(8.0 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||33,900|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Technology Jobs||#2|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#6|
Databases provide the backbone of many software applications. And behind those databases are people with a talent for storing, organizing, and managing data. 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. They are also responsible for implementing security measures to safeguard the company's most sensitive data. 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, as DBAs often work as part of a team with computer programmers and managers. Ongoing maintenance of a database frequently 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 sometimes work as consultants.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 30.6 percent employment growth for database administrators between 2010 and 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. During that time period, about 33,900 jobs will need to be filled. The profession's strong expected growth helped boost database administrator to the No. 6 spot in our ranking of The Best Jobs of 2013.
The Labor Department reports that database administrators made a median salary of $75,190 in 2011. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $116,870, while the lowest-paid earned $42,360 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 clustered around San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., as well as Trenton-Ewing, N.J.
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, 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.
|Stress Level||Above Average|