Database Specialist: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a database specialist. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Database Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Database Specialist?

Database specialists work with the latest information security software and support business operations by organizing large amounts of data. They are responsible for making sure data is stored properly and backed up, while using necessary security measures so that the data remains safe. They work closely with organization managers to make sure the database is functioning properly and working well. These professionals typically master the use of a special database language known as SQL (Structured Query Language). The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Management Information Systems, Computer Science
Key Responsibilities Identify user needs, data security, merging data files, maintaining and testing databases
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (for all database administrators)*
Medium Salary (2017) $81,710 (for all database administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to be a Database Specialist?

Bachelor's degree programs in computer science or information technology prepare individuals for this career. Programs may cover various computer science skills other than database skills, including systems analysis and web development. They provide training in computer information processing and database management. You might also learn about computer design, programming, computer hardware and data storage.

Classes usually combine didactic and hands-on training. These degrees may also be offered online, but you might have to purchase required software. The following are examples of courses you might find in the curriculum:

  • Operating systems
  • Database administration
  • Network fundamentals
  • Microcomputers
  • Database recovery

What Are the Job Duties?

Database specialists develop databases for business and organizations. As a database specialist, you might be responsible for ensuring data is protected and can be easily retrieved. You can expect to use one or more industry-standard database systems, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Filemaker Pro or Sybase. You may also be in charge of designing, implementing and repairing database elements. Database specialists are often responsible for ongoing system tests and database backup functions.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for database administrators was $81,710, as of 2015. Those working in computer systems design and related services earned a median salary of $92,770.

Do I Need Certification?

Certifications are not required to work as a database specialist. However, earning certification may be helpful when looking for jobs. Certifications are available in a number of specialties and software applications and are available through product vendors, training organizations and computer associations. Many degree programs in this field train you for some common and useful certifications. Examples of certifications are as follows:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CIW Web Foundations Associate
  • CIW Database Design Specialist
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Database Developer 2008

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may also be interested in becoming a computer and information systems manager, which requires a similar educational background. These professionals are responsible for running and maintaining all of the computer-related technology for an organization. You could also pursue a career as a computer systems analyst. This career involves helping organizations run as efficiently as possible by analyzing all of the computer and information systems and making sure they are working smoothly.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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