Number of Jobs
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Technology Jobs||#5|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#12|
With information so readily available in this era of apps, tablets and social media, data has become the new treasure organizations must protect and cherish. More than anyone else, database administrators are relied on as the guardians of this treasure, implementing security measures to ensure sensitive data doesn't fall into the hands of unruly pirates while also managing the databases that help store and organize it. Database administrators – DBAs, for short – set up databases according to a company's needs and make sure they operate efficiently, fine-tuning, upgrading and testing modifications as needed. The job involves resolving complex issues, so attention to detail is an essential trait in this profession, as is a passion for problem-solving. Communication skills are also important since DBAs often work as part of a team with computer programmers and managers. Ongoing maintenance of a database requires being on call, and a quarter of DBAs work more than 40 hours a week. These professionals are employed in a wide range of settings in the public and private sectors, and some DBAs work as consultants to organizations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15.1 percent employment growth for database administrators between 2012 to 2022, an outlook that's promising but tempered significantly from the 30.6 percent growth projection for the industry just two years ago. Despite the scaled-back expectations, the profession's strong growth estimates and low unemployment rate helped database administrator land the No. 12 spot in our ranking of The Best Jobs of 2014.
The Labor Department reports that database administrators made a median salary of $77,080 in 2012. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $118,720, while the lowest-paid earned $42,930 that year. Some of the most highly compensated positions can be found in these industries: computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, communications equipment manufacturing and natural gas distribution. The top-paying metropolitan areas for this position are scattered throughout the country, with San Francisco, Trenton, N.J., and Washington, D.C., taking the top three spots.
Employers generally require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as computer science or management information systems, although some favor applicants with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in information systems. Database administrators are often certified for a specific database platform, such as MySQL Database Administrator, Oracle DBA and Microsoft Certified Database Administrator.
Database administrators must be savvy in the platform on which a given database operates, says Loretta Mahon Smith, former vice president of communications for DAMA International, a nonprofit association for technical and business professionals. "Colleges turn out people who can build databases from a textbook, but all the analysis and design that goes into building a database [at the business level] is hard to learn in college. These are mostly things learned on the job," she says. Obtaining a certification for the employer's platform is critical, she says.
|Upward Mobility||fair Average|
|Stress Level||poor Above Average|
Last updated by Nathan Hellman.