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What Does a Database Administrator Do?

Young database administrator works on a laptop in a server room

What Does a Database Administrator Do?

Accurate data is critical to any organization, as is maintaining and securing that data. At the heart of this function is the database of a software system, which database developer Oracle defines simply as “an organized collection of structured information, or data, typically stored electronically in a computer system.” Database administrators are crucial in ensuring organizations have the data they need to operate successfully.

As information technology expands into new areas such as off-premises cloud databases, the roles of database administrators are also growing. Today’s database professionals provide analytical support by designing and maintaining algorithms and programs to analyze the information in their databases.

Individuals interested in becoming database administrators can benefit from becoming more familiar with what a database administrator does. They might also consider enrolling in a bootcamp that covers skills, such as data analytics.

The Role of a Database Administrator

Essentially, what a database administrator does is create and administer systems for storing and protecting business, financial, and consumer data—ensuring that only authorized individuals can access this information. Many databases include private, personal, or financial information, and a database administrator is typically in charge of establishing security measures to protect it, along with keeping it organized and accessible for company personnel and functions.

A common responsibility of a database administrator is to create and maintain backups of databases so that the information is preserved in the event of a security breach or server failure. Database administrators often work as part of a team or larger IT group, coordinating with other developers on application development projects. Within the database administrator profession, an individual may focus on one of several specialties, providing specific benefits to their team and employer:

System Database Administrator

System database administrators are in charge of a database's physical and technological components, such as deploying updates and patches to correct software flaws. They ensure the company's database management systems are performing optimally. These administrators are often the individuals upgrading hardware components such as servers when a company implements newer and faster technology.

Database Architect

A database architect oversees the development and implementation of database systems. A database architect assesses the needs of the business and decides how to build a database to best meet those objectives. Typically, they are exclusively involved in the database's design and development and do not engage in other company projects.

Task-Oriented Database Administrator

A professional who focuses on specific duties and responsibilities related to a company’s database needs is a task-oriented database administrator. One example of a task would be backup-and-recovery, which is the process of ensuring that an organization's databases are recoverable. Other areas of attention for a task-oriented database administrator might include data protection, compliance, and security of sensitive information.

How the Cloud Has Affected a Database Administrator’s Role

Cloud data storage is causing the description of what a database administrator does to evolve and expand. Hosting databases through the cloud is easily scalable based on a company's fluctuating IT needs. According to a 2022 report from Couchbase, most IT spending will be on cloud services by 2025, including database hosting. With convenient access, lower upkeep costs, and widespread adoption by the industry, data storage on the cloud is now a crucial part of every database administrator’s role.

Database administrators should expect a shift to focusing on the dynamic nature of data analytics, database architecting, capacity planning, and IT scaling to assist companies in reliably accessing and using data across different cloud-based and on-premises databases.

How to Become a Database Administrator

The first step to becoming a database administrator is ensuring one has the fundamentals, typically by acquiring a bachelor's degree in computer science or IT. Courses in these programs address single-page web applications, distributed systems, data communications, data structure and mining, and database management systems. Aspiring database administrators must develop in-depth knowledge of database languages, especially Structured Query Language (SQL).

Certifications can help candidates in this field stand out to potential employers by validating the knowledge and best practices necessary to execute the responsibilities connected with the role, such as database certifications from Microsoft or IBM. Some businesses even demand that database administrators be certified in the products they employ.

Those looking to get a head start on a degree, prep for a certification, or brush up on their current understanding should consider the advantages of attending a bootcamp in an area such as data analytics. These courses can help ground individuals in understanding what a database administrator does.

Database Administrator Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for database administrators and architects was $101,000 in 2021. It projects jobs in the category to grow by 9% between 2021 and 2031. The job outlook in this industry is brightest in the field of data analytics, where the number of jobs is expected to grow by 12.3% in the next 10 years, according to Lightcast™.

Find Your Place in Database Administration

Maintaining and securing accurate and complete data is crucial in data administration, as it makes the increasingly valuable functions of data analytics possible. With companies wanting to make the most out of their data, professionals who have not only a broad understanding of database administration but also skills with cloud applications and data analysis have a better chance of landing a well-paid and fulfilling role in the industry.

Those looking to advance their skills to pursue a role in database administration should consider an online data analytics bootcamp from Fullstack Academy. Fullstack Academy offers a beginner-friendly program that helps students prepare for vital certification exams with industry-leading experts. Learn more about how Fullstack Academy can help you start building your expertise for a bright future in data analytics.

Recommended Readings

Data Scientist vs. Data Analyst: What’s the Difference?

What Does a Data Analyst Do? Job Types, Training, and Salary

What Is Database Management? Career and Salary Outcomes

Sources:

Actian, “Technical Trifecta: The Future of Data Professionals”

BMC Software, “Database Administrator (DBA) Roles and Responsibilities in the Big Data Age”

Couchbase, “Cloud Evolution Report 2022”

Database Trends and Applications, “How the Role of the DBA Is Changing in 2022”

HKR Trainings, “Types of DBA”

Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Cloud Database Management Systems”

Indeed, “Guide to Database Administrator Certifications”

Indeed, “What Is a Database Administrator? (Plus How to Become One)”

Oracle, What Is a Database?

Oracle, What Is a Database Administrator (DBA)?

TechTarget, “Cloud DBA: How Cloud Changes Database Administrator’s Role”

TechTarget, “Database Administrator (DBA)”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Database Administrators and Architects

ZipRecruiter, “What Is a Database Administrator and How to Become One”