An Oracle Database Administrator Career: Pros and Cons
As an Oracle database administrator, you'll be in charge of designing Oracle software solutions for your company and making sure that they run smoothly. Find out the pros and cons of becoming an Oracle database administrator and decide if it's the right career for you.
|Pros of Being an Oracle Database Administrator|
|Higher-than-average median salary ($80,000 in May 2014)*|
|Faster-than-average employment growth (15% from 2012-2022)*|
|Telecommuting is possible*|
|Many jobs require just a bachelor's degree plus experience*|
|Cons of Being an Oracle Database Administrator|
|Can be stressful to handle important company information**|
|Eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome possible*|
|May need to explain highly-technical ideas to other departments*|
|May have to be on call during emergencies*|
Sources: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.
Essential Career Information
As an Oracle database administrator, you'll manage all of the needs of your company related to the setup and functioning of Oracle software. You could be the one to design the database in concordance with employee needs, add new users and ensure overall performance of Oracle software. Some positions could require you to coordinate security efforts that pertain to maintaining a database of employee information on the Internet. You'll usually work a 40-hour week, but you may need to be on call to handle emergency system failures.
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can expect 15% employment growth for database administrators, which is faster than average. Continued growth is due to the fact that organizations will need to store and work with increasingly large amounts of data. Data security is becoming increasingly important as more databases are connected to the Internet. Growth will be especially strong in healthcare and cloud computing. In May 2014, the BLS indicates that you can expect to earn a median annual salary of about $80,000.
What Are the Requirements?
Even though Oracle is in the job title, you'll need to know other forms of software for this position. Many positions require experience with Windows and Linux operating systems in addition to numerous other computer programs and programming languages. You'll need to keep on top of changing trends in technology so that you can continue to make the best database management decisions for your employer.
A bachelor's degree in a related field is usually necessary, and some employers might prefer if you have a master's. Common topics of study include computer science, information science and management information systems. However, relevant experience is the most important component to becoming an Oracle database administrator. Some employers will allow for a comparable amount of work experience to substitute for a bachelor's degree. In general, all database administrators should have the following skills:
- Strong problem-solving ability
- Good communication skills
- Ability to multitask
Job Postings from Real Employers
Most employers require a bachelor's degree and experience. Many positions require making independent decisions and collaborating with a team to develop solutions. Below are some examples of job postings available in March 2012:
- A staffing and consulting firm sought an Oracle Database Administrator for a location in New Jersey. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and at least 7-8 years of work experience are required. The list of necessary technical proficiencies includes Microsoft SQL Server, T-SQL, ActiveX scripting, Idera and Quest-Litespeed. Pay is listed at $35-$45 per hour.
- An architecture and engineering company in Chicago advertised for an Oracle database administrator with 4-10 years of experience. A B.S. in computer science is required although a master's is preferable. Candidates should be able to work independently under tight deadlines with changing goals and priorities.
- A well-known consulting firm sought an Oracle database administrator for a Nebraska location. A B.S. in a relevant field or the equivalent combination of education and experience is required. Candidates should be proficient in Linux, Windows and PL/SQL programming.
- A manufacturing company in Ohio sought a lead Oracle database administrator to monitor the company's use of Oracle and recommend ways to further customize its use. Requirements for the right candidate include at least 10 years of experience in IT and working with Oracle databases and applications. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent.
How Can I Stand out?
As with many jobs in computer engineering or information technology, it's possible to get a variety of certifications as an Oracle database administrator. As one example, Oracle offers dozens of certification programs for their databases, middleware, applications and server programs. These certifications can be helpful if you have a lot of experience working with IT but don't meet the preferred education of an employer. Many postsecondary schools also offer relevant certificate programs.
Even though you're working with computers, you'll also have to work with people. Besides good interpersonal skills, employers may look for individuals with previous business experience and the ability to work well with others in a team setting.
Alternate Career Options
If you like troubleshooting computer issues but also want the chance to work with a wide variety of programs and people, consider pursuing a career as a computer support specialist. You'll provide end-user support for various software and hardware issues. For this career, you may not need a postsecondary degree. The BLS projects an employment growth of 18% from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS stated that computer support specialists earned a median annual salary of $48,000.
Perhaps you like the idea of working with company databases, but you don't want to be tied down to just one. If that's the case, consider a career as a computer systems analyst. You might help your company choose which applications and systems they need and customize them to maximize convenience and efficiency. With an expected employment growth of 22% from 2010-2020, you should be able to find work if you have at least a bachelor's degree and a mind for technology. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the median annual salary was about $79,000.