Job descriptions and industry overviews

Database administrator: job description

19 Jul 2023, 09:07

Database administrators are responsible for managing access to systems that store company information.

A database administrator looking at a data report on their laptop screen.

Database administrator : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Database administrators (also known as database managers) take care of company databases so that information is stored securely and only available to authorised people. Database administrators also need to ensure that these people can access the information they need at the times they need it, and that it is in the format they need.

Typical duties include :

  • managing database access and permissions.
  • ensuring that databases meet users’ requirements.
  • liaising with programmers, applications/operational staff, IT project managers and other technical staff.
  • reviewing and managing database security, integrity and backup procedures.
  • writing operating manuals and providing training and support for database use.
  • devising and implementing processes for resolving faults and data loss.
  • writing disaster recovery plans.
  • archiving data.

Some database administrators are involved in designing and testing databases. This work can also be carried out by database architects, who have a more strategic role.

In a smaller company, you’re likely to have more responsibility. On the flipside, if you work for a large organisation, you may have more opportunities to work on specialist projects or aspects of the role.

Database administrators may need to work to tight deadlines or long hours, especially if there is a data breach or security incident. You may also need to be available for call-outs on evenings and weekends.

Graduate salaries

Starting salaries for database administrators tend to be around £24,000 according to the UK Government. Earnings increase with experience: senior database administrators can earn around £55,000.

Typical employers of database administrators

You can typically find employment as a database administrator at:

  • Financial organisations.
  • IT companies.
  • Management consultancy firms.
  • Retailers.
  • Software companies.
  • Universities and academic institutions.
  • Hospitals.
  • Local authorities.
  • Central government.
  • Charities.
  • Any organisation that stores large amounts of information and data.

With experience, you could become self-employed and take on contract or freelance work.

Jobs are advertised on targetjobs , via careers services and on specialist sites. Some IT graduate schemes include database administration – so don’t overlook these.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into the profession for both school leavers and graduates.

You can enter the profession with a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in a relevant subject such as computer science, software engineering, electronic engineering, mathematics or physics. For graduates without a related STEM qualification or relevant experience, studying a postgraduate qualification in IT can help kickstart a career as a database administrator as many of these are designed to help you ‘convert’ to a career in IT.

To find out more, read our guide to postgraduate conversion courses for careers in IT .

Database administrators learn a lot ‘on the job’, but previous work experience will help you secure a role and settle in easily. You can build this through IT or technology-related industrial placements, summer internships and insight days. You could also look at short courses in different database management systems (such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL) and programming languages (such as SQL and Python). These will cover both the theory behind database administration and provide opportunities to apply it.

You’ll continue to learn throughout your career in database administration, and it’s essential that you enjoy learning.

Key skills for database administrators

To be successful a a database administrator, you'll need:

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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