How to Become
a Database Administrator
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
Database administration, also known as DBA, is a highly in-demand profession in the information technology sector. However, database administrators can work in almost every field. Some of the most common industries where they work are retail and computer science.
If you have logical thinking and organization skills, this profession might be for you. Take a look at this guide and learn how to become a database administrator. You will learn what education, skills, and preparation you need.
What Is a Database Administrator?
A database administrator is a professional who oversees databases to improve accessibility and security. They should not be confused with network administrators, who maintain the hardware and software systems.
Database administrators often store shipping and customer service data or financial records. They make sure everything is stored correctly and easy to use for data analysts. Database administrators also protect data from hacking and infiltration.
What Does a Database Administrator Do?
A database administrator uses different software to streamline database information. They organize it in a way that is efficient and available for whoever else might read it. Database administrators also perform database access control. Below are some more database administrator responsibilities.
Maintains and Organizes the Database
Maintaining and organizing the database is their primary role. Database administrators use different techniques to arrange information efficiently. They also oversee the database’s performance to ensure there aren’t any issues with accessibility or management. Even the slightest error can be detrimental to database management, so this job is important.
Prevents Data Losses
Database administrators also have to back up the information to protect it from losses. A power outage or other unfortunate event may occur at any moment, and the database must remain safe. They must also ensure that all the information comes from reliable sources to avoid any type of cyber security issues in the database.
Another relevant task in a database administrator’s routine is to perform database tests. This is to ensure everything is working correctly. If they spot an anomaly, they must determine the right action to take. They must also perform different tests to evaluate the database’s security levels. It is their responsibility to protect data from unauthorized access.
Database Administrator Education Pathways
If you want to pursue a career in database administration, there are several paths you can take. However, most entry-level database administration jobs require some level of education. Check out the education pathways below.
Database Administration Degrees
Most entry-level jobs require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. However, if you want to dive deeper into this profession and take a step forward, you can go for a Master’s Degree in Database Administration or IT. This is a good option if you have the time and money.
Database Administration Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps have become a go-to alternative to formal education. They’re immersive, short-term, and educational. Although there aren’t many database administration-specific bootcamps, you can still join a data science program to get the core skills you need. There are lots of data science bootcamps, so do your research to find which is best for you.
Database Administration Courses
One of the best ways to learn data administration is to take an introductory or in-depth course. There are many online courses that you can take for free or for a low fee, and they come with informative modules. Although they won’t be as efficient as a bootcamp or bachelor’s degree, they can help you get a sense of what data is all about.
How to Become a Database Administrator: A Step-by-Step Guide
Becoming a database administrator requires a lot of preparation. You need to be fluent in particular programming languages, understand database design, and learn other related skills. You can begin with entry-level positions and get some work experience and then try a more advanced role. Below you can see more steps in detail.
Get an education
The first thing you need to consider is your education and training. You can choose a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or data science bootcamp. This way, you will obtain the core skills you should have to become a database administrator.
Develop technical skills
The second step is to work on your technical skills. To do this, you must practice as much as you can. This is the best way to master advanced techniques in the future.
Build your portfolio
Building your portfolio is essential. It doesn’t matter if you have zero work experience in the field because you can add your personal projects. In fact, many coding bootcamps require hands-on projects. These are perfect for showcasing your skills.
Develop an online presence
In today’s job market, you must be visible online, especially if you’d like to work as a database administrator. You can create your own blog and social media accounts to share the process of your projects. This will help recruiters easily contact you.
Network and search for jobs
Networking is a perfect way to meet people who can open doors for you. Once you have the skills and mindset, you can start with the job search process and networking.
Top Database Administrator Skills
Database administration requires many in-demand skills. The most relevant skill is database management, which involves computer systems design, database modeling, and more. Below is a list of other relevant skills.
SQL is an information system that allows users to store and organize data. It is one of the most commonly used programming languages to access databases. Therefore, it is essential for any DBA to learn SQL. You can communicate with developers and establish commands together. You can learn this skill by enrolling in a bootcamp or course.
Linux is one of the most commonly used systems. It is versatile and open source, so you can build your own tools to find the root of various problems. Understanding how Linux databases work will open many doors in your path of becoming a database system administrator.
According to Zippia, disaster recovery is one of the most in-demand skills for database administration. Unfortunate disasters may occur, and companies must be prepared for any type of situation. You will need to back up and protect your data. You also need to design different plans and strategies if you need a disaster recovery action.
Database Administrator Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of database administrator jobs will increase by 10 percent in the next ten years. This is faster and higher than the average demand for most other professions. This is the result of rapid technological advancements. Companies have an increased need for data storage and management.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that a database administrator’s average salary is $93,750, which is higher than the national median income of $48,672. The reason for this is the high demand for and low supply of database administrators.
Entry-Level Database Administrator Job Requirements
Most entry-level positions require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Data Science. However, many companies have ditched this requirement for something more flexible. You only need to have the right skills and the right mindset.
How to Prepare for Your Database Administrator Job Interview
Before attending your database administrator job interview, you should be prepared for any technical or non-technical questions. The first thing to do is read the full job description to see what the company is looking for. Then, you can take a look at the possible questions the interviewer may ask.
Database Administrator Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the different tools you will use as a database administrator?
- What problems have you faced in previous roles, and how did you fix them?
- What is a cluster, and how is it different from a grid?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are some possible threats you could identify as a database administrator?
Database Administrator Certifications
Although it’s not mandatory to get a certification, it can certainly help boost your career. According to research conducted by LinkedIn in 2017, 48 percent of people think getting a certification will help them get jobs. Of those polled, 35 percent had received a salary increase after getting a certification. Below are some DBA certifications you should consider.
Oracle Certified Professional
This certification from Oracle University will prove that you have the skills you need to become a database administrator. This certification covers SQL, MySQL, database development, Oracle database management, and more.
IBM Certified Database Administrator
IBM certifications are some of the most relevant ones in the IT market. This certification will help you move your resume to the top of the pile by validating that you have the right DBA skills. These include Information Management System (IMS), application development, Linux, Unix, and SQL.
Microsoft SQL Server Database Certifications
Microsoft’s modular-based certification consists of different levels depending on your skills. Some of the certifications you can get as a DBA are Database Administration Fundamentals, SQL Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, and SQL Database Credential for Expert-Level Professionals.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Database Administrator?
The time you need to become a database administrator varies depending on your career path. If you go for a bachelor’s degree, you will spend around four years in school, but a bootcamp will only take a couple of months. Keep in mind that you also need to get some experience in the field before you can get a great job.
Why You Should Become a Database Administrator in 2021
You should become a database administrator because it is a high-demand job. These professionals have high salaries and can work in almost any industry. If you love working with data and you have good problem-solving skills, this career might be a good match. You should follow the steps above to become a database administrator in 2021.
Database Administrator FAQ
There are several certifications you can obtain to become a database administrator. However, some of the most reputable ones are offered by IBM and Microsoft.
Database administration requires technical effort and skills like database development and management. It does have a high level of difficulty, but if you have the right mindset and preparation, you will succeed in this career.
As a database administrator, your role is not to develop software or websites, but you’ll be working closely with developers. Therefore, although it’s not mandatory, having programming skills could make your job easier.
The future of database administration is moving forward to cloud database management. More companies are adopting cloud systems to protect data, so database administrators should start learning platforms like AWS, Azure, and Cloud Bigtable.