Professionals who can work with data are in high demand. But being a database administrator (DBA) is both a rewarding and a challenging career path. It requires the handling of significant responsibility as the custodian of an organization’s data, in addition to turning the raw data into actionable intelligence.
Every day, an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created on the internet, and this amount is accelerating at an exponential rate. More data has been collected in the past two years than in the entire human history. Ever wondered where all of this data goes? One of the foundational locations is a database. Without the database and the ability to query the database, it would be nearly impossible to analyze any of that data in a meaningful way.
If you are detail-oriented, organized, and like to work in a structured environment, a career as a database administrator may be your calling!
Role of a Database Administrator
Database administrators, often called DBAs, create or organize systems to store and secure a variety of data, such as financial information and customer shipping records.
They 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 operations 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, integrate existing databases or infrastructure, and check for errors or inefficiencies.
Significance of a DBA
If an organization uses a database management system (DBMS) for mission-critical workloads, it is important to employ one or more database administrators to ensure that applications have ongoing, uninterrupted access to data. Most modern organizations of every size use at least one DBMS, and therefore the need for database administrators is greater today than ever before.
Amid the increased data needs of companies in nearly all sectors of the economy, there is the increased popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows third parties to do database administration online. This is expected to increase the employment of these workers at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry.
Pathway to Becoming a Database Administrator
If a career in database administration excites you, you must stay abreast of emerging technologies and new design approaches.
To step foot in this field, you'll typically require a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as engineering. Some DBAs also 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.
Further, you'll need an understanding of database languages, such as Structured Query Language, or SQL.
Next, it is a good idea to get certified in one or more commercial database systems. Most companies will focus on hiring people with certification and DBA training in the specific database software they use. Some of the big players and their database administrator certifications are Oracle (Oracle DB Certified Associate, Oracle DB Certified Professional), IBM (IBM Analytics Certification), and Cassandra (Certified Cassandra Administrator, Certified Cassandra Architect, Certified Cassandra Developer).
Salary and Job Outlook
A database administrator career can be rewarding and well-paid. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a DBA is $90,070 but it can range from a low of $50,340 to a high of $138,320 depending upon factors such as work experience, geographical location, and industry.
Another consideration that perhaps is as important as compensation is employability. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the employment of database administrators to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.