A database administrator, sometimes referred to as a database manager is the position of dealing with databases. This involves:
- Creating a database
- Maintaining the database
- Taking care of the integrity of data
- Updating the database
Every company needs to have a database containing useful information, be that for employees or clients. Usually, companies hire the database administrator from the beginning to create the database. This gives the leverage of not spending time to deal with unknown tables and data created before. But, there are scenarios where you’ll be asked to merge old and new databases. You have to make sure that the databases will operate correctly.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics have predicted a 11% national growth for database administrators. So this is a great time to learn how to become a database administrator.
Getting into the field of databases requires having a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree would be even better. The field you need to graduate from could be management information systems, computer science or any related field.
While licensure or certification is not required, there is a huge advantage if you’re certified. You can get certified in:
- IBM Certified Database Administrator
- Microsoft SQL Server database certifications
- Oracle Certified professional MySQL Database Administrator
- Oracle Database 12c Administrator
Additionally, you need to have experience in the field. Usually, the openings in the database administrator position requires 1-5 years experience.
The key skills you need to have as a database administrator are analytical and critical thinking among others. You need to do operations analysis and have decision-making skills. Obviously, you need to be able to use a database management.
According to this article of Payscale, the average salary varies from $45,000 to $109,000 yearly.
The 4 main steps on becoming a database administrator
Let’s break down the main question of this article: How to become a database administrator.
There are 4 main steps you need to overcome in order to achieve your goal:
- Get a bachelor’s degree
- Get experience in the database field
- Work as a database manager
- Earn a master’s degree (Optional)
Simple, right? Not entirely.
Getting a bachelor’s degree
Based on studies, the majority of database administrators have bachelor’s degree in related fields. The bachelor’s degree gives you the chance to learn the fundamentals of databases. Usually, in the bachelor’s program for databases include courses in MySQL. This allows you to know the nature of how databases work.
Usually, the courses cover topics like:
- Discrete structures
- Web page applications
- Database systems
- Data structures
- Data mining
- Distributed systems
- Database management systems
These will introduce you perfectly on the nature of how databases work and will allow you to excel in them.
If you want to overcome the “competition”, you can always take an internship. Companies have positions opened for students who want to learn more while they study. The timing’s perfect and you can work/learn part time.
The internships introduce you to the real world of databases, and how they are used in real life. On the plus side, if you impress the employers you might get a full time job after you finish your degree. Therefore, it’s a win-win.
Get experience on the field
The very first steps you will take as to become a database administrator is to first work as a database developer or analyst.
The database developers usually design the database and implement the database technologies. Also, it involves collecting information to integrate into databases and analyze them. While the data analyst collects the data and analyzes them. Both of these careers, however require a bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, in order to get more experience you need to get certified. The big companies like Microsoft, Cisco and SQL offer great opportunities to do so. You can get certified by doing voluntary work and if you excel you will get certified. These certifications will help you a lot on getting hired and promoting yourself.
Additionally, to get those certifications you need to pass a training program and demonstrating your proficiency.
Getting experience on the field is the key to becoming a database administrator. The experience you gain over the years will help you deal with any problem or challenge you might face in the future. Make sure to read a lot, and challenge yourself with new problems. Additonally, the more you learn the more experience you get and the faster you get to the goal of becoming a database administrator.
Work as database administrator
After completing 1-5 years of experience, you’re officially qualified as a database administrator.
You may apply for jobs openings for a database administrator, where your duties may involve:
- Ensuring the databases work perfectly
- Easy-to-use databases
- Analyze the data
- Protect the integrity of the data
- Update and migrate the data
As you pursue your career as a database administrator, you will get to face a lot of new challenges. Most people in this position face problems like:
- Growing complexity in landscape
- Limitations in the scalability
- Increasing the volumes of the data
- Security and integrity of the data
- Decentralized data management.
These are too, problems you might face so you need to be prepared for them.
Get a master’s degree in Database Management
Although this step is optional, it’s not less important than the others.
The BLS reported that big companies tend to hire people with a higher degree rather than the ones with lower ones.
A master’s degree will allow you to be more professional and will help you evolve your resume with more important mentions. The courses you can take are:
- Science information Technology
- Business intelligence
- Information systems
- Software engineering management
These will help you develop a deeper understanding how databases work and how you can improve them. Each course has a lot of useful information that will shape your professional career.
To recap, in order to become a database administrator you need to get a bachelor’s degree, get experience in the field and be considered a database administrator. Getting a master’s degree is optional, but really well received.
Alicia Newman is a 29-year-old programming professor who enjoys working with computers, and solve programming challenges. She is an Australian citizen and has a very exciting and bright personality. She is currently a PhD candidate.