Bureau of Labor Statistics

Database Administrators and Architects

database administrators image
Database administrators ensure that data are available to many different users.
Quick Facts: Database Administrators and Architects
2020 Median Pay $98,860 per year
$47.53 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2020 168,000
Job Outlook, 2020-30 8% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 13,200

Summary

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 and architects was $98,860 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, 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.

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

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

Database administrators
Database administrators are often referred to as DBAs.

Database administrators and architects held about 168,000 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of database administrators and architects were 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.

Work Schedules

Most database administrators and architects work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator or Architect

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. 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

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

Database Administrators and Architects

Median annual wages, May 2020

Database administrators and architects

$98,860

Computer occupations

$91,250

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for database administrators and architects was $98,860 in May 2020. 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.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for database administrators and architects in the top industries in which they worked were 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

Database Administrators and Architects

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Computer occupations

13%

Database administrators and architects

8%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, 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

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

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

Occupational Title

Database administrators and architects

SOC Code15-1245
Employment, 2020168,000
Projected Employment, 2030181,200
Percent Change, 2020-308
Numeric Change, 2020-3013,200
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

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 OES 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

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 2020 MEDIAN PAY
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Information security analysts Information Security Analysts

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Network and computer systems administrators Network and Computer Systems Administrators

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Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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 September 30, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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