How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators protect critical personal and financial information from identity thieves and other cybercriminals.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Does a career as a database administrator pique your interest?

It takes a fortress to guard critical personal and financial information. Except, a knack for numbers and strong analytical skills are far more effective than stone walls at protecting digital information. Insurance companies, educational institutions, and banks often rely on databases to store these important records. If you learn how to become a database administrator, you can help to ensure that their data doesn’t end up lost or in the wrong hands.

Database administrators take on the vital role of protecting data from identity thieves and other cybercriminals. Add to that plentiful job opportunities and the potential to earn a six-figure salary, and you’re on your way to a rewarding career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrator jobs are expected to increase by 10% over the next ten years—that’s much higher than the average occupational growth rate.

Does a career as a database administrator pique your interest? If so, read on for a comprehensive guide on how to become a database administrator.

What Is a Database Administrator?

A database administrator, also called a DBA, is a professional who utilizes software to store and organize data. The role of a database administrator is to ensure that databases are secure and accessible to data analysts and other authorized users. Database administrators have extensive knowledge of database software, monitoring, troubleshooting, installation, and configuration.

What Does a Database Administrator Do?

Database administrators store and organize critical data such as financial and health records. Most database administrators take on general database tasks, but some specialize in specific areas. System DBAs, for example, handle the physical and technical aspects of databases. This often includes fixing program bugs by installing upgrades and patches. Application DBAs work with databases that have been designed for specific applications.

The typical duties of a database administrator include:

  • Ensuring the security of organizational data.
  • Preventing data loss by saving data to backup servers.
  • Ensuring that databases operate without errors.
  • Creating and administering databases based on user needs.
  • Modifying database structures when necessary.
  • Creating new databases and merging old databases into new ones.
  • Maintaining databases and allowing permissions to authorized users only.

For more information on the day-to-day duties of a DBA, check out Monster’s database administer job description sample.

Most database administrators work for computer system design services, but some are employed in educational services, businesses and enterprises, insurance companies, and data-processing services.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Becoming a database administrator is about more than just being good with numbers and spreadsheets—most database administrators hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information technology, or related fields. However, many companies with large databases look for candidates who hold master’s degrees with a heavy emphasis on data and data management. You can pursue a database administrator degree from any accredited college, either onsite or online.

To become a fully qualified database administrator, you must have knowledge of database languages such as structured query language (SQL). SQL courses are often included in undergraduate computer science programs, but SQL can also be learned individually through a college certificate program or by using online tutorials.

Secure your own financial future by checking out these database administrator scholarships. They can help you to cover the cost of your education.

Database Administrator Certification

Some companies require candidates to be certified in the programs they use. You can obtain database administrator certification directly from software vendors, including Oracle RDMS, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2, Google Cloud BigTable, and MySQL. Vendor-neutral certification providers such as the ICCP also offer database administrative certification. The specific designations offered in the ICCP program include Certified Data Professional, Certified Business Intelligence, Certified Big Data Professional, and Certified Data Scientist.

It’s always helpful to have certification in database programs, even if it’s not required by an employer. Having certification demonstrates your experience and dedication to your career.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Database Administrator?

It all depends on your current background and level of experience. Do you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or database management? If not, then it’s time to hit the books.

A bachelor’s degree will generally take four years to complete. If you plan on pursuing a master’s degree, add on another one to three years. Additionally, it can take several weeks or months to learn a specific database program and get certified in that program.

How Much Does a Database Administrator Make?

Monster data shows the median database administrator salary is $89,740 per year. Pay varies depending on where you work and your experience level. Database administrators who work in data processing and hosting services make an average of $103,930 per year, while those who work in education typically earn a salary of $75,520, according to the BLS. 

You can look up the average salary for database administrators in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.

How to Find Database Administrator Jobs

Now that you know how to become a database administrator, the next step is to show employers that you have the skills they’re looking for. See Monster’s database administrator resume sample for tips on how to maximize your chances of getting hired. The goal when writing your resume and cover letter is to demonstrate the data administrator skills and qualities that employers are looking for, including:

  • The ability to analyze complex information from a variety of sources.
  • The ability to monitor the performance of database systems and determine when to fix bugs and defects.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to work on teams.
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to address even the smallest of errors.
  • The ability to solve problems and troubleshoot database issues as they arise.

Are you ready to add your first DBA job to your resume? There are tons of database administrator jobs on Monster that might be a good fit for you.

Check out the top five states with the most database administrator jobs:

The top five U.S. metro areas with the most database administrator jobs are:

Secure Your First Database Administrator Job With Monster

So, you’ve learned how to become a database administrator. You’ve met all the certification requirements, and you’ve polished up your resume. The next step is getting the attention of employers and recruiters. Start by uploading your resume to Monster for free to get notifications for database administrator jobs and tips on how to nail your interview.