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SQL DBASQL DBA stands for Structured Query Language Database Administrator. This person is one of the many people who help maintain users and resources for a company’s database. The database is where all the company’s customer’s information is stored, their product information is stored and all employee records are held. A database needs to be maintained seven days a week and 24-hours per day, so generally there are many SQL DBAs on duty for larger companies. If you are new to SQL databases, you can take an introduction to SQL class or an Oracle fundamentals class to learn more about it.

The Duties of a DBA

The database administrator is responsible for maintaining the company’s database in SQL. SQL is a language that is used for the database. There are other languages that can be used also, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, dBase and others. SQL came along in about 1986 and has been a very popular database query language that most people are familiar with.

The DBA needs to maintain the database’s integrity and make sure it is updated whenever a new version is released. They are also responsible for setting up and maintaining the users of the database. They grant permissions so that people and other programs can access the database and use it to do their work. For instance, the blog software Word Press operates by using a database. So, the Word Press blog needs to have a user name and password configured for it so that it can operate. The DBA would issue that user name and password.

DBAs also checks the information and fields in the database to make sure nothing has corrupted. From time to time, for whatever reason, things can get messed up. It will be the DBA that has to go into the database and start fixing things and must stop whatever it was that caused the meltdown. It is for this reason the DBAs will be on call 24/7. When the database gets corrupted, they have to start working on it immediately and get it working smoothly once again.

Security is a huge job and it is also the DBA’s responsibility to ensure viruses and malware do not take control of the company’s database. The DBA will stay on top of current trends in hacking and security in order to plug security holes. With security, things can change fast and it is a constant battle to keep viruses, malware and hackers out of the company database.

Running frequent back-ups is part of the DBA’s duties and loading back-ups when the database crashes. When data is lost, it is the DBA that will restore it or repair it.

Usually, it is the responsibility of the DBA along with other types of administrators to come up with maintenance schedules and to implement them. The database needs to be kept in tip top condition and the company’s ability to function relies heavily on that.

SQL DBA Salary

The SQL DBA is usually on call for a small company. If the database crashes at 3AM, it is the DBA that is called into work to get it running again. This position is usually a paid salary position because of this. So, you will not likely get overtime when you have to work in the middle of the night or on a holiday.

The average SQL DBA salary in 2012 was about $77,000 per year. That worked out to about $37.06 per hour. On the high end, a DBA earns over $100,000 per year in some industries and on the low end, around $40,000 per year in other industries. The salary for this position in the past few years has been on the increase. It is estimated that the salary for a DBA is increasing at about 7% per year, which is about double the rate of inflation.

Education Requirement to Become a SQL DBA

Usually a larger company will require that you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science in order to be hired as a SQL DBA. Also, the candidate for this job will have a few years of experience working in a related field before they are hired as a DBA. A smaller company will, many times, overlook a formal college education if the job candidate learned how to maintain databases in SQL while on the job. However, the pay will likely be on the lower end of the salary scale due to the lack of a college education.

Some larger companies will require the job applicant to have a master’s degree in computer information technologies or computer science.

Certification in the language used by the company is often a requirement of the position. The company wants to make certain you understand the language of their database and having a certification is a good way to prove that.

Job Outlook for SQL DBAs

This industry is a growing industry. It is predicted that the need for SQL DBAs is only going to increase between now and 2022. This makes for job security. If you go into this database maintenance field then you should not have to worry about being able to find work. The industry is growing at a rate of about 15% each year which is faster than most industries.

In 2012, there were over 118,000 DBAs and they worked in various industries. Insurance companies and banks hire a lot of DBAs, but so do retail companies and healthcare companies. Of course, companies that are computer related, such as data processing companies and Internet service providers hired the majority of DBAs – about 16% of all DBA jobs.

Getting Started as a SQL DBA

If you are interested in working in the field of database management, you can take an online course in SQL DBA for beginners. If you would rather specialize in Microsoft’s technology then a class in Microsoft SQL Server 101 will bring you up to speed on that technology. A college degree may or may not be required of you for the job, but it will certainly help your rate of pay. The better the college degree then the better the pay rate for a SQL DBA.

Page Last Updated: April 2014

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