Database Administrator Vs. Network Engineer

Nov 18, 2019

Database administrators and network engineers are employed in the field of data communication. Learn about the similarities and differences between these computer-focused careers and find out their salaries and job outlooks.

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Comparing Database Administrators to Network Engineers

Database administrators oversee the computer software programs used to store, organize, and retrieve data. These programs, called databases, allow organizations like banks, universities, and government agencies to keep and use information electronically. Network engineers, also called network architects, build data communication networks. These networks function as the backbone of telecommunication by allowing separate computers to share information with one another. Both database administrators and network engineers work closely with computers, but the everyday tasks and technical skills required for the two positions differ notably. Below is helpful salary and job outlook information for both careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Pay (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Network Engineer Relevant bachelor's degree and professional experience in computer-related field $109,020 5% for all computer network architects
Database Administrator Bachelor's degree in information science or relevant field $90,070 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Database Administrators vs. Network Engineers

A database administrator oversees the day-to-day functioning of a database. Their duties involve maintaining data security, ensuring a database is operating efficiently, and planning for database maintenance and improvements. Database administrators work primarily with computer code and should be fluent in programming languages, such as Python, Java, and SQL. A network engineer deals less with the programming of a computer and more with the systems connecting separate computers. A network engineer plans, develops, and helps maintain the communication infrastructure between computers. Their duties include working with computer hardware like routers, hubs, and network bridges as well as configuring wireless or cloud-based networks. Companies offer professional certifications for both database administrators and network engineers that provide advanced expertise necessary for more specialized or senior-level positions.

Database Administrator

A database administrator, commonly abbreviated as DBA, maintains a database to ensure information is kept safe and accessible. Duties include running routine diagnostic tests to search for potential corruptions within a system. DBAs evaluate the performance of a database by assessing its current capacity and efficiency. It is important for a database administrator to prepare plans and procedures used to handle system failures or unauthorized access of a database. This process involves overseeing data backups to prevent against data loss and maintaining security measures. A database administrator also helps supervise the installation of new databases or the merging of two existing databases. DBAs must communicate with database users and adjust the database to their needs. The position requires balancing multiple responsibilities and working closely with clients and other employees.

Responsibilities of a database administrator include:

  • Documenting database performance
  • Planning for system maintenance and improvements
  • Identifying and troubleshooting errors
  • Communicating database changes to users

Network Engineer

A network engineer works on the infrastructure that allows computers to communicate electronically. Computer networks vary in size and architecture. Local-area networks (LANs) reside in small areas, such as an office building, while wide-area networks (WANs) can reach across countries through the use of fiber-optic cables and satellites. A network engineer works closely with organizations to determine which network type fits their needs. Duties involve planning and documenting the configuration of a computer network. Network engineers may also help connect separate networks and expand existing ones. Network engineers must interact regularly with clients and provide guidance to IT professionals. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are necessary for this position. Previous work experience with networks and computer systems is often required for this position.

Responsibilities of a network engineer include:

  • Planning the installation of computer hardware
  • Troubleshooting wireless or hardwired computer connection problems
  • Communicating with clients about network needs
  • Testing networks for quality assurance

Related Careers

If you find programming new software interesting and want to work with databases, you may find a career as a database engineer rewarding. Those interested in advancing the technologies related to computer systems may enjoy a career as a computer scientist.

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