How to Become a Database Administrator?

Are you thinking of becoming a Database Administrator or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Database Administrator, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Database Administrator job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Database Administrator

If you're thinking about becoming a database administrator, you may benefit from learning about the skills you need to succeed as well as the education and experience that can help you obtain a job in the field. Being a database administrator is a great career choice if you enjoy working with computers and have strong attention to detail. In this article, we provide five steps to help you become a database administrator.

Get an education.

Most database administrators have a Bachelor's Degree in computer science, information science, or a related field. Some get a college diploma or take online programming and computer science classes, and many senior database administrators get a Master's Degree as well. Search for a college or university with a respected technology curriculum.


Learn some database programming languages.

Learning a variety of database programming languages on your own or through courses can help you get a position as a database administrator. Some popular programming languages in this field include Structured Query Language (SQL), Python, Ruby, and PHP.


Gain some experience.

It's essential to get on-the-job training to learn how a company structures its databases. If possible, look for a position as an intern while you're completing your education. That way, you can expand your professional network and gain valuable experience before you graduate.

When you finish your education, you may be able to apply for a more permanent position in the same company. You can also ask for a letter of recommendation to help you apply for database administrator jobs with other organizations. If you don't find an internship, you can gain some experience by working as a web developer, IT technician, help desk specialist, or another related role.


Earn certifications.

The software and hardware that database administrators use changes constantly, and database administrators have to keep their knowledge up to date to continue being successful. Earning additional certifications is a great way to improve and update your skills while making your resume more appealing to potential employers.

The IBM Certified Database certification is one of the most sophisticated, modern, and prestigious options for experienced database professionals. You can also earn the Microsoft Technology Associate or MTA certification, which requires advanced knowledge of SQL, one of the most popular languages for databases and servers. Alternatively, you might consider the Oracle Certified Professional certification, which is available for many different versions of the language. All three options require testing at an official exam location.


Improve your skills.

Database administrators need advanced math and data analysis skills, and they should be able to solve problems quickly and make sure that the company's data stays secure. This often includes creating backup systems for data and deciding which information is most important. These professionals often lead teams of other employees as well. You can gain management experience in another field, or you can volunteer to train coworkers or lead projects.

Database Administrator Career Path

Database Administrator

2 - 4Years of Experience
$64K - $106K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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50% advanced to

Senior Database Administrator

2 - 4Years of Experience
$101K - $127K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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12% advanced to

Database Administrator IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$71K - $112K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Salary Trajectory

Database Administrator Career Path

Database Administrator I
Database Administrator
Senior Database Administrator
Database Administrator Manager
Database Administrator IV
Senior Manager of Database Administration
Principal Database Administrator
Senior Principal Database Administrator
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Related careers in the Engineering Industry

Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Database Administrator skills. Discover some of the most common Database Administrator career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Data Warehouse Architect
13% skills overlap
12% transitioned to Data Warehouse Architect