How do I Become a Database Administrator?

Gabriele Sturmer
Gabriele Sturmer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Database administrators manage company databases and create backup records, perform software installation and insure the integrity of data in the database. If one wants to become a database administrator, a combination of experience and education usually is required. In addition to a college degree, employers might look for candidates who hold specialized certifications in database management and candidates who have done internships in a related field. Database administration also requires that one has excellent communication skills, can think logically and can concentrate on working with data for a long period of time.

A technical or bachelor's degree that specializes in computer science, information systems management or information technology can help prepare a candidate to become a database administrator. These degrees typically include classes in networking, database administration, programming, system analysis and design, website design and project management. One will learn how data is organized and will be able to manage it effectively in a business environment. Although a college degree might not be required for entry level positions, some employers require a degree for future promotions.

Certifications can also help one become a database administrator. Employers vary on the certifications that they prefer, because each company can use a different brand of database management software. Regardless of any vendor-specific certification, specializing in structured query language (SQL) is helpful because it can be used across platforms. If one decides to gain a certification, online courses and study guides can be helpful for preparation.

Many employers want a candidate to have relevant experience to become a database administrator. Some colleges have internships that allow one to try out the field of database administration and gain valuable job experience. Although some of these internships are unpaid, it is possible to receive a paid job after the internship is completed. In any case, one can take the skills learned from the internship and use it as an advantage for future job interviews. In addition to those just starting out, experience is important to seasoned database administrators who are interested in management positions as well.

Besides education and experience, it requires a specific personality to become a database administrator. Database administrators are responsible for a large amount of data, so they must pay close attention to detail and not feel overwhelmed by the large amount of information. Critical thinking skills also are useful because database administrators have to be able to design databases based on the needs of the organization. One must be able to react quickly if something goes wrong, especially when the company's data depends on it.

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