Database Administrator

Database administrators provide an organization with the ability to store, manage, and extract the large amounts of data generated by the Internet, electronic commerce, and other traditional sources. They work with database management systems software, identify user needs, design computer databases, test those databases, and then modify the system based on test results. They are often responsible for planning and implementing security measures within the system, an increasingly vital part of database administration.

Job Skills

Database administrators must be logical thinkers and good communicators. They must be able to multitask while, at the same time, pay close attention to minute details. Because they often work in teams, database administrators must be able to communicate efficiently and effectively with other personnel, such as programmers, managers, users, and other staff with little or no technical background.


In 2002, database administrators earned a median annual salary of $55,480. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $30,750, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $92,910. The median annual salary was $66,650 in computer system design and related services, and $59,620 in management of companies and enterprises.

Training and Education

Employers of database administrators require candidates to have highly-developed skills and related education. They also emphasize the importance of broad background and knowledge, as opposed to the narrower skill sets sought by employers in the past. Database administrators enter the field through a number of different paths. Many employers require a bachelor’s degree, while a 2-year degree may suffice for others. Graduate degrees are usually a prerequisite for more technically complex jobs, and relevant work experience will always increase a candidate’s chances. Generally, most employers look for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems. However, when employers are desperately seeking workers knowledgeable in extremely new, cutting edge technologies, formal education and experience requirements can often be waived.


In 2002, database administrators held about 110,000 jobs. The largest numbers of jobs were found in computer systems design and related services. Many computer systems analysts were employed by Internet service providers, web search portals, and data-processing, hosting, and related services firms. Others worked for government, manufacturers of computer and electronic products, insurance companies, financial institutions, and universities.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of database administrators is expected to increase much faster than the average. This will be due to continued adoption and integration of new technologies, rapid growth in computer system design and related services, and the need to replace workers who leave the labor force or move to other occupations and positions. Demand for this occupation also will be fueled by increased use of Internet applications in business, the growth of electronic commerce, the introduction of Wireless Internet.

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