Database management system specialist salary & career outlook

DBA career

Database management system specialists (also called database administrators) work with a company's information systems to plan, analyze and enhance the way data is stored and accessed. These specialists must be able to troubleshoot problems and fully understand the database platform.

Organizations rely on database management system specialists to keep databases running, add new users to the system and ensure information security. Most databases connect to the Internet, so database management system specialists must protect information from viruses and other online security threats.

Database administrators should enjoy problem-solving and be able to work well with others. In addition to technical skills, database management system specialists should have strong communication skills and the ability to multi-task.

Database management system specialists salary: 2010

Like other technology-based professions, a career in database management can be financially rewarding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrators earned a median annual wage of $75,730 in 2010. The top 10 percent of these administrators earned a median 2010 wage of $115,660. Salary.com reported an even higher median wage of $86,620 in June 2011.

As in most professions, fluctuations in database administrator salaries can be traced to experience, industry and geographic location. According to the BLS, the computer systems design industry employed the largest number of database administrators in 2010, and it paid an average wage of $84,280. Natural gas distribution, which employed only 100 database administrators in 2010, offered the highest average salary of $97,990.

The following states paid the highest average wages for database administrators in 2010:

  • California
  • New Jersey
  • Washington
  • Delaware
  • Virginia

However, the same salary doesn't go as far in San Francisco as it does in Dallas. When considering cost of living alongside average wage, database management system specialists have the highest relative salary in the following metropolitan areas:

  • Dallas, Texas: $78,840
  • Atlanta, Ga.: $80,070
  • Raleigh-Cary, N.C.: $92,600
  • Minneapolis, Minn.: $81,990
  • Chicago, Ill.: $80,460

Regardless of industry or location, database management system specialists must have the proper education and training to reach their maximum earning potential.

Database management system specialists training

A bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or management information systems is the minimum requirement for most database administrator positions. Computer science bachelor's degree programs typically require four years of full-time study and include coursework in computer programming, computer engineering, mathematics, information systems and statistics. If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, database management system specialist training online can help you qualify for an entry-level position.

In addition to a bachelor's degree, employers look for database management experience and many prefer candidates with an MBA. Because database administrators play a crucial role in the day-to-day business operations of organizations, an MBA with a technology focus can be a great asset.

Career outlook for database management system specialists

According to the BLS, employment of database administrators is expected to increase by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018. This growth rate is much faster than the national average, and it will be driven by organizations' need to handle ever-increasing amounts of data. Information security will continue to be a top priority, and companies will rely on database administrators to protect data from online threats.

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