Database Administrator

Job Description:

Database administrators (DBAs) are responsible for data, its availability, security and accessibility.

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

You’ll work on a variety of databases, from banks’ customer account networks to hospital patient record systems. Your tasks could vary from upgrading an existing database to creating a completely new system.

Your day-to-day responsibilities might include:

  • establishing what the database is for, who’ll use it, and what other systems it will link to
  • planning the structure of the database, and working out how to organise, find and display data
  • building a test version and checking the results for bugs
  • filling (populating) the database with new information or transfering existing data into it
  • putting in security measures
  • data extraction
  • performing backups
  • database tuning
  • supervising technical support staff, training users, and producing performance
  • reports for IT managers.

You might choose to specialise as a Data warehouse DBA. A data warehouse is a system used for data analysis. While a DBA will set up and run a database, a Data warehouse DBA will analyse the data provided.

Their day-to-day responsibilities might include:

  • studying and tracking data patterns
  • verifying the structure, accuracy, or quality of warehouse data
  • performing system analysis, data analysis or programming, using a variety of computer languages and procedures
  • preparing functional or technical documentation for data warehouses
  • providing troubleshooting support for data warehouses


You’ll need:

  • know how to use structured query language (SQL) and database management systems (DBMS).
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination (ambition/drive)
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • complex problem-solving and organisation skills
  • excellent communication, presentation and negotiating skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Database Administrator (DBA), specific subjects are not mandatory, but a strong educational foundation and relevant skills can be advantageous in preparing for this career. Database administration is a specialised field within the broader realm of information technology (IT). Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): Strong math skills are valuable for understanding and optimising database structures, as well as for performing calculations related to database queries and management.
  2. Computer Science or Information Technology (IT): courses related to computer science or IT can provide a fundamental understanding of computer systems, networks, and databases.
  3. English Language: Effective written and verbal communication skills are important for documenting database configurations, interacting with colleagues, and providing support.
  4. Science: Courses in science, particularly those involving data analysis and problem-solving, can enhance your analytical skills, which are valuable in database administration.

Post School

You could get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

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

You may have an advantage when you look for work if you do a degree that includes a work placement.

You may be able to get into this job through a digital and technology solutions professional degree apprenticeship.

If you already have a degree or relevant experience, you may be able to do a digital and technology solutions specialist masters degree apprenticeship.

Direct Application
You may be able to apply directly for a place on a graduate training scheme. You can usually apply if you have a degree in any subject.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may have on-call duties to deal with technical problems outside normal office hours.

You’ll work at one site if you’re employed by a company to manage their databases. If you work for a company that builds databases for other organisations, you’ll travel to meet clients. Some contracts may involve overnight stays.

Career Path & 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.