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.