To become an SQL Server® DBA, or database administrator, you will need to create a plan to get the right combination of education, certifications and experience. The path to becoming an SQL Server® DBA is more fluid than the paths to becoming an applications developer, IT security specialist or other technology specialist. The exact qualifications you will need depend on the type and size of the employer for whom you would like to work, as well as the amount of training you are willing to undergo.
SQL Server® database administrators typically fall into two areas: production and development. Production DBAs, who often have a background in network administration or security, are responsible for designing a database that will work for whatever programs and networking specifications the database server must support. The production DBA puts together the physical requirements of the database and maintains it. If you want to become an SQL Server® DBA on the production side, you will need more training in networking and security than in programming.
Development DBAs work with a team of programmers or application developers to make sure the space allocation on the database works with the software needs. Many development DBAs have a programming background, but the ones who do not will need to gain at least basic programming knowledge to help with the creation of database tables, stored procedures and other software needs. While some DBAs, especially at small companies, work in both the production and development environments, SQL Server® DBAs at larger companies split the workload.
To become an SQL Server® DBA, you first need to choose a training path. Some people attend college, majoring in mathematics, technical communications or computer science, and then transfer those skills into jobs maintaining networks. For others, technical schools can provide an adequate education to gain an entry-level job in database administration. As you work in database design and maintenance, your work experience should begin to allow you to demonstrate your work knowledge, regardless of your educational background.
If you wish to become an SQL Server® DBA without going to school, you should seek out certification. SQL Server® is a Microsoft® product, and the company offers a certification program for aspiring database administrators. Going through this certification process, which requires in-depth learning of the server’s attributes and functionality, may be enough to gain work in the field without any academic training in database or networking issues. You can begin to train for certification exams by attending a day-long or weekend seminar, taking a single class at a community college, or buying the relevant books and learning on your own.