Database administrators are IT professionals who specialize in storing, protecting and distributing electronic information. They have an important role in many sectors of the U.S. economy and can be found in such diverse industries as healthcare, finance and retail.
With Big Data becoming ever-more prominent, the need for cybersecurity expertise also is increasing in public and private enterprises. Because database administrators, commonly known as DBAs, play a crucial part in protecting the nation’s security and economic well being, demand for their specialized skills is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years.
Job Outlook for Database Administrators
Employment opportunities for database administrators are projected to increase by 11% nationwide from 2014 to 2024, faster than average for all occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that increasing data needs across all sectors will drive growth. Database administrators may find opportunities in cloud computring firms, as database-as-a-service becomes more popular. Employment is projected to grow 7% in healthcare, reflecting the increased use of electronic medical and health records.
DBAs should also remain in high demand in the information, computer systems and design, education, and finance and insurance industries. The BLS anticipates prospects will be strongest for database administrators with training and certification in the latest technologies.
Job Duties for Database Administrators
The duties of database administrators may vary based on the employer or industry, but, in general, they are responsible for the design, implementation, maintenance and modification of data systems. They build databases in accordance with employer and user needs, often working closely with data analysts to ensure users can access information easily and securely.
Performance issues and system errors also are fielded by database administrators, who may merge networks, develop software and purchase hardware. Additionally, DBAs may train employees and liaise with managers.
Some of these professionals focus on specific aspects of information management, such as systems or applications, the BLS notes. Systems database administrators typically oversee technical issues, while applications DBAs handle programming and software-related tasks.
Salary Potential for Database Administrators
As of May 2016, the nationwide median salary for database administrators was $84,950, according to a BLS survey. Those employed in the securities and commodities exchanges sector had the highest average earnings, at $114,280 a year. Potential salary ranges, as well as employment opportunities, are affected by numerous factors, including local market conditions and a job candidate’s educational qualifications and work history.
Education and Training for Database Administrators
It’s common for database administrators to begin their careers as database developers or data analysts, according to the BLS. A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is typically the minimum educational requirement. However, larger companies may call for DBAs to have a graduate degree. Core coursework in systems design and analysis, business technology and software, network design and operation, and information systems analysis can be beneficial.
Industry certification is available in various specialty areas, including Certified Data Management Professional, Data Governance & Stewardship Professional, and Certified Computing Professional.