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How to Get a Job as a 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.

Interview Questions Submitted by Real Database Administrators

"How do you check and correct database corruption?" - Database Administrator Candidate (Location Unknown)

"Explain clustering vs. replication differences." - Agilone Database Administrator Candidate (Location Unknown)

"You have 10 tables that are truncated at the end of every day. They all grow simultaneously throughout the day. How do you avoid fragmentation problems?" - Two Sigma Database Administrator Candidate (New York, NY)

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average

What is the Job Like?

Database administrators support multiple projects, so you'll need to be comfortable working independently as well as on a team. "You must be very good at multitasking, you need to have a strong attention to detail and good time-management skills," says Mahon Smith. Database administrators typically work in offices, often spending long periods of time in front of a computer. A 40-hour work week is standard, but deadlines may require occasional evening or weekend work.

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Last updated by Nathan Hellman.

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