Eye on Oracle

Mar 13 2007   11:28AM GMT

Database administration one of the fastest-growing jobs

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Forbes reported a few days ago that database administration is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States. DBAs came in at #12, and are projected to go from 104,000 in 2004 to 144,000 in 2014, an increase of 38.20%.  

It should come as no shock that of the top 30 fastest-growing jobs, 17 are health care-related. (Number one is home health aides.) However, it was somewhat surprising that “network systems and data communications analysts” came in at #2, given automation and outsourcing. The latter reason likely accounts for the conspicuous absence of developers on the list. (Although they probably appear on India’s list!)

Forbes lists the current starting pay for DBAs as $43,605, which seems low. One hopes that as demand increases, salaries will follow. Still, DBAs have a long way to go to get to the best-paying tech job: SAP functional consultants (boo! hiss!), who earn an average of $163,000.

Database administration as a career has been on various “hot lists” for some time now, but blogger Venkat Devraj says that the real problem is the lack of quality DBAs:

“Sure there are lots of bodies around the planet, but there just aren’t enough qualified professionals to meet the growing requirements. People that not only can handle part of the job load, but those that can also communicate well with their users and peers. People that not only know the mechanics behind a task, but also what needs to be done and when to a database to meet user requirements and business growth. If these job growth statistics aren’t a clarion call for leveraging automation, I don’t know what is!”

This reminds me of the heated debate at an IOUG show a few years ago (Are DBAs really needed anymore?), in which automation was alternately seen as inevitable and irrelevant, or the cause of the demise of the DBA. Venkat clearly comes down on the former side:

News flash: database administration isn’t rocket science… and btw, even rocket science leverages automation in more ways than one can imagine… Wake up guys and smell the coffee. IT automation is happening in a big way. The companies that don’t embrace it will be relegated to the dark ages.

One thing is clear: if demand for DBAs continues to increase and supply can’t keep up, automation will play a larger and larger role in database and system administration.

Cheers, Tim

14  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Clinek
    That Forbes list uses $43,605 for all of the computer-related occupations, and some of the others as well (physical therapists, forensic technician, etc). Methinks they got a little lazy with their research. So far I've noticed #s 2,4,5,7,8 and 11-14 all use that magic salary. salary.com or payscale.com have some more accurate data, hopefully.
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  • Clinek
    I agree with the comments by Don that Forbes missed the mark for DBA salaries. The benefit is that the DBA skill set is in demand, however the DBA will need to be skilled in one area(ie.) with multiple knowledge of other DBMS platforms.
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  • Clinek
    This website is very good especially for DBAs. Though i am a Lecturer in Physics in Junior College level, i show very much interest in understanding RDBMS Concepts and DBA concepts.
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  • Clinek
    This article inspired me one way or another as a newbie Oracle DBA. As a former software developer for various platforms, the more I realize that I've taken the right path towards pursuing a DBA career. With regards to automation, at least Im not afraid yet coz here in the Philippines, we cannot yet fully afford automation off-the shelf packages & tools. Instead, Im making use of my development capabilities to create small and simple automation scripts for DBA use.
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  • Clinek
    I believe this research was mot based on developing countries,especially African countries.I would want Forbes to extend thier research to such.Thanks.
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  • "John
    Beware! As the need for a particular skill rises, so does the salary--but only temporarily. The higher the pay for a particular skillset, the more motivated management becomes to "remedy" the situation. What do you think caused so many companies to embrace outsourcing of IT in the first place? I would strongly discourage anyone from entering the IT field, and so do most other computer professionals. Why do you think U.S. college enrollment in the field has been dropping for the past several years? Read the writing on the wall. IT is for suckers and immigrants; or are they the same thing?
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  • "John
    In this funny country (US) everybody is a sucker == immigrant with a few natives remaining being an exception. Typical Indian sucker-DBA makes $100K easily by cutting and pasting SQL-statements he receives from somebody else. That's 3 times more than sucker redneck is making that came here a little earlier. Wait a little, new coming suckers will be in investment banking sooner than you know it.
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  • Clinek
    I am a DBA. I would like to respond to Johns comment about DBAs being for for suckers and immigrants. I would like to add that it's also for people who really like to be at work all the time and on call all the time. Working 40 hours NON-stop is not unusual. You don't really NEED sleep do you? After all if the system is not working the company does not either. (No it was not my fault - the SAN was upgraded by an outsouced company and went pop) Geting a phone call at 5am on a Sunday is not unusual even if you are not on call. Having a grumpy wife due to call outs is not unusual. Want a social life? Well sorry you are a computer geek. You guys are not allowed to see the sun. And because your boss probably has no idea what you do and probably thinks of you as a nessassary evil. The rewards can be mininimal. At least a developer can point at something and say I did that. What can a DBA point too? Looking back I think an accountant or laywer would have been a better carrier path. After all if you have been doing that for 20 years you get a bit of respect. If you have been in IT for 20 years you are seen as over the hill and out of date and ready to be replaced by a 16 year old know it all. Maybe John was right. IT is for suckers.
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  • Clinek
    Being a dba blows, been doing it for 6 years now. Looking to get totally out of IT. Stephen George you said it best "Looking back I think an accountant or laywer would have been a better carrier path. After all if you have been doing that for 20 years you get a bit of respect. If you have been in IT for 20 years you are seen as over the hill and out of date and ready to be replaced by a 16 year old know it all."
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  • Clinek
    Hi all i just have six months of exp in DBA and i like my job very much.How s d future for DBA....by reading this article im very happy but the posting from some of u guys discouraged me ...s tat so hard to get a good name as a DBA
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  • Clinek
    well if u ask accounting guy he will say heyyy IT is best, so everybody likes what other does not what he does.......DBA is a good job.....and regarding its for suckers is non-sense(pls dont mind),if whole country strives on IT then how it can be for suckers??????
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  • Clinek
    I contradict with John saying that DBA jobs are for suckers. I have been a dba from 1994 and yes, there are some ups and downs in the job. You may have to be on call and sure you get called at odd times (hey, that is part of the job we agreed when we took the job!!! If we did not, we should look at other avenues). Being a DBA is lot of responsibilities. I have seen DBA's who are exclusively happy in looking at the db performance, backup and recovery, storage management and work on how increasing the shared pool size has increase the db performance. What I have understood (my humble 2 cents is) we are here to support not only the database admin stuff which i mentioned before but the main activity is to understand what the business needs are and build the soft skills around it such as listening to the users and providing support when they need and not when you want to do it. That makes a big difference. I still learn lot of stuff from the db perspective about oracle streams, application express but what makes my job interesting is the happy faces of users who come to me all the time hoping that I will help alleviate their db issues and once I do that, they do come again with new requests all the time. Also, being pro-active and automating repeated tasks helps in spending less time on routine activities and focus on fun activities such as testing high availability, tuning rman performance, monitoring streams etc. Yes, I agree there may be good bosses (or) bad ones but what makes you unique is by doing the very best you can in whatever you do and always document what you do. It saves you when you need the most (either for the performance review where they ask what did you do the whole year??? (or) when you want to check what rman commands you did last time to fix the same issue). It does not matter whether you want to be a DBA (or) you want to be a doctor / lawyer. The same issues do exist. I have seen doctors who are called at 1am (i myself did call a doctor when my kid was sick). So working odd hours is an accepted fact in these jobs. It is not going to change just because you got tired of it. Either you promote yourself to higher levels so that you don't need to do it and delegate others (or) find jobs which are less taxing.
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  • Jay
    What a joke this is. I have been a DBA for 11 years now and love every minute of it. I am rarely called after hours and when I am I get paid extra for the 10 minutes I am online. $250 per week for 1 or 2 calls averaging 10 minutes ain't bad. I also make over 160K per year including year end bonuses and incentive pay. My job is not at all stressful even though I manage over 150 critical hospital systems and internal corporate ERP systems. I am continually utilized for both my technical and business experience (BS in Business Finance has come in handy). So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, stay away from DBA work, I love the demand far outweighing the supply and keep on thinking the world is in need of more Lawyers and accounts. After all, accountants are really cool and interesting people and Lawyers? Well, you know they are respected and trustworthy. At the end of the day, I work to support my family and personal interests such as mnt biking, kayaking, and golfing. Who cares whether or not someone respects you for what you do to get a paycheck, those individuals are best left to the jobs mentioned above where they can converse with others (secretly miserable for getting into overrated and full of fluff careers). Do what makes you happy not what others pass judgement on.
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  • Clinek
    murali, you said very well
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