Database Administrator Salary

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Database Administrator Salary

If becoming a database administrator (DBA) has always been your dream career and you’re wondering what kind of salary this passion of yours can fetch, then this article will clear all your doubts.

Do “keys” to you mean only ‘primary keys’ and ‘foreign keys’? Is it true that the only procedures you have ever learned are ‘stored procedures’? And do you believe that queries should always end with a semicolon (;)? If the answer to all the above questions is a big ‘yes’, then thousands of terabytes of exclusive data is just waiting to be controlled by a database administrator like you. As for the salary figures, there are certain criteria you need to fulfill.


All firms in the everchanging information technology sector, need highly qualified and experienced DBAs who would not only manage, maintain, and develop databases, but also formulate policies for ensuring their security.

To give you a fair idea about the job of a database administrator, we can say that companies hire DBAs for effective management of data or information. Apart from the already mentioned work that a DBA is supposed to do, a DBA also performs security checks, backups, and upgrades to the database system to maintain a close balance between data safety and accessibility.

First and foremost, an employer looks for a few basic qualifications before hiring. Formal training in computer science has been identified as a minimum benchmark. This may be in the form of a bachelor’s degree in computer science, telecommunications, systems science, etc.

Salary Range

Coming to the point of salaries, DBAs are amongst the most well-paid IT professionals. Their salary ranges between USD 37,000 to USD 100,000 per annum, with entry-level pay scale ranging anywhere between USD 30,000 and USD 40,000. One of the factors that determines the salary is relevant work experience. The amount earned is in direct proportion to the number of years of experience, the professional has in the relevant field. The following table will make things crystal clear.

Salary Vs Work Experience

Years of Experience Salary Range (USD)
<1 year 35,000-55,000
1-4 years 44,000- 65,000
<5-9 years 57,000-81,000
<10-19 years 68,000-95,000
>20 years 75,000-100,000

Other Determining Factors

As clearly visible above, experience plays a crucial role in the salary that is paid to a DBA. Though, very vital, experience is not the only deciding factor. Another factor that comes into the picture is certifications earned by the DBA. Various IT firms use different databases depending on their requirements and cost constraints. There are numerous data warehousing software available in the market. Some are open source, while some are licensed and need to be purchased. Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft’s SQL Server sum up the most popularly used databases in the IT industry today. Each of them issues its own certification, as even though all are fundamentally similar, they exhibit distinct characteristics.

For those looking forward to working with Oracle should go for the Oracle Certified Professional program, which will award you a certification of an Oracle Certified Associate. At entry level, the Associate certification has been made mandatory by most organizations, although to move higher up the hierarchy, you need to become a Certified Professional, followed by a Certified Master.

The open source databases like MySQL also offer certifications, ranging from Associates to Certified Administrator, allowing you to challenge for higher salaries within the companies working on MySQL.

Microsoft has an established training program which trains candidates to earn a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) certificate, after passing a series of tests that cover all aspects of planning, setting up, maintaining, and using a Microsoft SQL Server.

Pay scale of DBAs also depends on the size of the database. For example, a professional working in a large industry with an enormous database will surely earn a lot more than a DBA working in a small office where the database may be limited to storing the company’s employee and consumer base details. The contrast in the level of sensitive and confidential information being handled gets reflected in the pay. Also, there is a vast difference in pay, depending upon the level of responsibility thrust on the administrator. These aspects play a crucial role in deciding the amount a professional is set to earn.

The requirement for more versatile DBAs has seen a steep rise, in the recent past. Due to the constant rise in the number of network security breaches and firewall failures, ability to secure the confidential data is not just an add-on any more, for an aspiring DBA. There’s also a rising demand for more multitasking individuals in this field, which has further propelled the salaries.

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