Database Administrators: Career Guide & Salary Facts

Learn more about careers as database administrators. Find information on career opportunities, tasks and duties, educational requirements, and salary information. View popular schools that prepare students for careers as database administrators.

Duties & Tasks

Database administrators are responsible for testing database programs for functionality and security. They also make modifications to existing databases when necessary. They are tasked with coordinating and implementing security procedures in order to protect computer files against unauthorized access or damage. Database administrators may be asked to train users of databases and provide direction when necessary. They also are responsible for supervising the installation of new computer programs and databases for an organization. In addition, they may be in charge of developing user guidelines for those requiring access to database programs.

Education Requirements

Individuals interested in becoming a database administrator should pursue a baccalaureate degree in management information systems or other computer-related field. Some larger employers may require a master’s degree as well. These programs may teach students the fundamentals of database language, most commonly SQL. Database administrators may also wish to pursue certification which is generally offered by software firms and product vendors. While this certification is not required, employers may prefer applicants who are certified over those who are not.


Students may choose to specialize in certain areas pertinent to the needs of their employer. These specialization areas include the following:

  • Application Database Administrators:
  • These database administrators support a specific application within a database program, such as customer service software. They manage all aspects of their assigned application or set of applications.

  • System Database Administrators:
  • This specialization is in charge of the technical aspect of database administration. They are responsible for installing upgrades, repairing problems, and applying patches to fix system bugs.

Salary & Job Growth

Employment opportunities for database administrators is projected to increase by 31% from 2010-2020. This rise in employment may be due to the rapid increase in data collection by organizations. The need for database security is also another reason for the increase. As of 2010, there were over 110,000 individuals employed as database administrators. They earn an annual salary of $73,490 and an average hourly rate of $35.33.

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