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  • A man is sitting at a desk in an office, looking at a printed document which is on the desk.  There are two large computer screens on the desk.

    This database administrator is analysing the way a database is designed, to try to make it faster. Users of the database have been experiencing problems.

  • A man is sitting at a desk in an office, looking at one of two large computer screens on the desk.  On the screen, there are rows of green characters on a black background.

    Using the computer operating system that supports the database.

  • A lady is sitting at a desk in an office.  A man is standing beside her, holding a printed document.  They are both looking at the document.

    Discussing ideas for improvements to the database with a colleague.

  • A man is sitting at a desk in an office, looking at one of two large computer screens on the desk.  On the screen are entries to an online forum.

    Reading a thread on a support forum for people who work with the same type of database, to pick up tips on how to improve its performance.

  • A man is sitting at a desk in an office, talking on the phone and looking at two large computer screens that are on the desk.

    Talking on the phone to a colleague to see if there has been an improvement to the database speed.

  • A man and a lady are sitting at desks, facing each other.  They are talking.  Each of them has two large computer screens on their desk.

    Database administrators often work in a team. Communication skills are important.

  • Two men are sitting at a desk by a window.  They are looking at a computer screen and one of them is pointing to something on the screen.

    Analysing large amounts of information about how the database is being used.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, looking at one of two large computer screens.  On the screen there are two colourful bar charts.

    Using a computer tool that shows the number of users on the database at different times.

  • Database Administrator

Database Administrator

Introduction

As a Database Administrator, you will be responsible for building and maintaining a database or databases.

Also known as

  • Computer Database Administrator
  • Administrator, Database
  • Network Systems Database Administrator
  • Client Server Database Administrator

Work Activities

As a Database Administrator, you will be responsible for building and maintaining a database or databases.

Databases are computer applications where huge amounts of data is stored and organised. What form this data takes depends on the area you work in. Databases are used in almost every walk of life, as organisations begin to realise the importance of the data that they gather. You could be working in:

  • marketing
  • financial systems
  • insurance
  • government organisations
  • employment agencies
  • law firms
  • the NHS
  • retail companies

You could be performing many different duties, including:

  • designing and carefully planning a new database
  • identifying exactly what role a database is expected to perform, and for whom?
  • monitoring the database or databases to check that they are operating correctly
  • making sure the data stored is properly backed-up
  • produce high quality documentation for other database users
  • collect routine database performance statistics
  • enrolling new database users
  • use a database querying tool, such as SQL (Structured Query Language), to analyse the data within the database
  • use a database management system to collect and analyse data from the database

You could be working as part of a project team, with Systems Analysts, Software developers and Programmers.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Database Administrator, you'll need:

  • good technical knowledge of databases and query languages
  • strong verbal and written communication skills, to explain to users how the database works and to keep clear records of changes you have made
  • analytical skills
  • a logical approach to problem solving
  • to pay attention to detail
  • planning and forecasting skills
  • knowledge of data protection issues and access rights
  • to be willing to keep up to date with any changes in data protection laws and database technologies
  • teamwork skills

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £21,500 - £24,000
  • With experience: £27,000 - £32,000
  • Senior Database Administrators earn £36,000 - £40,500

Salaries could include performance-related pay, profit share or company bonuses.

Hours of work

Database Administrators usually work 35 hours from Monday to Friday, but might work some late evenings when deadlines require, or work out of hours if systems fail.

Where could I work?

Employers are in every sector of industry and commerce, including banks, building societies, insurance companies and others in the finance sector, and in public service (for example, local and central government departments).

Opportunities for Database Administrators occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could include working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry Routes

Some employers require you to have a degree before you become a Database Administrator. Degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto a degree course you will usually need at least two A levels.

Another option is to get onto a Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area.Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

An A level in an IT based subject would be a great help.

So now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd. Also, try to get as much experience of working with databases as you can. This could be through work experience, a part-time job, or maybe at school or college.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in systems design or programming would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

For entry to a degree course in information systems or computer science, the usual requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
  • English and maths at GCSE

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Entry

Many entrants have skills in, for example, systems design or programming.

Courses

A range of manufacturer-accredited short training courses are available on an intensive basis, often flexible and part-time, including evenings and weekends.

Access courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course, for example, Access to IT/Computing, could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Distance learning

Distance learning opportunities include the Open University's degree and postgraduate courses in computing subjects. Distance learning in design and implementing databases using Microsoft SQL Server is available from Computeach Ltd.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Open University (OU)

Tel: 0845 3006090

Website: www.open.ac.uk

Inside Careers

Specialists in graduate careers

Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU

Tel: 020 7565 7900

Website: www.insidecareers.co.uk

BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT

Address: First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FA

Tel: 0845 3004417

Email: custsupport@bcs.uk

Website: www.bcs.org

Big Ambition

Email: bigambition@e-skills.com

Website: www.bigambition.co.uk

Bring IT On

Irish enquiries

Website: www.bringitonni.info

Computeach

Address: University House, Jews Lane, Gornal, Dudley, West Midlands DY3 2AH

Tel: 01384 458515

Email: info@computeach.co.uk

Website: www.computeach.co.uk

Institute for the Management of Information Systems (IMIS)

Address: Suite A, (Part) 2nd Floor, 3 White Oak Square, Swanley, Kent BR8 7AG

Tel: 0845 8500006

Email: central@imis.org.uk

Website: www.imis.org.uk/information/careers_information

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Tech Partnership

Email: info@thetechpartnership.com

Website: www.thetechpartnership.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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