Database Administrator

Female database administrator checks data on her laptop in a darkish room filled with stacks of computer servers
Career Clusters: Information Technology

What you need to know


Database administrators (DBAs) 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.

What does a database administrator do?

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.

Some of the things a database administrator might do:

  • Ensure that organizational data are secure
  • Backup 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

Watch this video to learn about what our database administrator role models do in their careers:

What skills are needed?
  • Analytical skills: DBAs must monitor a database system’s performance to determine when action is needed. They must evaluate complex information that comes from a variety of sources.
  • Communication skills: Most database administrators work on teams and need to communicate effectively with developers, managers, and other workers.
  • Detail oriented: Working with databases requires an understanding of complex systems, in which a minor error can cause major problems. For example, mixing up customers’ credit card information can cause someone to be charged for a purchase he or she didn’t make.
  • Problem-solving skills: When database problems arise, administrators must troubleshoot and correct the problems.

Watch this video to learn more from our database administrator role models:

What is the pay?

The average pay for database administrators in the United States was $101,510 in May 2023 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

About 10,200 new job openings for both database administrators and architects are projected each year, on average, over the next 10 years in the United States. In 2022 there were about 85,200 database administrators and 64,000 database architects working in the United States.

Overall employment of database administrators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2022 to 2032 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies in all sectors of the economy.

Database-as-a-service, which allows third parties to do database administration online, is becoming more popular. This is expected to increase employment of database administrators at cloud computing firms in the data processing, hosting, and related services industry.

What education is required to become a database administrator?

Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject such as computer science. Firms with large databases may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.

Database administrators need an understanding of database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, commonly called SQL. Most database systems use some variation of SQL, and a DBA will need to become familiar with whichever programming language the firm uses.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Computer Science or Information Systems.

Watch this video to learn more from our database administrator role models: