Database administrator

Computing and ICT

Career outlook for database administrator

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Plan and build computer systems to hold vital information for organisations. Make sure the systems are secure and work properly.

You could work on a variety of databases such as a bank’s customer account networks or hospital’s database of patient records.

You’d make sure each database system works properly and is easy for your colleagues to use when they deal with customers or clients.

You would upgrade existing databases and create completely new systems. It’s likely you would also work with web-based technologies and you’d need to understand how databases fit in with these systems.

On a new system, you would work with the organisation to:

  • Establish what the database is for, who will use it and what other systems it will link to, such as telephones
  • Plan the structure of the database, working out how to organise, find and display the information
  • Build a test version and check the results to iron out any technical problems (bugs)
  • Fill (populate) the database with new information or transfer existing data into it
  • Plan how to update information, create back-up copies and report errors
  • Put in security measures

You’d need to understand data protection issues and keep up to date with developments in technology.

You may also supervise technical support staff, train people who will use the system and produce performance reports for managers.

You would work on projects with other information technology (IT) professionals, such as analysts, programmers and IT project managers.

In a senior position you would be responsible for strategic planning, information policy, budgets and managing client relationships.

Working conditions


You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, you may have on-call duties to deal with technical problems outside of normal office hours.


You could work at one site if you are employed by a company to manage their databases.


If you work for a company that builds databases for other organisations, you would travel to meet clients. Some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Developing a plan
  • Sorting
  • Attention to detail
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Most database administrators have degrees in a computing subject such as computing science, information technology or software engineering. Some entrants have a degree in maths or a business subject. 

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at B or relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) qualifications.

A Modern Apprenticeship in IT & Telecommunications (SCQF level 5/6) could also provide the skills and knowledge required for a junior database administrator.

It is also possible to study for a postgraduate IT conversion qualification (SCQF level 11).

Useful subjects

English and maths are required by most courses. Other required subjects depend on the course but may include:

  • Physics
  • Technologies subjects such as Computing science and Engineering.

You will also need

You may need a driving licence for some jobs.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience in IT support, programming or web development will be of value.

Industry-specific knowledge and qualifications in:

  • structured query language (SQL)
  • database management systems (DBMS) including DBMS (relational database management systems)
  • OODBMS (object-oriented database management systems)
  • XML database management systems