Job type

Database administrator

£24k - £70k

Typical salary

37 – 39

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Design, create and manage the complex databases that drive many of the key systems we use every day
  • You'll need high levels of concentration, attention to detail and the ability to understand complex information
  • Opportunity to move into management roles or become a self-employed consultant

As a database administrator you could work on a variety of databases, from banks' customer account networks to hospital patient record systems. You'll be upgrading an existing database to creating a completely new system.


  • On a new system, 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
  • Work 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
  • Transfer existing data into it
  • Plan how to update information,
  • Create back-up copies and report errors
  • Put in security measures

You may be working with web-based technologies and will need to understand how databases fit in with these systems.


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.

Database security is another area of growing importance. You may have extra duties, like supervising technical support staff, training users and producing performance reports for IT managers. You may have on-call duties to deal with technical problems outside normal office hours.

You'll need

This role requires a high level of accuracy and attention to detail, strong problem-solving and organisation skills, the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, excellent communication, presentation and negotiating skills.

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

Experience in IT support, programming or web development would be helpful.

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 and mathematics.

You may also 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.

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


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.