What is a Database Administrator?

By Eric Hammer

Quick Jeopardy style question - what was Chandler Bing's job? If you answered, what is a database administrator, then you wouldn't be too far off the mark (officially, his job was "statistical analysis and data reconfiguration," but that's basically a fancy way of saying that he was a database administrator). Oh, and if you have no idea who Chandler Bing is, then you probably missed one of the best TV shows of the 1990s (Friends).

Anyway, getting back to the question of what is a database administrator, he (or she) is basically someone who makes sure that all the information flowing into a company is collated correctly and is made available to anyone who needs it whenever it needs to be made available.

You'll need to know how to work with computers and to set up complex databases and possibly also content management systems to make sure that your company can easily access whatever material may be needed at any given time.

How Much Can You Make?

According to the bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a database administrator tend to be anywhere from $72,900 to as much as $81,050. Keep in mind however that those numbers were generated in 2008 so the average salaries should be somewhat higher today, accounting for inflation.

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In general, you need to think logically and be able to track down problems in lines of code. Basically, if you really want to know the answer to the question, what is a database administrator, he or she is basically a kind of specialized computer programmer.

You could also potentially work as a computer programmer as well or even as a content management programmer (all highly related fields) and earn a similar salary. Some database managers also tend to take jobs setting up databases rather than maintaining them, leaving the maintenance to less experienced technicians.

Qualifications / Requirements

You'll need a college degree in computer science or some related field in order to get a job as a database manager. It often helps as well to get a masters degree, though a doctorate is not necessary. Having a very analytical mind is also extremely important if you want to get work in this field.

First Steps

Start by going to college and earning your degree in computer science or information technology. Ask at your school for specialized classes which focus on database administration as well so that you can learn the right programming languages and how to use specific types of software that you'll need in order to do this job effectively.


WiseGeek: What is a Database Administrator? - A shorter, easier to understand article which offers you the basic information need to answer the question.

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