Database administrators (DBAs) are in charge of storing and organizing a company’s data. That makes them incredibly valuable employees, because without organized and well-maintained data, many firms literally have nothing. With that in mind, what’s an “average” database administrator salary?
According to an analysis of Dice data, the “average” database administrator salary is $93,435. Specializing in certain kinds of platforms can spike that still higher: for example, Oracle DBAs can pull down an average of $103,126, while SQL DBAs can rack up $95,501.
Becoming a DBA takes quite a bit of education. You’ll need to know database theory and design (i.e., what data needs to be stored, how that data should be classified, and how data elements relate to one another). And of course, DBAs must be well-versed in storage technologies, the client-server model, networking, and how to maintain, recover, and roll over databases.
Fortunately, online courses from Udacity and other vendors can teach you the basics of database theory, if you haven’t already learned it. Many DBAs major in computer science before taking courses in database-related subjects. Certifications are also important, and have the added benefit of boosting the average database administrator salary; for example, many tech pros who want to work with databases can obtain certifications from IBM or Oracle.
On a day-to-day basis, database administrators must plan storage requirements (whether on-premises or in the cloud), maintain database security and any licensing agreements, optimize performance, and make sure that backups as in place. They must also explain these activities to other stakeholders within the organization, such as executives, which means they need solid “soft skills.”
Those interested in becoming a DBA should know that the role has changed somewhat over the past few years. Traditionally, DBAs focused on making sure that data was well-structured, which in turn optimized application performance; but the rise of platforms such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases deemphasized the need for structure somewhat. The rise of data analytics in the cloud has also changed how DBAs manage their systems.
But as the data industry evolves, one thing remains constant: DBAs must be vigilant about ensuring data integrity. Without that, any databases (and the products that rely on them) are a wreck. It’s an important job, which explains why the average database administrator salary is so high.