Database Administrators

by Kate Williams

Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data.

Work Environment

Many database administrators work in firms that provide computer design services or in industries that have large databases, such educational institutions and insurance companies. Almost all database administrators work full time.

How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer- related subject, such as computer science.


The median annual wage for database administrators was $93,750 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of database administrators is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies across the economy.

Database administrators use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and secure from unauthorized access.


Database administrators typically do the following:

  • Ensure that organizational data are secure
  • Back up and restore data to prevent data loss
  • Identify user needs to create and administer databases
  • Ensure that databases operate efficiently and without error
  • Make and test modifications to database structure when needed
  • Maintain databases and update permissions
  • Merge old databases into new ones

Database administrators, often called DBAs, make sure that data analysts and other users can easily use databases to find the information they need and that systems perform as they should. Some DBAs oversee the development of new databases. They have to determine the needs of the database and who will be using it. They often monitor database performance and conduct performance-tuning support.

Many databases contain personal or financial information, making security important. Database administrators often plan security measures, making sure that data are secure from unauthorized access.

Many database administrators are general-purpose DBAs and have all of these duties. However, some DBAs specialize in certain tasks 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 typically have a background in system architecture and ensure that the firm’s database management systems work properly.

Application DBAs support a database that has been designed for a specific application or a set of applications, such as customer-service software. Using complex programming languages, they may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the applications that work with the database. They also do all the tasks of a general DBA, but only for their particular application.

Database administrators held about 132,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of database administrators were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services16%
Educational services; state, local, and private9
Management of companies and enterprises8
Insurance carriers and related activities6
Data processing, hosting, and related services4

Some DBAs administer databases for retail companies that keep track of their buyers’ credit card and shipping information; others work in healthcare settings and manage patients’ medical records.

Work Schedules

Almost all database administrators work full time.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of database administrators.

 OccupationJob DutiesEntry-Level EducationMedian Annual Pay, May 2019



Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor’s degree$146,360



Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

Bachelor’s degree$112,690



Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor’s degree$86,550



Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

See How to Become One$54,760



Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

Bachelor’s degree$90,920



Financial Analysts

Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions.

Bachelor’s degree$81,590



Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor’s degree$99,730



Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

Bachelor’s degree$83,510



Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service.

Bachelor’s degree$63,790



Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help solve complex issues.

Bachelor’s degree$84,810



Software Developers

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.

Bachelor’s degree$107,510



Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

Associate’s degree$73,760

More Information

Association for Computing Machinery

Computing Research Association

IEEE Computer Society

For more information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Database Administrators,
at (visited ).


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