Tech & Work

Need job security? Be a database administrator

Experts predict that the DBA will be one of the fastest growing occupations in America. How do you get on the DBA path?

Experts predict that the DBA will be one of the fastest growing occupations in America. How do you get on the DBA path?

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The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) predicts DBA will be one of the fastest growing occupations in America through 2012. Companies are amassing an incredible amount of stored electronic information and need someone to keep it organized and safe. Also, e-business solutions are dependent on databases.

How do you get on the DBA path? If you're just starting out, you can pursue a degree in computer science. There are two-year and four-year degrees available, but many experts say that if you choose the four-year degree, you should also add classes in business administration, math, or commerce to make you more valuable to an employer.

In a piece this week in Career Pro News, associate professor of computer science Anthony Bonner explains:

"If you just want to be a DBA, I wouldn't go for a four-year degree. If you're more concerned about your long-term future, I'd go for a four-year degree. Or if you want access to the higher paying jobs."

Bonner explains that although you may learn a good deal about database systems in a four-year degree, you may not learn the specific skills of a DBA. That can be learned in a shorter course or on the job. But a degree, he says, gives you a greater knowledge base and better options for the future.

"It's a bit like the difference between going to nursing school and going to medical school.

If you're already in the IT field, you might want to go the certification route. Since Oracle has the most widely used database system in the world, becoming an Oracle certified professional would be a good place to start. Microsoft also offers a certified database administrator training program.

What kind of salary can you expect as a DBA? According to the Occupational Employment Statistics, the mean annual salary for DBAs in 2004 was $64,380. And of course, as is the case with most occupations, the more experience you have, the better the salary will be.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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