California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Database Administrators in California

May also be called: Database Administration Managers; Database Analysts; Database Coordinators; Database Programmers; Programmer Analysts; and Systems Managers

Specialties within this occupation include: Application Database Administrators; System Database Administrators

What Would I Do?

Database Administrators, frequently called DBAs, use software to store and organize data. These data include financial information, customer shipping records, and patient medical records. They make sure data are available to users and secure from unauthorized access. Their focus is more on the data stored in an information system rather than on the users of the system.

Database Administrators ensure data analysts and others can easily use the database to find the information they need and that the system performs efficiently. They may work with an organization's management to understand the company's data needs and plan the goals of the database. They create and administer the database as well as make and test modifications to the database structure when needed. They maintain the database, update permissions, and merge databases together.

Database Administrators often plan security measures to keep data, such as personal or financial information, safe. They are responsible for backing up systems and restoring data in case of a power outage or unforeseen disaster. They also ensure the integrity of the database, guaranteeing that the data stored in it come from reliable sources.

Many Database Administrators are general purpose DBAs and perform all of these duties. Some specialize in certain tasks that vary with the organization and its needs. Two common specialties are Application Database Administrators and System Database Administrators.

Application Database Administrators perform the tasks of a general DBA for a particular application. They support a database that has been designed for a specific application or a set of applications, such as customer service software. Using complex programming languages, they may write or debug programs and must be able to manage the aspects of the applications that work with the database.

System Database Administrators are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of a database, such as installing upgrades and patches to fix program bugs. They ensure that the database in a firm's computer system works properly.

Tools and Technology

Database Administrators use a variety of tools and technology in their work. They use computers, mainframes, hard disk arrays, and hard disk drives. They also use a wide range of software, such as backup or archival, database management system, database reporting, database user interface and query, development environment, metadata management, object or component-oriented development, operating system, spreadsheet, and Web platform development.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Test programs or databases, correct errors, and make necessary modifications.Monitoring
Modify existing databases and database management systems or direct programmers and analysts to make changes.Complex Problem Solving
Plan, coordinate and implement security measures to safeguard information in computer files against accidental or unauthorized damage, modification or disclosure.Problem Sensitivity
Work as part of a project team to coordinate database development and determine project scope and limitations.Critical Thinking
Write and code logical and physical database descriptions and specify identifiers of database to management system or direct others in coding descriptions.Information Ordering
Train users and answer questions.Instructing
Specify users and user access levels for each segment of database.Deductive Reasoning
Approve, schedule, plan, and supervise the installation and testing of new products and improvements to computer systems such as the installation of new databases.Computers and Electronics
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Database Administrators usually work in comfortable, well-lit offices. They may also visit client sites, where users interact with the computer system. Most work 40 hours a week, but some jobs may require additional hours to meet deadlines.

Working under tight budgets and meeting short deadlines may be stressful for some. A considerable amount of time is spent typing on computer keyboards, which can lead to hand and wrist problems for those who do not take precautions such as ensuring they have ergonomic workstations.

Most workers in this occupation are not represented by unions. However, those who work in government or hospital settings have the option to join a union, such as the Service Employees International Union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Database Administrator may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve following set procedures and routines. This occupation involves working with data and details more than with ideas. Those who value job security and good working conditions should enjoy this type of job.

Employers seek candidates who are self-starters with good verbal, written, and interpersonal communications skills. Problem solving and troubleshooting skills are essential to this type of work. Database Administrators should be able to work both independently as well as on project teams. They must be organized, with the ability to prioritize and handle multiple projects.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?


The median wage in 2016 for Database Administrators in California is $95,413 annually, or $45.88 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Database Administrators generally receive medical and dental insurance, vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans from their employers. Some employers may also offer stock options and bonuses.

What is the Job Outlook?

Demand for Database Administrators in California is expected to grow as firms increase their data collection activities. Database Administrators will be needed to organize and present data in a way that makes it easy for users to understand. Database security needs will also help to fuel job growth. The health care industry and e-commerce are areas that are expected to see growth, as more databases will be needed to track patient information and process business transactions.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Database Administrators is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Database Administrators are expected to increase by 24.0 percent, or 2,900 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Database Administrators
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 300 new job openings per year is expected for Database Administrators, plus an additional 260 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 560 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Database Administrators
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor's degree in management information systems (MIS) or a computer-related field is usually required to work as a Database Administrator. Some employers, especially those with large databases, may prefer candidates to have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in information systems. Work experience in a related field, as well as an understanding of database languages, is also required. DBAs should have a strong familiarity with Structured Query Language (SQL) and the ability to code using SQL. They should also be familiar with data modeling concepts and the rules for relational databases. System DBAs should have knowledge in system architecture.


Database Administrators need a background in data processing, data programming, or systems analysis. Employers may require prior experience as a database developer, a software developer who creates databases, or a data analyst who interprets information stored in a database in a way that the firm can use. It is essential to have a strong background in these fields before advancing to Database Administrator.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in this kind of work should take classes in mathematics, computer science, information technology, business, and language arts. Training programs are also available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) in areas such as data processing, database design and management, database management, and Internet and database programming. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

Constantly changing technology makes it necessary for Database Administrators to keep their skills current and acquire new ones. Many continuing education programs exist through employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions. Professional development seminars and conferences offered by computing services firms, as well as courses available online or through independent study, also enhance skills and advancement opportunities.


Professional certification is becoming the industry standard and can demonstrate competence in a particular field. There are hundreds of different certification programs available. Many are offered by product vendors or software firms. Product vendors may require Database Administrators to be certified in the products they use. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Computer Science, Database Administration, Information Systems, and Systems Analysis.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Database Administrators work in a variety of industries. The largest industries employing Database Administrators are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Computer Systems Design and Rel Services 15.7%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 6.3%
Management & Technical Consulting Svc 5.5%
Other Information Services 4.5%
Software Publishers 3.8%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Networking is important in this occupation, since many Database Administrators find work through referrals. Jobs can also be found through direct application to employers, newspaper classified advertisements, online job boards, and professional organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Database Administrators.

  • Computer Network Design & Systems
  • Computers-System Designers & Consultants
  • Employment Agencies
  • General Merchandise-Wholesale
  • Government Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Management Consultants

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Database Administrators may advance by taking on responsibility for a larger database, potentially leading to a higher salary. From there they can move up to assistant database manager, database manager, and finally to information systems manager.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Database Administrators with links to more information.

Computer and Information Systems ManagersGuide
Computer Network Support SpecialistsProfile
Computer ProgrammersGuide
Computer Systems AnalystsGuide
Computer User Support SpecialistsGuide
Information Security AnalystsGuide
Network and Computer Systems AdministratorsGuide
Operations Research AnalystsProfile
Software Developers, ApplicationsGuide
Software Developers, Systems SoftwareGuide

Other Sources

  • Advanced Computing Systems Association
  • Association for Computing Machinery
  • Association for Information Systems
  • Computing Research Association
  • DAMA International, the Data Management Association International
  • Association for Information and Image Management
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society
  • Network Professional Association

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification15-1141
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Database Administrators15-1141.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)CIE
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Computer and Information Sciences, General110101
   Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst 110501
   Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration 110802
   Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assura111003
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Information Technology, General070100
   Database Design and Administration070720
   Computer Systems Analysis070730
   Computer Infrastructure and Support070800