How to Become a
Database Administrator

Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications

The world creates a vast amount of data every day. This amount is growing exponentially. Database administrators (DBA) are needed to store the data in a database and query it. This guide covers how to become a database administrator, exploring the steps needed to start a career in this field.
You will also find useful information about job roles, required education and experience, and salaries. This will help you to make an informed decision about whether to pursue this career.

What Is a Database Administrator?

Database administrators are responsible for a company’s databases. These experts may be tasked with handling several databases or a single database, depending on the company’s size and needs. As a DBA, you will monitor databases to ensure that they run efficiently.

You will also check if databases are overused and implement preventative measures like patching and clean-ups. Your role also includes improving queries and designing databases alongside project teams. Database administrators are also responsible for helping to set up users and security settings.

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to Become a Database Administrator?

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When employers are looking for a database administrator, they want someone with a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree in an information and communications technology (ICT) field. In some cases, you may not need to get a degree because technical training can prepare you for the role within a shorter time.

Coding bootcamps give you the required training to work as a database administrator. More employers are beginning to consider this option for their employees. However, you may also need some certifications to help you stand out from the competition.

Best Database Administrator Education Tracks

There are so many ways to start a career as a database administrator. You can choose to get an associate degree or a four-year degree from a university. There is an option of attending a coding bootcamp and getting practical experience to thrive in your job role.


Community College

Community colleges have made it possible for students to study database administration through their computer science and information technology departments. The programs last for just two years and students are awarded an associate degree when they graduate.

During the program, students learn Structured Query Language (SQL) and database design. You will also learn excellent communication skills as well as how to work smoothly under pressure. These starter skills are a crucial part of your training as a DBA.


Database Administrator Degrees

Universities also have bachelor’s degree programs for DBAs. The majority of programs are under the umbrella of computer science departments. It is a good idea to enter the industry with a degree because some employers prefer students with degrees.

Depending on the university, students who aspire to become database administrators can also study in a management information systems department. Some employers accept people with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or any relevant courses.


Database Administrator Bootcamps

If you prefer a faster entry into the industry, a coding bootcamp may be the best option for you. Coding bootcamps are intensive and short programs that offer practical skills to enter the DBA field. Since the topic is connected to data science, you can attend one of the best data science bootcamps and learn a broader application before specializing as a DBA.

Some of these bootcamps train you within a few weeks and even offer practical lessons and projects. This way, you can build your portfolio and start applying for jobs once you graduate.


Database Administrator Courses

There are many essential courses that all database administrators should take to be effective at their jobs. These courses cover administrator duties and introduce students to database management, planning, and documentation.

Some other important course topics include SQL, backup and recovery, creating new users, database auditing, data handling systems, and controlling the database.

How to Become a Database Administrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become a Database Administrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

To become a database administrator, you need to follow some steps no matter what route you choose. The profession is different from most because you need to continue learning new things as technology advances.

Here are the steps to follow.


Aspiring DBAs have to get educated first to know how to design, organize, and maintain information. You have the option of going to a community college or a university. You can also attend a bootcamp to get the requisite training.

Learn important programming languages

One important language you need as a DBA is SQL. You need to understand the basics of SQL and move to other advanced topics. This knowledge will make it easier for you to do your job when you join the workforce.

Pursue software vendor certification

Certifications can give you an advantage over other candidates because it proves that you are skilled in the field. There are a few certifications you can get as a DBA. Choose a widely recognized certification and pass the exams.

Get work experience

After getting certified, you need to put all your skills into practice with some work experience. Some coding bootcamps offer internship programs to give you practical experience. You’ll learn to run queries and design databases during this time.

Apply for entry-level positions

When you have some experience on your resume, you can apply for entry-level positions. You can find plenty of listings through online resources. You can also sign up for newsletters to get postings as they are published.

Key Database Administrator Skills

Key Database Administrator Skills

Database administrators need to have certain skills to function properly in their roles. They need both technical and soft skills. DBAs need to be excellent communicators, too. This way they can work with other professionals and explain technical terms to non-technical people.

Here are some of the main skills a database administrator should have.

Excellent Troubleshooting Skills

The DBA is responsible for making sure that the database is running smoothly. A problem can make it fail and the job of the DBA is to restore the data and bring services back online.

In addition, the DBA needs to know how to write advanced queries with SQL. There may also be a need to produce different reports. After troubleshooting, you need to hand the information to the business analysis team.

SQL, R, Python

As an entry-level database administrator, you must have knowledge of some programming languages. You also need to know how to use some data tools. To work with statistics, you should learn Python or R programming.

Getting to grips with SQL is also crucial. You need this programming language to be able to interact with various database clients like NoSQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Basic Statistics

Statistics is an important part of data administration. It is a compulsory part of training, and you need to understand statistical tests, distributions, and other similar mathematical concepts.

The skill is useful in any role that deals with data. This is because you need to interpret data on a larger scale. Without knowledge of statistics, you could encounter difficulties.

Database Administrator Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, database administrators earned a median annual wage of $98,860 in 2020. BLS projects, furthermore, that there will be 10 percent more jobs for database administrators in 2029 than there were in 2019. This rate of job growth is faster than the average.

This growth is driven by an increase in data needs in different areas of the economy. More organizations need database administrators to organize data and present the data in understandable formats to stakeholders.

Min salary


Average salary


Top salary


Entry-Level Database Administrator Job Requirements

To get an entry-level job as a database administrator, you need to have an Associate Degree in Information Technology or a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. Employers also accept graduates from coding bootcamps who have been trained for the job.

What Does a Database Administrator Do?

What Does a Database Administrator Do?

A DBA manages the database and also makes it available when the company needs it. An administrator also backs up the database and makes sure the data is available and readable to organizations. It is a critical role in many IT departments.

Here are some of the main roles of a database administrator.

Maintaining the Database

The DBA has the responsibility of maintaining the database and ensuring that it functions properly. This expert performs routine tests and also modifies the system to make sure that the database continues to run correctly.

If there is a problem with the database, the database administrator has to analyze the hardware and programs to identify the problem. Also, the DBA performs necessary alterations and repairs.

Storage and Organization

DBAs are also responsible for the storage and organization of a company’s database. You will present, use, and analyze the database with database management software.

You will also manage storage needs. This can include integrating data from an old system into a new system, or setting up new computer databases.

Producing Reports

Database administrators respond to the organization’s changing information needs. If the company wants new types of data to be accumulated, this will fall under your responsibility as a DBA. You will also have to flag these needs as they arise.

The DBA is also responsible for adapting the database software to take in new data points and make new reports when they become necessary.

Database Administrator Certifications

Certifications prepare you for the workforce and prove that you are a skilled professional. There are a few certifications you can choose from to give you an edge over other candidates.

Oracle DBA Certifications

These certifications focus on the advanced skills and knowledge required of database administrators. Some of the topics include recovery, deployment of backups, and cloud computing. Students can take several courses and pass the exam to gain certification.

Microsoft DBA Certifications

Microsoft also has some certifications for database administrators. For SQL Server, Microsoft offers three database-specific certifications. These go from entry-level to expert. This way, newbies can qualify for certifications. The Microsoft Technology Associate certification is for entry-level database administrators.

MySQL DBA Certification

Also offered by Oracle, this certification will showcase your advanced understanding of MySQL. It also proves you know how to back up a database and perform other important tasks. If you pass the single exam, you will gain a certification that can be added to your resume.

How to Prepare for Your Database Administrator Job Interview

How to Prepare for Your Database Administrator Job Interview

Interviewing for a database administrator position can be a smooth process. Knowing what to expect can help you ace your interview. You should also ask questions to discover if the company is a good fit for your skills.

Below are some questions to expect.

Database Administrator Job Interview Practice Questions

  • What sort of databases have you worked with during your DBA training?
  • What is Oracle? What tasks can you run with it?
  • How can you handle the loss of data during a database migration?
  • How can you verify that the company’s connections are on a secure protocol?

How Long Does it Take to Become a Database Administrator?

Becoming a database administrator can take weeks or years. It depends largely on the method of education you choose. For instance, community colleges award associate degrees to students after about two years, while you will have to study at university for four years to gain a degree.

In some cases, you may need extra training and this could extend the time further. A coding bootcamp is the shortest alternative here. It takes a few short weeks to complete and uses a practical approach. Students are able to gather critical experience before the program ends.

Associate degree


Bachelor’s degree


Master’s degree


Should You Become a Database Administrator in 2021?

Database administration has come a long way. With the advancement in technology, more organizations are relying on data to make decisions. This has increased the demand for DBAs. This demand will not be stalling anytime soon.

You should become a database administrator in 2021 because it has excellent potential for growth. The skills you will learn can be used in other professions, so you will remain relevant in the workforce for years to come.

Database Administrator FAQ

How long does it take to become a database administrator?

A few weeks to seven years. Depending on the chosen educational track, you can finish the training and be ready for the workforce. For some methods like community colleges, it may take a longer time.

What does a database administrator do?

A DBA handles the storage and organization of data with specialized software. These experts are also responsible for backing up and recovering data for an organization.

Database administrators handle configuration, installation, design, and migration of the database.

What skills do you need to become a database administrator?

To thrive as a DBA, you need plenty of technical skills. You must know how to troubleshoot and monitor the database. You also need programming language skills and a good knowledge of statistics.

Is database administration a good career path to follow?

A database administrator has an important role in organizations. They are the gatekeepers of key data. It is a good job with great growth potential and a rewarding salary.

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