Database Administrators and Architects

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Database administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure data.

Work Environment: Many database administrators and architects work in firms that provide computer design services or in industries that have large databases, such educational institutions and insurance companies. Most database administrators and architects work full time.

How to Become One: Database administrators and architects typically need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology or a related field.

Salary: The median annual wage for database administrators and architects is $98,860.

Job Outlook: Employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of database administrators and architects with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a database administrator or architect with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

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What Database Administrators and Architects Do[About this section] [To Top]

Database administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure a variety of data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They also make sure that the data are available to authorized users.

Duties of Database Administrators and Architects

Database administrators and architects typically do the following:

  • Identify user needs to create and administer databases
  • Design and build new databases
  • Ensure that organizational data are secure
  • Back up and restore data to prevent data loss
  • Ensure that databases operate efficiently and without error
  • Make and test modifications to database structure when needed
  • Maintain databases and update permissions

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts and other users can easily use databases to find the information they need. They also ensure that systems perform as they should by monitoring database operation and providing support.

Many databases contain personal, proprietary, or financial information. Database administrators often are responsible for planning security measures to protect this important information.

Database architects design and build new databases for systems and applications. They research the technical requirements of an organization during the design phase and then create models for building the database. Finally, they code new data architecture, integrating existing databases or infrastructure, and check for errors or inefficiencies.

The duties of database administrators and database architects may overlap. For example, administrators and architects may be generalists who work on both systems and applications. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks, such as maintenance, that vary with an organization and its needs. Two common specialties are as follows:

System DBAs are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. They ensure that the firm's database management systems work properly.

Application DBAs do all the tasks of a general DBA focusing solely on a database for a specific application or set of applications, such as customer-service software. They may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the applications that work with the database.

Work Environment for Database Administrators and Architects[About this section] [To Top]

Database administrators and architects hold about 168,000 jobs. The largest employers of database administrators are as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 13%
Educational services; state, local, and private 6%
Management of companies and enterprises 6%
Insurance carriers and related activities 6%
Data processing, hosting, and related services 3%

Database administrators and architects work in nearly all industries. For example, in retail they may design databases that track buyers' shipping information; in healthcare, they may manage databases that secure patients' medical records.

Database Administrator and Architect Work Schedules

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator or Architect[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Database Administrators and Architects near you!

Database administrators (DBAs) and architects typically need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology or a related field.

Education for Database Administrators and Architects

Database administrators and architects typically need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master's degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.

Database administrators and architects need an understanding of database languages, such as Structured Query Language, or SQL. Administrators and architects will need to become familiar with whichever programming language their firm uses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Database Administrators and Architects

Certification is typically offered directly from software vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. Employers may require their database administrators and architects to be certified in the products they use.

Advancement for Database Administrators and Architects

Database administrators and architects may advance to become computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities for Database Administrators and Architects

Analytical skills. DBAs monitor a database system's performance to determine when action is needed. They must evaluate information from a variety of sources to decide on an approach.

Communication skills. Most database administrators and architects work on teams and need to convey information effectively to developers, managers, and other workers.

Detail oriented. Working with databases requires an understanding of complex systems, in which a minor error can cause major problems.

Problem-solving skills. When database problems arise, administrators and architects must troubleshoot and correct the problems.

Database Administrator Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for database administrators and architects is $98,860. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $155,660.

The median annual wages for database administrators and architects in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Data processing, hosting, and related services $108,520
Computer systems design and related services $106,260
Insurance carriers and related activities $105,570
Management of companies and enterprises $103,550
Educational services; state, local, and private $78,890

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

Job Outlook for Database Administrators and Architects[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 13,900 openings for database administrators and architects are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Database Administrators and Architects

Employment growth will be driven by the increased data needs of companies in nearly all sectors of the economy. Database administrators and architects will be needed to organize data and present information to stakeholders in a user-friendly format.

The increasing popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows third parties to do database administration online, is expected to increase employment of these workers at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry.

Employment of database administrators and architects in the computer systems design and related services industry also is projected to grow. The continued adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses that do not have their own dedicated information technology (IT) departments is expected to increase the employment of database administrators and architects in this industry.

Employment projections data for Database Administrators and Architects, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Database administrators and architects 168,000 181,200 8 13,200


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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