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Database Administrators and Architects

Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKAnWFOyk8E.
Quick Facts: Database Administrators and Architects
2021 Median Pay $101,000 per year
$48.56 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation See How to Become One
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2021 144,500
Job Outlook, 2021-31 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 12,800

What Database Administrators and Architects 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 a Database Administrator or Architect

Database administrators and architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field.

Pay

The median annual wage for database administrators was $96,710 in May 2021.

The median annual wage for database architects was $123,430 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 11,500 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.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for database administrators and architects.

Similar Occupations

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

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about database administrators and architects by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Database Administrators and Architects Do About this section

Database administrators
Database administrators ensure databases run efficiently.

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

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 About this section

Database administrators
Database administrators are often referred to as DBAs.

Database administrators held about 91,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of database administrators were as follows:

Finance and insurance 13%
Computer systems design and related services 13
Information 12
Educational services; state, local, and private 9
Management of companies and enterprises 7

Database architects held about 52,700 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of database architects were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 29%
Finance and insurance 13
Management of companies and enterprises 7
Administrative and support services 6
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 5

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.

Work Schedules

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator or Architect About this section

Database administrators
Database administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science.

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

Education

Database administrators and architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as engineering; some DBAs study business. Employers may 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. DBAs will need to become familiar with whichever programming language their firm uses.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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

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

Important Qualities

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.

Pay About this section

Database Administrators and Architects

Median annual wages, May 2021

Database architects

$123,430

Database administrators and architects

$101,000

Computer occupations

$97,430

Database administrators

$96,710

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

The median annual wage for database administrators was $96,710 in May 2021. 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 $48,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $151,400.

The median annual wage for database architects was $123,430 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $63,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $169,500.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for database administrators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance $102,930
Management of companies and enterprises 101,400
Computer systems design and related services 101,000
Information 99,340
Educational services; state, local, and private 77,340

In May 2021, the median annual wages for database architects in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Administrative and support services $127,690
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 127,690
Finance and insurance 127,240
Management of companies and enterprises 126,900
Computer systems design and related services 116,160

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Database Administrators and Architects

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Computer occupations

15%

Database architects

10%

Database administrators and architects

9%

Database administrators

8%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Overall employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 11,500 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

Employment growth will be driven by the continued data needs of companies in nearly all sectors of the economy. Database administrators and database architects will be needed to organize and present information to stakeholders in a user-friendly format. As organizations continue to migrate to cloud environments, these administrators and architects will be critical to ensuring proper database design, transition, backup, and security and to ensuring that connections to legacy systems remain intact.

Employment projections data for database administrators and architects, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Database administrators and architects

144,500 157,300 9 12,800

Database administrators

15-1242 91,800 99,200 8 7,400 Get data

Database architects

15-1243 52,700 58,100 10 5,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of database administrators and architects.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Computer and information systems managers Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor's degree $159,010
computer network architects image Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

Bachelor's degree $120,520
Computer programmers Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write, modify, and test code and scripts that allow computer software and applications to function properly.

Bachelor's degree $93,000
Computer support specialists Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists maintain computer networks and provide technical help to computer users.

See How to Become One $57,910
Computer systems analysts Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and design ways to improve efficiency.

Bachelor's degree $99,270
Financial analysts Financial Analysts

Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals in decisions about expending money to attain profit.

Bachelor's degree $95,570
Information security analysts Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor's degree $102,600
Network and computer systems administrators Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

Bachelor's degree $80,600
Market research analysts Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service.

Bachelor's degree $63,920
Operations research analysts Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use mathematics and logic to help solve complex issues.

Bachelor's degree $82,360
Software developers Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

Software developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.  

Bachelor's degree $109,020
Web developers Web Developers and Digital Designers

Web developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout, functions, and navigation for usability.

Bachelor's degree $78,300

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about database administrators and architects, visit

Association for Computing Machinery

Computing Research Association

IEEE Computer Society

For more information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

CareerOneStop

For a career video on database administrators and architects, visit

Database Architects

O*NET

Data Warehousing Specialists

Database Administrators

Database Architects

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Database Administrators and Architects,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm (visited November 27, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 8, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2021

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2021, which is the base year of the 2021-31 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2021-31

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent.

Employment Change, 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.