4 Ways To Improve Your Database Administrator Salary

Are you a database administrator? Do you want to know how to improve your salary? Read this article for some information and advice on how to improve your database administrator salary.

What Is The Average Database Administrator Salary?

The average salary for a Database Administrator (DBA) in the US is $108,227.

This includes all levels of experience of database administrators, as well as technologies. Let’s have a look at some related roles to find out more:

Database Administrator$108,000
Database Administration Manager$134,000
Oracle Database Administrator$115,000
Senior Database Administrator$127,000
SQL Developer$103,000

What Does This Information Tell Us?

We can have a look at this information about salaries to find out:

  • Database Administration Manager: This is the team leader or manager role for DBAs. The salary here is higher than other roles, which is to be expected.
  • Oracle Database Administrator: This role is focused on Oracle databases. Interestingly, there was no data for the other major database, Microsoft SQL Server, but I imagine it to be quite similar. Other sources quote Oracle as about 8% higher.
  • Senior Database Administrator: These are the more experienced roles, where companies hire based on the expectation that the DBA has much more experience.
  • SQL Developer: This is not a database administrator role, but it’s a role that DBA’s often start in, so the lower salary reflects that.

Alright, so we’ve seen some of the salaries and roles related to a database administrator. Now, let’s take a look at what you can do to improve your database administrator salary.

1. Learn or Improve Your Unix Skills

The best way to improve your salary as a DBA is to learn Unix, or improve your existing Unix skills.

As many databases in large companies are run on Unix servers, this should not be a surprise. The database administrator does need to spend some time outside of the environment of the database, and this means they would spend some time accessing the Unix operating system.

Learning skills such as writing scripts, running commands, and reading log files is a great way to improve your salary as a DBA. This is because it will make you more effective, and improve your efficiency on the job, which is something that all employers like.

2. Learn the Procedural Language of the Database

Both of the major database vendors, Oracle and Microsoft, both offer a procedural language that works with their versions of SQL. For Oracle, this is PL/SQL (Procedural Language SQL), and for Microsoft this is T-SQL (Transact-SQL).

Learning either of these skills will likely increase your salary as a database administrator, as you’re able to write code in these languages, find issues in scripts, and perform advanced tasks.

As most database administrators are usually focused on Oracle or Microsoft, it’s not often that you see a DBA who is knowledgeable in both. The best way to earn a high salary in the IT industry is to specialise, so I would suggest choosing one or the other. Don’t just base this decision on the pay (Oracle DBAs tend to pay a little more), as there are other factors involved and this may change. However, if you’re already a database administrator, you would have already learnt your specific database technology, so this procedural language step would be an obvious one.

3. Get Certified

A common way to improve your database administrator salary is to get certified. I’ve mentioned this in many of my salary posts, as it’s a good suggestion and is relevant to many roles.

There are two main companies to get certifications from, which are based on the two main database systems – Oracle and Microsoft.

Oracle offers certifications in many database versions. Their latest version is 12c, while 11g is one of the more popular ones I’ve seen.

  • Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate
  • Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Associate
  • Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Master

The certification path for Oracle DBA certifications goes from Associate to Professional to Master. At the moment, the 12c database doesn’t have a Master certification.

Microsoft offers two main certifications for their SQL Server database. They also list an SQL Server 2008 version, but I haven’t included it here.

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Platform

Also, as with many roles in the IT industry, the more experience you have, the better your salary will be. I haven’t included a tip here specific for this, as there isn’t really any actionable steps you can take to “get more experience”. It’s just something that comes with time.

4. Look For Ways to Help the Company Save Money

This kind of skill isn’t something that is mentioned on skills lists on websites, but it’s a useful tip anyway.

While the main role of a database administrator is to monitor a company’s database, companies are always looking to save money. If you can think of a way to save money, or save time, as a database administrator, then this could be a good way to improve your salary.

Some ways to reduce costs and time could be:

  • Identify bottlenecks and issues with any systems that use the databases
  • Discover ways to improve the efficiency of existing queries and jobs
  • Improve the way that you or your team does something, which saves time
  • Investigate any solutions or software that may solve a problem that saves time and cost, even though it requires some money to purchase

If you’re able to achieve a cost saving or time saving for the company, it looks good on your end of year review, and can certainly help in getting a pay rise and improving your database administrator salary.

Well, there are a few ways to improve your salary as a database administrator. I hope you can take one of these ideas and use it in your job to get paid even more.

Career Action Tip: Choose one method from this list and either learn the skill or look up the requirements for the certification.