Is a career as a database administrator right for you?

  • Andrej Kovačević
  • 19 Feb 2019

Find out if a career in data administration is right for you. 


Database administrators are in high demand in the UK. Considering the favourable employment outlook for these professionals, there are opportunities for both school leavers and graduates to succeed with careers in database administration. This is a career in which your skillset matters more than your formal education. It’s possible to learn many of the necessary database administration skills by taking massive online courses (MOOCS), reading the latest books and practicing on your own. However, it is beneficial to have formal education in the topics most closely related to the career. These include maths, computer science, information technology management, business information systems, and software engineering.

Database administrator job description

Employers are likely to hold database administrators responsible for a broad variety of functions. Their primary job is to oversee the storage, organisation, retrieval, management and archiving of their hiring organisation’s critical data in suitable databases. Updating databases and database infrastructure is also likely to be high up on a database administrator’s list of duties.

Troubleshooting problems is a necessary part of the job. Many employers need their database administrators to work regular hours, yet some are also expected be available at any time to troubleshoot if database problems arise after the usual work day has ended.

Database administrators might also be accountable for implementing and maintaining security best practices in regards to the safekeeping of the data in their databases. Along with the need for security comes a need for managing who is allowed to have access to the data, and under what circumstances each individual is allowed to access it. If the data is to be accessed by many others outside the IT department, creating documentation and training programs for the database and its related systems might also be part of the job description.

Database administrator salaries

According to the experts at the national careers service, database administrators typically earn annual salaries ranging from £22,000 to £70,000. Most database professionals are working an average work week of 37-39 hours to earn this amount of compensation.

Strong communication abilities are another essential facet of a database administrator’s skillset. 

How to become a database administrator

There are multiple approaches you can take if you want to become a database administrator. One of the most straightforward paths into the career involves taking database administration and development courses. It is also possible to enter the career through apprenticeships and by approaching prospective employers directly.

Skills you’ll need for becoming a database administrator

There’s a list of high-demand database administrator skills posted on the ITJobsWatch website. Structured Query Language (SQL) skills top the list. Five of the top 10 skills involve SQL in some capacity. Many employers are seeking candidates who have experience working with Microsoft products including Windows and Microsoft Azure. Oracle, Linux and Amazon AWS are other in-demand skills for this position.

Strong communication abilities are another essential facet of a database administrator’s skillset. The database administrator must frequently maintain contact with colleagues in multiple departments. Often, the database systems must be maintained in such a way as to be useable by staff in multiple departments of the hiring organisation.

Who hires database administrators?

A broad variety of businesses need database administrators. As “big data” becomes more prevalent, employers across all industries are collecting ever-increasing amounts of data. Much of the data is being stored in databases, and so database administrators have a steady stream of work in their pick of industries.

There’s particularly strong demand for database professionals in the UK’s financial services sector. Other sectors that hire database administrators include governments, IT companies, healthcare facilities, universities, media companies, non-profit organisations and consultancies.

The job of database administrator is an appealing one right now. Between the strong demand for database administrators, the broad variety of industries they can work in and the favourable prospects for career advancement, it’s an excellent time to pursue a career as a database administrator.


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