How To Become a Database Administrator in 2023

Database administration is nowadays one of the most demanding jobs in the IT sector. According to research, an experienced database administrator earns around $100,000 per year. So, if you are looking to pursue a career as a Database Administrator and you are not sure where to begin, here is a comprehensive guide for you. In this article, we will discuss how to become a Database Administrator and what skills you need to acquire to become a Database Administrator. We will cover everything from basic definitions, salaries, job descriptions, certifications, skills, and educational requirements. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Database Administrator (DBA)?
database administrator

The Database Administrator (DBA) is a data specialist responsible for understanding and managing the overall database environment as well as ensuring that an organization’s database and its related applications run smoothly. They build and maintain databases that are compatible with their companies’ requirements. It is their responsibility to update databases, store them, protect them, and troubleshoot their problems.

What does a Database Administrator (DBA) do?

Database Administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data. They manage the development of a company’s databases to keep key data available only to authorized users. A Database Administrator provides secure access to databases and manages backup solutions to prevent loss of data in case of a system failure.

Additional responsibilities of a Database Administrator may include:

  • Develop stages of a database system

  • Secure organizational data

  • Restore/backup lost data

  • Create permissions for new users

  • Testing of modifications

  • Merging of old databases

  • Conduct performance tuning support

Furthermore, Database Administrators (DBAs) develop, install, test, troubleshoot, and maintain the vast data systems inside the organizations that store information. Database developers work on commercial or e-commerce websites. They develop and secure network structures that store and return information based on Internet queries.

How long does it take to become a Database Administrator (DBA)?

Well, it takes about two to seven years to become an entry-level Database Administrator (DBA). However, if you succeed to get your first job as a Database Administrator (DBA), it should not take more than three years before you can develop any sort of competency as an expert Database Administrator (DBA).

Database Administrator (DBA) Salary:

Database Administrators (DBAs) are among the five highest-paying IT careers. In general, they earn more than network systems, data communication analysts, and telecommunication specialists. We have listed state-wise database administrator salaries here.

Usually, Database Administrators are employed in full-time salaried positions. However, many companies prefer to hire DBAs on a contract basis for special database projects. You can expect the following salary ranges when searching for a Database Administrator (DBA) position:

Career LevelExperienceSalary in US Dollars
Entry Level0-12 Months$58,292 per year
Early Career1-4 Years$70,697 per year
Mid-Career5-9 Years$88,588 per year
Experienced Career10-19 Years$100,167 per year
Does Database Administration require coding?

Having the ability to code is a requirement for many tech careers. Even though most Database Administrators (DBAs) have development experience, they are not required to write code. If you are not proficient at coding, you do not have to worry. To be a Database Administrator (DBA), you don’t need to be a top programmer in a programming language.

However, you will need to have excellent analytical skills and a solid understanding of how to design the database from scratch. This will ensure that there is data integrity, that data can be accessed synchronously without memory outflows, and most importantly that the data is safe and secure.

Database Certifications:

Database Administration training is typically conducted online and leads to DBA certification. One of the most effective ways to show how much you value your data is how much understanding you have about it. The goal is to demonstrate your ability to manage it, so you can get certified.

Companies use many different types of databases. Depending on the specialization, Database Administrators (DBAs) could get hold of certifications that prove they have a broad knowledge of a specific database. Here we will talk about the most popular 5 database certifications.

  • IBM Certified Database Administrator

The IBM Certified Database Administrator is the Lead Database Administrator for the DB2 product on the z/OS operating system. Obtaining this certification demonstrates your ability to navigate an IBM database server. There are two exams required for this certification. A fundamental Certified Database Administrator certification and an Advanced Database Administrator form. The first exam tests your knowledge of daily administration tasks, Structured Query Language, IBM database security, and creating database objects. The second exam evaluates your ability to perform advanced database tasks in security and migration.

  • Microsoft SQL Server Database certification:

Securing Microsoft SQL Server Database certification will demonstrate your ability to introduce and advance MySQL Server, configure replication security, set up backups, and other fundamental tasks. After earning your Microsoft SQL Server Database certification, you can follow up with a variety of Associate Level Microsoft Solutions certifications. It can help you learn basic SQL server skills before starting the three-exam requirement. You can prepare by getting experience on the job, in courses, or by taking practice tests online.

  • Oracle Certification:

Oracle’s program includes three levels of certification, starting with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate (OCA), advancing through the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional (OCP), and coming full circle with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Master (OCM). To earn any Oracle certification, you will have to pass an online exam to show you understand that release version. Many Database Administrators choose to obtain certifications for different versions as various organizations use different releases. To get yourself prepared for an Oracle exam, you can take a variety of online courses.

  • MCDBA Certification:

MCDBA stands for Microsoft Certified Database Administrator. This certification is designed especially for Database Administrators (DBAs) with experience in implementing, designing, and administrating databases with Microsoft SQL Server 2000. You can register for online training to obtain your certification. There are multiple options to study and prepare for the exam, including instructor-led training, practice tests, self-paced training kits, and Microsoft Press books. To obtain this certification, some people prefer instructor-led training. Microsoft suggests a self-preparation method and offers preparation guides for each exam, which include a list of relevant skills students can practice.

On a more positive note, Database Administrator (DBA) certifications typically boost salary potential in this field and can easily lead to a salary jump as high as 10 percent.

A detailed post on database certifications can be found here.

Top 10 Databases you should learn in 2021:

Now we will discuss the top databases which are worth discovering and which you should learn in 2021. Below is the list:

  • Oracle:

Oracle is a database that can run on nearly any operating system. From Oracle, we highlight plenty of profiles with experience in this technology. Oracle has a large number of tools available for its administration and monitoring.

  • IBM DB 2:

After Oracle, IBM DB 2 is the second most used database in UNIX / Linux environments. This is an undeniable winner on Mainframe. IBM Informix makes sure that your vital business data is controlled and secured.

  • Microsoft SQL Server:

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system that is developed by Microsoft. There are a number of available skilled profiles in SQL Server, and it is not difficult to acquire them. Its flexibility and performance are significantly enhanced by its integration with Microsoft Azure.

  • Teradata:

The Teradata Relational Database Management System is one of the most widely used systems. It is mostly suitable for building large-scale data warehousing applications. The Teradata Database provides the most flexible analytical engine in a scalable and manageable data warehouse and is typically used in extensive Big Data systems.

  • Mongo DB:

MongoDB is a cross-platform document-oriented database program, written in C++. It is the most popular database for modern apps. MongoDB is an excellent choice for transactional stores where performance is a major concern. You can work with structured as well as unstructured data.

  • Couchbase Server:

Couchbase Server is originally known as Membase. Couchbase Server’s architecture protects against many types of failure and protects against data loss. It has a very flexible data model that provides consistently high performance and is reliable and secure.

  • Mark Logic Server:

MarkLogic Server is a multi-model and document-oriented database that has both NoSQL and enterprise-class data management capabilities. It supports Windows, Solaris, Red Hat, Suse, CentOS, Amazon Linux, and Mac OS. MarkLogic supports fully ACID transactions which are incredibly unique in a NoSQL system.

  • Non-SQL Key-Value Oriented:

NoSQL key-value databases are the least complicated types of NoSQL databases. Data has been stored as a key or attribute name with its value in it. Each data item has a pointer and a unique key against it which offers significant flexibility and more closely supports modern concepts like object-oriented programming. It is helpful when you are accessing data with a password.

  • EMS SQL Manager:

If you intend to create data analysis components within your dashboard, you can use EMS SQL Manager. EMS SQL Manager for MySQL offers high-performance tools for MySQL database administration and development. It works with any MySQL version from 4.1 to the latest one. It supports the most recent features including MySQL triggers, views, stored procedures, functions, InnoDB foreign keys, Unicode data, etc.

  • Altibase:

Altibase is a high-performance open-source relational database and is compatible with Oracle. Altibase is a single hybrid database that perfectly combines an in-memory database along with an on-disk database into a single database product using a uniform interface that streamlines data processing for the highest effectiveness.

Is SQL the same as MySQL?

SQL is a short abbreviation of Structured Query Language. It is a query language that is used to operate your database. On the other hand, MySQL is a relational database that uses SQL to search a query in the database. There are small syntax changes between different databases, but the fundamental SQL syntax remains mostly the same.

Usually, SQL is used to access, update, and manipulate data in databases, while MySQL is an RDBMS that keeps the data in a database organized.

Educational Qualification for DBA:

Database Administrators require at least a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Sciences, Computer Engineering, or Information Science as a pre-requisite for an entry-level position. DBAs may need a further Master’s degree in Database Administration or Information Technology, depending on the size and complexity of their organization.

How to find database projects?

There are several freelancing platforms available that would help you secure your first database project. You can start with Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. Fiverr and Upwork are my personal favorites although it is difficult to get your first project on Upwork.

I would suggest starting with Fiverr or Freelancer.

Skills required of a Database Administrator (DBA):

Here we will name some basic skills which are required to become a successful DBA:

  • Data modeling and database design

  • Metadata management and use of a repository

  • Database schema creation and management

  • Backup and recovery

  • Data integrity and security

  • Performance management

  • SQL code reviews

  • Procedural skills

  • Capacity planning

  • General database management

  • General systems management and networking skills

  • ERP and business knowledge

  • Storage management techniques

How to become a database administrator without a degree?

You would still need a college degree to get started in database development. If you are a college graduate, you can start by getting certified in one of the major database management systems.

Remember, an organization will always prefer someone with a graduate degree as a database administrator. Without a university degree, the chances of climbing up in an organization are extremely low.

Which Database is easy to learn for beginners?

There are several database management systems out there. I would recommend starting with either MS Access or MySQL. Both of these are easy to learn, and you do not need to buy any expensive software for them. If you already have Office suite, then you would probably have access to MS Access as well. If you do not, get started with MySQL. It’s freely available.


In this article, we discussed database administration in detail. We started with its definition then we talked about the average salary, job requirements, certifications, and most used database management systems. I tried to keep things as simple as possible. I hope you understand all of it. I will publish more articles on database administration in the upcoming days. Keep visiting!

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