Job Profile: Database Administrator

What is a Database Administrator?

What is a database administrator? As technology explodes, new types of jobs are created faster than the public can follow, leaving many people perplexed by information technology job titles. A database administrator is one of many jobs created in the last few decades. These technology gurus manage company information electronically and keep data secure. Administrators typically work for corporations, although some may work for government or non-profit agencies. Computer companies, internet service providers and financial institutes employ most administrators. Database administrators may also be called DBAs, data analysts, system administrators or application administrators. All administrators work in an office environment, and almost all work at least 40 hours per week.

Degree and Training Required

Many computer-related jobs like programming or web design allow individuals to work without formal education. However, database administrators almost always have a bachelor’s degree, and some have master’s degrees. Undergraduate studies in management information systems are most common, although some administrators have degrees in other computer science fields. The most elite administrators earn a MBA with a focus on information systems or computer management. DBAs will need to learn at least one database language; the most common is SQL. Individual software companies offer certification, and some administrators will become certified after employment. Many administrators start by working as analysts or database developers. After gaining a few years of experience with databases, developers are promoted to database administrators.


The 2010 median annual salary of database administrators was $73,490 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is deceptive, because finance and computer design administrators make much more, and educational administrators make much less. Computer design, finance and insurance administrators earned over $80,000. Educational administrators earned $62,580, health care administrators earned $65,380 and government employees earned $69,320. Most DBAs are salaried workers and may be required to work more than 40 hours per week. Pay rates vary by location, experience and education. An administrator with an MBA and 20 years of experience as an administrator can command a higher salary than DBA with a bachelor’s and 2 years of work as an analyst.

Future Demand for Database Administrators

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of DBAs will grow 31 percent by 2020. Businesses are increasingly embracing the need to track and analyze customer data. More administrators are needed to manage and secure customer information. The use of electronic medical records will force healthcare institutes to use more DBAs. Administrators must keep up-to-date on the latest technology to stay competitive in the job market. A new database language may gain in popularity, and DBAs must be prepared to gain additional education. Any business that stores customer information must learn the answer to “What is a database administrator?” ensuring that the demand for DBAs will continue to grow in the future.