SQL Developer: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Apr 09, 2019

SQL developers, also referred to as database developers, create and maintain database applications and oversee the organizational, security and storage aspects of particular systems. Read on for more information about technical duties, academic requirements, job growth and salaries for professionals working in this highly specialized field.

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Career Definition for SQL Developers

SQL developers, also known as database developers, use a programming language and structured query language (PL/SQL) to create and maintain computer database applications. They are also responsible for organizational and security measures within specific systems, such as Oracle. SQL developers monitor stored procedures and execution time, continually striving for improvements in efficiency. Since they often merge database information from older to newer systems, SQL developers are responsible for testing and resolving any issues associated with the updated versions, which requires a familiarity with multiple versions of SQL. Most SQL developers work closely with database administrators.

Education Typically a bachelor's degree and 3-7 years of experience required
Job Skills Knowledge of Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and .NET frameworks along with SQL 2000 and 2005; communication and multitasking skills
Median Salary (2019)* $72,343 (SQL developers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)** 24% (software developers)

*Sources: Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While an associate's degree in computer science is an option, most companies prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in the same or a related field. Although not always required, professional certifications can help candidates for employment stand out in the field, and may include the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) or Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) credential. Additionally, applicants should have between three and seven years of experience in SQL developing.

Skills Required

Knowledge of Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and .NET frameworks is helpful, if not required. SQL developers should also be familiar with SQL 2000 and 2005, especially when it comes to anticipating migration needs. Professional communication skills are beneficial, as is the ability to work independently or as part of a team. SQL developers should also be effective multitaskers and have excellent time management skills.

Career and Salary Outlook

PayScale.com reports that the median annual salary for an SQL developer was $72,343, as of April 2019 (www.payscale.com). While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide employment statistics specific to SQL developers, it does report that software developers in general will see a 24%, or much faster-than-average, increase in employment prospects between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Individuals with a passion for computer science and programming may also consider the following related careers:

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists develop or enhance new and existing computing languages and technologies, including those that may be used in business, medicine or scientific studies. A bachelor's degree in computer or information science may qualify some candidates for jobs with the federal government; however, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in a computer-related field of study is normally required to obtain a research position. According to the BLS, this is a much-faster-than-average growing field, with opportunities expected to increase by 19% nationwide through 2026. In May 2017, the median annual salary for a computer or information research scientist was $114,520 (www.bls.gov).

Database Administrator

A bachelor's degree in computer or information studies, along with experience in the field, is usually sufficient to obtain a job as a database administrator. Professional responsibilities include using specialized software programs to back up, organize and secure data, including financial records. Opportunities for employment are expected to grow by a faster-than-average rate of 11% between 2016 and 2026, as reported by the BLS. Database administrators who were employed in May 2017 earned median annual salaries of $87,020 (www.bls.gov).

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