugging Database engineers look through coding language to debug existing database scripts and programs.

Review Database Reports Database engineers review daily, weekly, and monthly database reports, including user reports and systems information, to spot problems and ensure that all databases and support systems are working at peak levels.


Database Engineer Skills and Qualifications

Database engineers know a variety of computer programming languages and work quickly to spot and solve problems. Employers look for database engineers who possess the necessary skills needed to perform all aspects of the job:
  • Computer coding - database engineers write and review computer codes to design high-functioning database systems, support programs, and to debug systems
  • Problem-solving - database engineers look for potential problems in the database, and work to solve these issues before and after they occur
  • Attention to detail - to comb through lines of code to spot potential error-causing problems and possible database security and storage capacity issues
  • Programming languages - database engineers know how to write in several common programming languages, including Python and Java

Database Engineer Education and Training

Employers require database engineers to have a bachelor's degree or master's in computer science, software engineering, or a related field of study. Many employers also seek out database engineers who have at least five years' previous work experience in database development. Database engineers who possess extra education, such as a master's degree, can substitute education for work experience. Database engineers receive little to no training after being hired, as they have already acquired the necessary education and skills to perform their daily job tasks. However, most companies will provide a brief orientation period to help them become familiar with company systems and other employees. This orientation typically lasts less than one week.

Database Engineer Salary and Outlook

According to information compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earned an annual median pay of $102,280 in 2016, or $49 an hour. Database engineers are a specialized branch of software developer and perform many of the same job tasks. In 2016, there were more than 1.2 million jobs for software developers of all types, a number that is rising much faster than the national job growth rate. The BLS estimates that jobs for software developers will grow by 24 percent from 2016 to 2026. Most companies provide full benefits packages to database engineers that include health, dental, vision, and life insurance coverage for employees and family members. Retirement benefits are also standard. Database engineers earn vacation days and paid sick days after being employed by the same company for a set period of time, usually one year.

Helpful Resources

Use these helpful resources for database engineers to learn tips and strategies for success, find career and networking opportunities, and discover ways to advance through promotion:

Database System Concepts - Learn the fundamentals of managing databases, data structure, and computer organization in this book, an educational textbook for senior undergraduate and first-year graduate database engineering students.

International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology - IACSIT provides professionals in all computer science fields, including database engineers, with news updates, educational resources, information about upcoming conferences, and resources for professional societies which provide career networking opportunities.

Database Reliability Engineering: Designing and Operating Resilient Database Systems - This book provides practical database engineering solutions for crafting and maintaining databases and related systems. The text covers key aspects of database engineering, including creating and managing programs for data storage and retrieval.

Association for Computing Machinery - Find educational tools, computing publications, upcoming conferences, and frequently-updated content for computing professionals of all types, including database engineers, at the ACM website.

Database Systems: Design, Implementation, & Management - This book is written in simple, straightforward language to help database engineers understand how to manage, design, and implement database systems. Along with text, this book contains comprehensive diagrams, illustrations, and tables for database engineers of all skill levels.

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