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How Do I Become a Senior Database Administrator?

Vicki Hogue-Davies
Vicki Hogue-Davies

Database administrators are responsible for managing the data of organizations using computer database management software. Senior database administrators are high-level experts in the profession. To become a senior database administrator involves first earning at least a four-year degree in computer science, information technology or a similar field. It can also involve becoming certified as a database administrator through a computer software vendor or professional computer organization. Several years of experience working in the field is also typical of people who become senior database administrators.

For some senior-level positions, a master's degree in database administration or a related area might be required. For other positions, having an advanced degree might make you more attractive to employers as they try to decide among job candidates. If you are already working in a database administration position and have the requisite skills and experience, earning a master's degree can signal to your employer that you are ready to be moved into a senior role. The time it takes to earn an advanced degree varies among schools and degree programs, but in general, it can take anywhere from one to three years.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Once you are working in a database administration role, gaining superior knowledge in all facets of database management including organizing, analyzing and presenting data and being able to quickly troubleshoot problems will help you to become a senior database administrator. An understanding of computer security to work with Internet network administrators can also be important in the job. Learning database design in addition to database management might give you a more well-rounded appeal to employers.

Receiving certification in the more commonly used vendor database management software can make you more attractive in the job market. If you are already working for a company and want to move up to a senior level, becoming certified in the vendor software your company uses might give you an edge when it comes time for promotions. Certification requirements vary depending upon the vendor or organization offering them, but generally involve taking an examination that demonstrates expertise. Some certifications require that a candidate have a specific amount of time working in the field before applying to take examinations.

Along with technical expertise, senior database administrators should have strong leadership skills to lead teams and supervise other personnel. Good verbal and written communications skills are also important. Having a detail-oriented personality that is also flexible enough to see the big picture will also help you to become a senior database administrator.

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