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One of the Best Jobs in the USA: Database Administrator

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonLast Updated December 15, 2015

Top Ten Best Jobs in the USA

Want one of the top 10 of the 100 best jobs in the United States?  According to research conducted by CNNMoney.com and compensation experts PayScale.com, it's a good time to consider becoming a Database Administrator!  Their criteria for the best jobs in the USA include:

  • great compensation
  • satisfying work
  • growth opportunities

Their research was based on growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They identified industries with the largest increases in jobs requiring a bachelor's degree. From there, they started eliminating jobs using the following criteria:

  • jobs projected to grow less than 10% from 2015 to 2018
  •  jobs with median pay below $60,000 for experienced workers with the exception of selected high growth job titles
  • jobs with fewer than 10,000 positions nationwide
  • jobs where at least 20% of the workers were not in a high-growth industry

Fast-growing jobs not specific to any single industry were kept on the list. To get the final ranking, data from a PayScale.com survey of 40,000 workers was incorporated.  The workers were asked to rate their jobs on quality-of-life factors such as stress and flexibility and short- and long-term employment outlook. Cutting the list down to the 100 top jobs was accomplished using median pay for seasoned workers, industry and job growth, ease of entry and estimated employment.

And the top 10 winners are...
  1. Software Architect
  2. Physician Assistant
  3. Management Consultant
  4. Physical Therapist
  5. Environmental Engineer
  6. Civil Engineer
  7. Database Administrator
  8. Sales Director
  9. Certified Public Accountant
  10. Biomedical Engineer

So Database Administrator came in at number seven on the list!  The following is a summary of what the study found about DBA jobs in the Information Technology sector.

Database Administrators are responsible for:

  • organizing and managing data
  • updating software
  • troubleshooting whenever problems arise.

The Up Side

As businesses accumulate more and more data, the demand for DBAs continues to grow in all industries.  DBAs report a high level of satisfaction with being able to solve problems and see the positive impact of their work on their employers' businesses.

As quoted in the CNNMoney.com report, Patt Patterson Jones, 52, a DBA of 17 years, including six years wit Baltimore fund manager T. Rowe Price had this to say:

 "If you are concerned about having a job that will be around for a while, database administration is the way to go."

The Down Side

In most industries, the Database Administrator's job is 24x7, and it's best to be prepared for middle-of-the-night page in the event of system meltdown. Database technology is rapidly changing, so DBAs will likely be expected to master new or substantially updated programs every few months.

There is always the risk that IT jobs can be outsourced.  According to the study, the high turnover rate at outsourcing firms can make that option much less attractive to employers.    For more on outsourcing and offshoring, check out our article on 2015 Oracle offshoring a disaster!

How to Get in the Door

It is not uncommong for DBAs start out elsewhere in IT, either as developers or programmers.  While the study reports that certification is not mandatory, there are any number of things you can do to increase your odds of landing a desirable DBA job.  Better yet, strive to become an Oracle guru.

The CNNMoney.com and PayScale.com report, included the following table:

Pay

Median pay
(experienced)

$93,000

Top pay

$129,000

Opportunity

10-year job growth
(2008-2018)

20%

Total jobs
(current)

110,000

Quality of life ratings

Personal satisfaction

A

Job security

B

Future growth

A

Benefit to society

C

Low stress

C

Flexibility

B

Even with the recession, Database Administration related jobs look very appealing with salaries that rival engineers and other professionals, with starting salaries as high as $85,000.  In the Oracle realm, senior Oracle DBAs commonly earning over $130,000 per year, and Oracle superstars can earn over a quarter million dollars a year. 

Why so much money?  It's because Oracle is the world's most sophisticated, robust and flexible database, which requires the best DBAs.  Oracle Corporation recently published their 2015 Oracle salary survey which shows an average 2015 DBA salary of $97,000 with the highest salaries to consultants and those with lots of experience, living in high-cost areas.

As a general guideline, a well-qualified Oracle professional (master degree) will earn age times three, so a 30 year old Oracle professional can expect, on average, at least $90,000 per year.

It is important to note, as you consider becoming a Database Professional, that education and experience are key to landing and keeping the job of your dreams!

 
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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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