How Do I Become an SQL Server® DBA?

You’ll need to make a plan to get the right combination of education, certifications, and experience to become a SQL Server® DBA, or database administrator. The path to becoming a SQL Server® DBA is more fluid than the paths to becoming an application developer, IT security expert, or other technology expert. The specific qualifications you’ll need are determined the type and size of the company you want to work for, as well as the amount of training you’re willing to take.

There are two types of SQL Server® database administrators: production and development. Production DBAs, who typically have a background in network administration or security, are in charge of designing a database that will support whatever programs and networking specifications the database server is required to support. The database’s physical requirements are assembled and maintained the production DBA. If you want to work as a production SQL Server® DBA, you’ll need more networking and security training than programming.

Development DBAs collaborate with a team of programmers or application developers to ensure that the database’s space allocation matches the software’s requirements. Although many development DBAs have a programming background, those who do not will need to learn at least basic programming skills in order to assist with the creation of database tables, stored procedures, and other software requirements. While some DBAs, particularly in small businesses, work in both production and development environments, SQL Server® DBAs in larger businesses divide their time.

You must first choose a training path to become a SQL Server® DBA. Some people study mathematics, technical communications, or computer science in college and then apply their knowledge to network maintenance jobs. Others may find that technical schools can provide them with the necessary training to obtain an entry-level position in database administration. Regardless of your educational background, as you work in database design and maintenance, your work experience should allow you to demonstrate your work knowledge.

You should seek certification if you want to become a SQL Server® DBA without going to school. Microsoft® sells SQL Server®, and the company has a certification program for aspiring database administrators. Without any academic training in database or networking issues, completing this certification process, which requires in-depth learning of the server’s attributes and functionality, may be enough to gain work in the field. Attending a day-long or weekend seminar, taking a single class at a community college, or purchasing the relevant books and learning on your own are all options for preparing for certification exams.