Database administrator

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Database administrators (DBAs) plan and build computer systems, and make sure they’re secure and working properly.

Salary Range: £22,000 to £70,000

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How to become a database administrator

You could get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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University

You could study for a higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification before joining a company training scheme. Useful subjects include:

  • computer science
  • business information systems
  • software engineering
  • information technology management
  • mathematics

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to get into this job through a digital and technology solutions specialist degree apprenticeship, or an advanced or higher apprenticeship for IT, software, web and telecoms professionals.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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Direct application

You may be able to apply directly for a place on a graduate training scheme. These are often open to non-IT graduates as well as those with a computing qualification.

More information

Career tips

Experience in IT support, programming or web development will help.

Further information

Tech Future Careers and the Chartered Institute for IT have more details about careers and training in computing.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to know structured query language (SQL) and database management systems (DBMS).

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll work with an organisation to:

  • establish what the database is for, who’ll use it and what other systems it will link to
  • plan the structure of the database, working out how to organise, find and display data
  • build a test version and check the results for bugs
  • fill (populate) the database with new information or transfer existing data into it
  • plan how to update information, create back-up copies and report errors
  • put in security measures

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

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Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into IT project management or systems analysis, web development or network management.

You could also become self-employed, or move into consultancy.