A database administrator, also known as a DBA, is a person who focuses on the design and management of databases for an organization. A database administrator defines, implements and manages the database software that meets an organization’s requirements, as outlined by the organization’s data administrator and systems analysts.
Rapidly changing technology requires an increasing level of skill and education on the part of aspiring database administrators. The broader the background and range of skills of a DBA, the better the career prospects.
A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for many database administration positions, although some entry-level positions can be attained with just a two-year degree. An associate degree is best for some network systems and data communication analysts, although more advanced positions might require a computer-related bachelor’s degree. Applicants with a four-year degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS) are often preferred.
One prerequisite for database administrators is knowledge of Oracle, which has become the industry standard in the database field. With Oracle training and certification, employers can be confident that the candidate possesses a solid and practical understanding of database development.
A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), with specialization in information systems is also a qualification that is high demand for database administrators.
There are a number of universities, colleges, and independent technical institutes offering online degrees in various aspects of computer science. These degree programs often have the advantage of being more practically oriented, focusing more on specific occupations and career goals than other four-year degree programs.
Database administrators work with database management systems software to manage, test, debug, and make changes according to the needs of their organization. Occasionally database administrators install software, track upgrades, develop database procedures, write programs, or perform various peripheral tasks. The responsibilities of a database administrator also involve communicating with customers and support personnel.
To excel as a data base administrator, it is important that one is familiar with various computer operating systems or platforms, including mainframes, Windows, UNIX, LINUX, and others. Moreover, database technologies are constantly evolving, requiring administrators to continue studying in order to stay up-to-date.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, database administrators should continue to enjoy favorable job prospects during the next decade. Individuals with an advanced degree in computer science, computer engineering, or who hold an MBA with a specialization in information systems are expected to enjoy very favorable employment prospects. College graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or MIS also have favorable prospects, especially if their formal education is augmented with practical experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, database administrators earn an average hourly compensation of about $29.78, with an annual salary of around $61,950. However, this is expected to increase significantly as jobs for database administrators become more complicated, demanding more skills and education.