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Database Administrator: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a database administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements, including degree programs and job duties, to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Database administrators are responsible for company databases that store their business data. Since information storage is critical to many companies, database administrators tend to be highly trained in computer systems and are required to have a certificate or associate's degree and experience to work in this field. Some positions require a bachelor's or master's degree.

Essential Information

A database administrator ensures that an organization's databases are operational, searchable and secure. They typically have to work a normal 40-hour week in an office setting. Database administrators benefit from a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science. An associate's degree or a certificate may be sufficient with work experience.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree plus work experience at minimum; bachelor's degree preferred; master's degrees available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11%
Average Salary (2015)* $84,250

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Database Administrator

A database administrator can get by with an associate's degree or a certificate in a computer-related subject after acquiring some work experience. A certificate program lasts a year, while an associate's degree takes two years to complete.

Many employers prefer database administrators with at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. In some cases, a master's degree is required for higher-level positions. A bachelor's degree program is a 4-year program and is a prerequisite to a 2-year master's degree program. Students interested in database administration careers should major in computer science, computer engineering, mathematics, statistics, computer programming and business administration with an information systems concentration.

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Job Description

Database administrators are in charge of storing, organizing, presenting, using and analyzing data and database management software. Whatever the information storage needs of a company are, a database administrator strives to meet them. This can include setting up new computer databases or integrating data from old systems to new systems.

A database administrator regularly performs routine tests and modifications to ensure that a database is performing and running correctly. If a problem occurs, a database administrator troubleshoots the programs and hardware. Based on the findings, repairs or changes can be made to fix the problem. A database administrator routinely discusses and coordinates security measures with other administrators in the company.

Job Requirements

Database administrators have to work normal 40-hour work weeks in office settings. Additional hours may be required based on the needs of the company. Database administrators usually are required to be on call in case of any emergencies or system failures. If employed by a large organization, a database administer may need to travel to multiple sites to perform maintenance and other duties. A database administrator has to take regular work breaks. Spending an extended amount of time at a computer can cause back pain, wrist pain and eyestrain.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that database administrator jobs were predicted to grow 11% between 2014 and 2024 due to the high demand for these professionals in a variety of fields. Data administrators earned a mean annual salary of $84,250 in May 2015. The top employers for this profession were computer systems services, management companies and colleges and universities, reported the BLS.

Database administrators can expect to see faster-than-average job growth in their field from 2014-2024, per the BLS. They need to have knowledge of computer systems and programs and typically take studies in computer science, computer engineering or information systems prior to entering this field. A certificate or associate's degree and experience may be sufficient to begin a career as a database administrator, although a bachelor's or master's degree is preferred by most employers.

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