Database Administrator Careers by Wanda Leibowitz

Database administrators are often confused with computer systems analysts and even computer scientists. While these three careers are often lumped together when it comes to reporting trends and salaries, each career has its own set of job duties, educational requirements, and even salary. Database administrators coordinate changes to computer databases and test and implement the database by applying knowledge of database management systems.

These professionals also plan, coordinate, and implement security measures to safeguard computer databases. Computer systems analysts analyze science, engineering, business, and all other data-processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Computer scientists work as researchers, theorists, and inventors. They do everything from creating programming languages to designing robots. See the differences?

The number of database administrators is expected to grow from 119,000 to 154,000 by 2016. These figures represent a 28.6 percent increase in job growth over the next six years. Job growth is expected to grow at such a rapid pace thanks to advances in technology, workers that advance to other careers or retire, and changes in security standards. Anyone interested in entering this field can expect to find plenty of opportunities in every sector, but computer systems design will have the most offerings. In addition, there will be a strong demand for seasonal employees, independent contractors, temporary employees, and telecommuters as companies slowly begin to regroup and restructure.

Not only is the demand for database administrators on the rise, their salaries are on the rise as well. Database administrators earned an average salary of $67,250 per year in 2009. In 2008, they earned an average annual average salary of $64,670. This means between 2008-2009, database administrators' salaries increased by nearly 4 percent, which is excellent in the nation's current economy. Database administrators earn around $83,830-$103,100 per year on the high end and $37,350 per year on the low end (entry-level).

If you want to become a part of a growing industry that offers competitive salaries, you can begin by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in information science, management information systems, or computer science. It is important to note that more and more employers are paying close attention to applicants with a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a focus in information systems, mainly because these businesses plan to move their operations to the Internet.

If you would like to start out at the community college level and work your way up, you will find that most community colleges and independent technical institutions and proprietary schools offer an associate's degree in computer science or a related field. Not only will an associate degree prepare you for study at a 4-year institution, it can also help you get a foot in the door at a number of companies that need entry-level help. It is not uncommon for database administrators to work in the field while earning their bachelor's or master's degree.

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