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“In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king…”

Dr. Moriarty said that.

So, it must be true. 

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our world does comprise of numerous locked doors. In order to gain access, you need to have the know-how… or better yet – Knowledge!

The knowledge and the know-how of contemporary times are often kept in various databases. But somebody is needed to safeguard that knowledge. We call those people database administrators.

Thus, people with database administrator jobs hold the key. But being king depends on how many keys they hold.

Now I’m not saying that these individuals have the capacity of ruling the world or anything so ludicrous. But I am saying that they do have an integral part in today’s society, or better yet in business.

Database analysts are highly sought for. Companies have a great need for people with the necessary skillset to hold the keys and protect the company’s knowledge.

Let’s talk about this position in more detail. Who knows, maybe by the end of the article you do decide to become a database administrator!

Starting with some facts:

Don’t leave yet, this was just a small taste of things to come!

What we need to do first is explain…

What is a database administrator?

The job of a database administrator (DBA for short) is to set up a company’s database according to its needs and to ensure that it functions properly. If needed, the job also involves fine-tuning, upgrading and test modifications for the databases.

Data is highly important in this day of age and companies put a high priority on protecting it. Database administrators are viewed as guardians who implement security measurements. The goal is to protect the gathered data from falling into the wrong hands.

However, gathering data and storing it safely still remains the priority.  The data needs to be accessible, so it can be used whenever necessary.

Keep in mind that a database administrator does need certain traits, so let’s talk about that for a sec.

Database Administrator Skills

Doing this kind of job will require you to possess certain skills. They are not only necessary but will ultimately make you a better worker in this field.

If you have these skills you can pass for a good database administrator:

  • Having problem-solving skills and having a passion for it.
  • High attention to detail.
  • Communication skills, as you will most probably work in a team and need to collaborate with other people.
  • Being always ready and on-call just in case a maintenance issue comes up.

As you can see, this is not easy at all and if you want to have a successful database administrator career, acquiring these skills early on and as fast as you can will help you advance faster.

But skills are not enough without a piece of paper to prove your worth.

That’s right, I’m talking about education.

What Kind of Education Does a Database Administrator Need?

When it comes to education, you will need a Bachelor’s Degree from a four-year higher education institute. Also, you can apply with a BA from various fields.

Employers prefer applicants with a BA in computer-related fields. If you have majored in information technology, computer science, management information systems, or information security, you are also qualified for the position.

However, firms that have large databases at hand may not look to hire a junior database administrator. They might prefer an applicant with a master’s degree with a background in database management.

You should also know that employers require work experience of 1 to 5 years in the field. This may vary depending on the position or level of seniority you are applying for. Do keep in mind that experience is a very important factor and not something that should be brushed off.

Another advantage, besides everything mentioned above, would be having a certificate.

Certifications and Licenses

Having some database certifications when applying for this kind of job will take you far.

Certificates are often offered by a software vendor or from a vendor-neutral certification provider. They validate your knowledge and practices as a database administrator.  They also make you a much more likely candidate for the position.

Additionally, a company you are applying in may require certifications for the products they use. Thus having one is a great advantage in this case.

Some of the more highly renowned certificates that you may include Microsoft certified database administrator or an Oracle database administrator. However, an SQL certification may be an even better option.

SQL, what would that be? 

First of all, you can pronounce it as “S-Q-L” or simply say “See-Quel” – both are acceptable. But the abbreviation stands for Structured Query Language.

Let’s find out more about SQL!

The Importance of SQL

SQL is a standard language for accessing and manipulating databases. It was awarded the title of a standard language for relational database management systems by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) way back in 1986.

What is SQL and how does it work? 

The answer to this question is rather simple – SQL is used to perform tasks such as update and retrieve data on a database.

The main functions are actually:

  • Insert
  • Search
  • Update
  • Delete
  • Create
  • Drop
  • Select

These functions are actually enough for you to do almost anything you wish with a database.

Additionally, there are relational databases to SQL. In order to be compatible, they need to have the mentioned functions above.

The included databases are:

  • MySQL Database
  • Ms SQL Server
  • Oracle
  • Sybase

All of these databases use similar syntaxes as SQL. There are cases where they add some new ones one but they still remain very similar to the basic.

SQL Software

SQL can also come with certain software or various Query Optimization Tools. They may include:

  • SQL Tuning – Used to rewrite SQL statements to improve server performance.
  • Monitor Cloud Databases – Used to monitor many SQL databases within the cloud.
  • Optimize SQL Query Online – Used to optimize SQL Query remotely by using a web browser.

Mind you, there is also NoSQL (or Not Only SQL) to think about. This is an upcoming Database Management System which has no adherence to Relational Database Concepts. Using a relational database for massive volume data may cause the system to become slow in response time.

So SQL examples show that the best solution is to distribute the load on multiple database hosts as the load increases. This is also known as “scaling out.” NoSQL allows the process of scaling out to be done better as it also comes with web applications for it.

These do not use SQL to query the data and do not follow strict schemes as relational models do. That’s why they can be used as a perfect solution for this kind of problem. Besides, you don’t have to upgrade the existing hardware.

Another thing that people ask themselves about is…

What is SQL server?

It is actually a relational database management system developed by Microsoft. The idea for creating it was for it to compete with MySQL and Oracle database.

Several server editions are available:

  • SQL Server Enterprise: Used in high-end and large-scale businesses.
  • SQL Server Standard: Used for mid-tier application and data marts.
  • SQL Server WEB: Specifically designed as a low-cost-ownership option for Web holsters.
  • SQL Server Developer: Mainly used to build, test or for demos.
  • SQL Server Express: A small-scale application for free use.

Now that we are a little bit clear on the matter of SQL meaning we need to get back on track to our main topic. But don’t forget this one, it is important for any database administrator to know.

Now we need to talk about responsibilities…

What Responsibilities Does a Database Administrator Have?

We already talked in the section above what is the primary job of a database administrator. But there’s actually so much more. Collecting and protecting data from loss is just a mere chunk of what a real expert needs to do.

Day-to-day work might change but here are some major database administrator responsibilities that one will need to do:

Software Installation and Maintenance

The DBA is needed to install and configure the initial servers and databases. The system administrator would configure the hardware, but it is the database administrator’s job to deploy the operating system for the database server.

Once everything is configured, the DBA then needs to provide updates and patches as part of the ongoing maintenance process.

Data Extraction, Transformation, and Loading

Also known as ETL, data extraction, transformation, and loading is a part of database administrator duties. It involves importing large volumes of data extracted from multiple systems into a data warehouse environment.

Additionally, the external data has to be cleared up and transformed so the desired format could fit and subsequently be imported into a central repository.

Database Backup and Recovery

It is the job of a DBA to create backups, recovery plans, and procedures that are based on best industry practices. Then they need to follow the necessary steps. Backups cost money so the DBA needs to push the management a little bit as necessary precautions need to be taken.

In some cases, system admins may be the ones that create backups. A database administrator still needs to make sure that everything is done on schedule.

Specialized Data Handling

Database administrator jobs description also involves managing a very large database (VLDB). Today’s databases can be bulky and contain unstructured data types that include images, sound, documents, and even video files.

This requires high-level skills as well as regular monitoring and tuning so efficiency is achieved.

Security

No system is completely safe and immune from outside attacks. Therefore, it is the job of a DBA to know and learn about the potential weaknesses of both the database software and the company’s overall system.   

Database Tuning

Effective monitoring and tuning is a part of database administrator jobs as it is better to do it proactively and not wait for a problem to occur. Performance monitoring does show where the database should be tweaked in order for it to operate as efficiently as possible.

There are various parts that can have an effect on the way the database works. Physical configuration, the way queries are handled, the way the database is indexed – all of it can have a devastating effect on a database and regular monitoring could prevent all of that.

So as you can see database administrators have a lot of things on their plates.

But it can also lead to great career prospects.

Types of Careers

Starting your career path from certain entry-level database administrator jobs can eventually lead you to pursue a career in many different fields. Of course, it all depends on the path that you want to take and prospects available to you.

Here are some career paths that are available:

Database Administrator

Description: Work with software and database platforms.

Education & Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, database languages like SQL or Query.

Average Salary: $87,020 

Computer and Information System Manager

Description: Plan, coordinate, and innovate company or institutional databases.

Education & Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, two years of IT experience.

Average Salary: $139,220

Computer Network Architect

Description: Construct an architectural infrastructure of computer networks.

Education & Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, between 5 and 10 years of IT working experience.

Average Salary: $104,650

Computer Programmer

Description: Build a computer system using C/C++ programming systems and it also involves various SQL database administrator jobs.

Education & Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, knowledge of a programming language like C++, SQL, Python, or JavaScript.

Average Salary: $82,240

Computer System Analyst

Description: Consult with companies and institutions about improving database and analytical systems.

Education & Experience: Bachelor’s Degree, training in business analytics.

Average Salary: $88,270

All of these look pretty nice and they most certainly come with individual benefits.

However, in order to get to one of these positions you need to plunge towards them…

Here comes the important question:

How to Become a Database Administrator?

In order to help you better understand your road to victory and becoming a successful database administrator, we will go through all the initial steps you need to take.

Starting with…

Step 1 – Earn a Degree

All of the positions related to this field require you to have a Bachelor’s Degree. So it makes sense that this should be your first step. This type of degree is available in computer information systems and you can choose to concentrate on computer science, information science or database systems.

Classes available often include web page applications, database management systems, data communications, data structure and mining, database and distributed systems, and discrete structures.

Step 2 – Complete an Internship

In order to enter the field of database administration, it boasts well for an applicant to complete some sort of internship. Actually, there are certain Bachelor’s degree programs that allow you to complete an internship during your studies.

Internships may introduce students early on to the types of tasks they will need to perform in the future.

Step 3 – Work as a Database Developer or Analyst

Working primarily as a database developer or analyst is the best springboard for having a prolific career as a database administrator. Developers design and implement database technologies while analysts collect and analyze the data collected.

Step 4 – Get Certified

If you are thinking about oracle database administration jobs, you need to get a certificate first. You can be certified from Microsoft, SQL, or Cisco and continue on from there. In most cases, it is required that you complete a training program and demonstrate proficiency in operating the company’s product.

Step 5 – Work as a Database Manager

You can easily become a database manager after working in the field for somewhere between one and five years. Managers need to make sure that all databases work correctly and that they are easier to use so data analysts can perform their jobs correctly.

Step 6 – Earn a Master’s Degree

You should understand that this step is an optional one, but it can be really helpful for your future. It is even a sure step of acquiring any database management jobs as employers might value workers with such degrees more for such positions.

One can get a Master’s Degree in database technologies, database management, and business intelligence.

That’s pretty much it.

Follow these steps to ensure a successful future as a database administrator.

Now let’s talk money!

Database Administrator Salary

No job is worth doing if it doesn’t pay well. However, as it happens working in this field can earn you a hefty salary even by working remote database administrator jobs.

In the US, which is at the same time the biggest market for this type of work, the average salary is $87,020. The lowest-paid 25% earn $63,850, while the highest-paid ones get $112,700.

Additional info based on sites that offer employment reveal the following fees:

  • ZipRecruiter – Average: $101,830; Lowest: $52,000; Highest: $145,500.
  • Glassdoor – Average: $86,996; Lowest: $65,000; Highest: $118,000.
  • Indeed – Average: $92,495; Lowest: $32,000; Highest: $184,000.

Not a bad yearly wage under any circumstances.

If you are living in the US, you should know that some places pay more than others. Check out database jobs near me to find out more.

But here are some states with the highest average of salaries in the US for database administrators:

  • New Jersey: $106,390
  • Washington: $98,120
  • Connecticut: $97,670
  • Virginia: $97,050
  • District of Columbia: $97,030

For the end of our presentation, we have prepared a short Q&A that will clear out any additional queries you may have.

Q&A

Q: How can I become a database administrator?

A: Becoming a database administrator is not something that you can do overnight. You need a Bachelor’s Degree and specific certification. Employers often require 1 to 5 years of work experience in the field but you can get those by taking internships.

Q: What skills do database administrators need?

A: There are actually many skills required for any database administrator jobs. However, the most common and basic ones include having problem-solving skills, high attention to detail, communication skills, and the ability to always react as quickly as possible.

Q: What is the best SQL certification?

A: Even though there are many SQL certificates that you can get, it mainly depends on the needs of the job and your interests. Some of the more important ones currently that you can look at include: Excel to MySQL, The Complete SQL Bootcamp, SQL Certification for Data Science, and the Coursera SQL Certification.  

Q: What jobs can I do with SQL?

A: There are many job opportunities that SQL offers. Some of the more prominent ones include a SQL database admin job, an SQL database developer, an SQL database tester, an SQL data scientist, or an SQL data application interface developer.

Q: What are the five main functions of a database administrator?

A: The five main functions that every database administrator needs to do are:

  • To create a scheme definition.
  • To modify the scheme and physical organization if or when necessary.
  • To define the storage structure and methods of access.
  • To specify integrity constraints.
  • To grant authorization of data access.

We have done our best to show you how good of a position this actually is. Now it is up to you to type database administrator jobs near me in your internet browser and start your search.

The Rundown

In ancient times, protectors of knowledge and information were viewed as noble warriors. Highly trained individuals with the power and capacity to withstand any sort of a siege!

Many of them were capable of garnering vast amounts of knowledge and utilized it for the betterment of their society.

Unfortunately, today this position is not as noble as it used to be back then. But it is still a highly valued one!

Database administrator jobs are the closest ones that we have today to those of ancient times. The tools and circumstances may have changed but the goal certainly hasn’t.

Think about this when applying for a role as a database administrator.