How To Become a Database Administrator

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 14, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Tech
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Choosing the right career isn’t easy. But, if you love to solve problems and work in IT, becoming a database administrator might be for you. Let’s look at the job duties and how to become a database administrator.

How To Become a Database Administrator

Job Duties of a Database Administrator

The main job duty for any database administrator is storing, managing, and organizing data. This may include financial information and customer records. In addition, as a data administrator, you will likely oversee the security of the data and the access.

Some of the common job duties of database administrators include:

These job duties will become a part of your routine if you become a database administrator.

How to Become a Database Administrator in 7 Steps

Step #1 – Finish High School

If you want to become a database administrator, you need to finish high school or an equivalent. Take as many AP courses as you can and do well. Finish with a high GPA and a high score on the SAT or ACT. The right SAT or ACT prep course can help.

You want to make sure you can get into a good college. Doing well in high school is the first step toward any career requiring a bachelor’s degree. The degree program you get into can set you up for success later in life.

Step #2 – Get Your Bachelor’s Degree

Choosing a top bachelor’s degree program and getting admitted is the next step. You want to get a degree in computer science or information technology. These are the two top majors for database administration.

The top database administration degree programs include:

All of these college and university choices offer a high reputation for computer science and information technology degrees.

Step #3 – Attend Coding Bootcamps

While a bachelor’s degree is important and preferred by many employers, it’s not a necessary step. You can learn database administration through coding boot camps specializing in data science. You can also learn the necessary skills through self-study.

With coding boot camps, you can learn the necessary skills to thrive in this type of career. You won’t need to spend four years taking college courses and piling up student loans. Instead, you can focus on data administration skills and still enjoy a great career.

Large employers, such as Oracle, Uber, Amazon, Cisco, and Google, hire coding boot camp graduates. While boot camps and self-study are great ways to learn database administration, many employers still prefer a degree.

However, the best database administrators will likely have both a degree and have completed coding boot camps. A degree teaching you all about algorithms and data storage. Coding boot camps teach you many practical skills you can use immediately. Combining the two can give you a killer resume helping you to land the best job opportunities.

Some of the top coding boot camps for database administrators include:

Many of these programs are offered online and in person. These are fast-paced programs requiring you to put in the work. You will need to be self-motivated if you want to succeed in a boot camp.

Step #4 – Master the Right Computer Platforms and Programs

As a database administrator, you will need to master the right programs and platforms. Online courses can help you learn the necessary skills. Some of the main programs to focus on include Oracle, UNIX, Linux, and Microsoft Access.

Adding these skills to your resume can help you land the job interview. Many employers want database administrators with the right skills to do the job starting on day one.

Step #5 – Get Software Certifications

Along with mastering the right computer programs and platforms, you can gain software certifications. These certifications will help add even more skills to your resume.

The software vendor offers most certifications. THE TOP CHOICES ARE the IBM Certified Database Administrator, Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate, and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate credentials.

Step #6 – Work as a Database Analyst or Developer

Most database administrators will start as database analysts or database developers. These career options allow you to gain experience before moving into a higher position.

As a database developer, you will design and implement database technologies. You will also analyze the efficiency of the database and collect information for the database.

If you work as a database analyst, you will analyze the data found in the database. Both of these careers will require a bachelor’s degree. It’s common to earn many certifications while working as a database analyst or database developer.

Step #7 – Get Your Master’s Degree

While you don’t need a master’s degree to work as a database administrator, it can help. Larger firms prefer to hire managers with a master’s degree. If you want to gain access to the best advancement opportunities, getting a master’s degree is a good idea.

Most master’s degree programs will be available for database management or database technologies. You will study several topics, including:

With a master’s degree, you can apply for higher-level positions in the IT department.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Database Administrator

What is the average annual salary of a database administrator?

If you decide to become a database administrator, you can enjoy an average annual salary of nearly $93K. Some companies and locations pay much higher salaries, however. Top database administrators can make as much as $160K per year. Your location, experience level, and employer will determine your actual salary.

The salary for a database administrator can range from $32K to about $183K per year. New York City, Washington D.C., and Dallas all have higher than average salaries for database administrators. All three cities pay, on average, more than $100K per year.

Certain skills can also help you earn more as a database administrator. The top skills earning database administrators a higher salary include:

If you have any or all of these skills, you may earn a higher-than-average salary.

What type of benefits are common for database administrators?

Working as a database administrator will likely give you access to many benefits. For example, some employers offer tuition reimbursement, and most offer health insurance benefits. You might also gain access to a 401(k) with employer matching. In addition, some employers offer a gym membership, and paid time off is rather common.

Are career opportunities in database administration growing?

Yes. Database administration is growing at a higher-than-average rate. It’s expected to see about 10% growth over the next ten years.

Are there any advancement opportunities for database administrators?

Yes. Many database administrators will move into a management role in the IT department. Usually, you will need around five years of experience before you can move into management. As an IT manager, you will likely oversee installations and technology purchases.

What type of hours do database administrators keep?

It’s common for a database administrator to work a typical 9-to-5 schedule. However, some will be on call a night or two per week. As a result, it may be necessary to respond to urgent problems at any time, night or day.

What type of work environment will I be in as a database administrator?

As a database administrator, you will work in an office most of the time. You may work in a server room, occasionally, too. However, most of the work you will do will be in an office, in front of a computer.

What type of skills do I need to become a database administrator?

The most common skills for those looking into this career include analytical skills and critical thinking. You will also need to have some logic skills and the ability to make quick decisions. Other skills, such as database management and metadata management, can be learned through schooling or a coding boot camp.

If you have excellent problem-solving skills, you will likely make a good database administrator. It’s also helpful to have good communication skills for this career.

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to become a database administrator?

Technically, no. However, about 77% of database administrators have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Less than one percent have an associate degree, and about 11% have a professional certification. Therefore, it’s much easier to land a job in this field with a bachelor’s degree.

How long will it take me to become a database administrator?

For most people pursuing this career option, it will take at least four years. However, completing a bachelor’s degree is usually the most important step.

Commonly, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a few years of experience before moving into this position. For example, you might work in an IT department as a database developer or analyst first.

It usually takes between 4 and 8 years to gain a position as a database administrator.

If you want to enjoy a career as a database administrator, it starts with the right education and training. Then, you can use the steps for how to become a database administrator above. Once you land this type of job, you’ll get to enjoy a nice salary and a comfortable work environment.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.