How to Become a Database Administrator
Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS) or a computer-related field.
Database administrators (DBAs) usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science. Before becoming an administrator, these workers typically get work experience in a related field.
Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS) or a computer-related field. Firms with large databases may prefer 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 need an understanding of database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, commonly called SQL. Most database systems use some variation of SQL, and a DBA will need to become familiar with whichever programming language the firm uses.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Certification is generally offered directly from software vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge and best practices required from DBAs. Companies may require their database administrators to be certified in the products they use.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Most do not begin their careers as database administrators. Many first work as database developers or data analysts. A database developer is a type of software developer who specializes in creating databases. The job of a data analyst is to interpret the information stored in a database in a way the firm can use. Depending on their specialty, data analysts can have different job titles, including financial analyst, market research analyst, and operations research analyst. After mastering one of these fields, they may become a database administrator. For more information, see the profiles on software developers, financial analysts, market research analysts, and operations research analysts.
Database administrators can advance to become computer and information systems managers.
Analytical skills. DBAs must be able to monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must be able to evaluate complex information that comes from a variety of sources.
Communication skills. Most database administrators work on teams and must be able to communicate effectively with 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. For example, mixing up customers’ credit card information can cause someone to be charged for a purchase he or she didn’t make.
Logical thinking. Database administrators must make sense of data and organize it in a meaningful pattern so that it is easily retrievable.
Problem-solving skills. When problems with a database arise, administrators must be able to troubleshoot and correct the problems.