What Does a Database Administrator Do?
Companies that want to better understand their customers use database science to do it. A database administrator (DBA) is the magician who makes that possible.
A database administrator uses specialized software to develop, store and organize a company's data. The data often includes sensitive information, such as confidential financial numbers or proprietary information. A database administrator, also called a database manager, makes sure the data is available to approved users yet secure from unauthorized access or data corruption.
A DBA typically works with an organization’s management team to understand the company’s data needs and what the database will do. This in-demand role is needed in any work setting that requires a large, secure database, but a DBA is standard in the banking, insurance, retail and healthcare industries.
Many database administrators handle a wide variety of duties, while others specialize. For example, database architects design and create new databases. System DBAs focus on the physical elements of a database, installing upgrades and making sure there are no bugs. Application DBAs focus on a database used for a singular purpose and make sure that all database elements and applications work properly.
Keep reading to learn more about this opportunity-rich career.
- Identify user requirements for a database
- Install and update database software and servers
- Keep sensitive data secure
- Manage database access and permissions
- Maintain, test and back up the database
- Create documentation for users
- Monitor archive storage space
- Merge databases when necessary
- Work with users to identify issues
- May design new databases
How To Become a Database Administrator: FAQs
Database administrator requirements: What steps do I take to get this job?
After getting your high school diploma or equivalent, think about which training path you should take.
Many employers look for a bachelor's degree in database administration, information technology, computer science, computer engineering or a related field. However, it is also possible to earn a certificate or associate degree, become an IT support specialist, software developer or other role and learn database administration skills on the job.
The path to the job will be influenced by the size of the company, the company’s stance on degrees and the amount of cross-training the company supports.
Database administrator training programs will include classes and hands-on training in database management, troubleshooting, database queries, data science, data privacy, cybersecurity, cloud database management systems, HTML and the database language Structured Query Language (SQL).
Some programs may include business skills, since successful database managers may have a leadership role the company. Some programs include internships.
Are there any other qualifications I need to consider?
Most companies require database administrator certification either from a specific software vendor, such as Microsoft or IBM, or a certification provider. Certifications can cover any aspect of the system, from operating systems such as UNIX or Linux to relational database frameworks such as Oracle.
Database manager networking groups are a smart way to make connections and keep up with technology trends.
What’s the database administrator job outlook?
The job outlook is stable and promising, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts job growth of 9% from 2021 to 2031. That translates into about 11,500 openings each year over the decade.
What qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
Successful database administrators tend to share these traits:
- Excellent communication skills
- Excellent analytical skills
- An eye for detail
- Creative at problem-solving
- A keen understanding of business strategy
If you’re naturally drawn to technology and communicate well, becoming a database administrator is a smart move. For more insights from someone who has done the job, watch this video of a DBA on why this job is so important.
This is a growing, well-paying career that can open the door to many opportunities in different industries. To get started, check out training opportunities near you!