How Do You Become a Database Administrator?

In today’s digital world, humans generate (and record) more information, on a daily basis, than was created and stored during the entire history of the human race prior to the 21st century. The management of this much data, so that it can conveniently be recalled and analyzed as needed, relies upon the creation and maintenance of increasingly complex and sophisticated computer datbases. Despite the growing amount of automation within the information technology industry, database administrators are increasingly called upon to shoulder more responsibility, and to monitor ever-larger systems and database networks.

Given the growing, increasingly lucrative opportunities involved in this specialized function of the IT industry, it is no surprise that an increasing number of people want to know how to become a database administrator. Despite its popularity, the position looks poised to offer a wide range of opportunities well into the foreseeable future.

What Do They Do?

Database administrators maintain the many digital databases of information that we use day-to-day throughout modern life and industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, major corporations maintain databases with their customers’ contact information, information about past purchases, and information about seasonal trends in buyer behavior. Banks and other financial institutions maintain electronic databases containing customers’ information; a given customer’s information will be recorded regardless of whether or not they personally use digital banking services, or shop online. Medical records are stored digitally as well, as is information that is gathered, analyzed and used in research throughout the world’s scientific community.

Educational Qualifications and Compensation

Database administrators have relatively lax requirements for the level of compensation available to the field, with an average starting salary of just over $80,000 per year as of 2014. By the end of 2014, there were more than 120,000 database administrators in the United States alone, working in all aspects of our society (private, government, and academic). The field offers a reliable growth rate of higher than 10%, more than most other specialties within the computer industry. A database administrator will usually have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or another closely related field involving computers and data storage. Typically, they will work for up to five years in a related field before reaching an administrative capacity, at which point they may oversee entire departments. A master’s degree in any appropriate field can reduce the required experience, as well as raising the starting compensation.

How to Become a Database Administrator

In addition to the aforementioned educational criteria and experience, this highly accredited digital professional will usually require a series of advanced software certifications. These certifications are typically offered directly by the software vendors themselves, and are widely recognized all over the world for the standards that they maintain. A particularly adept database administrator can expect career advancement, possibly becoming a computer and information systems administrator down the road. They must have strong analytical and communications skills, as well as being detail-oriented and able to think clearly and logically under pressure (such as when facing a deadline).

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The ability to reliably store, retrieve and transfer information is integral to the proper function of every modern industry, particularly those which rely heavily on data analysis and other branches of information technology. By learning how to become a database administrator, accredited digital professionals will better be able to serve in this lucrative and ever-expanding specialty.