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Database Developer vs. Database Administrator: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A database developer and database administrator are two important roles in the world of information technology. Both positions work with databases, but their responsibilities and duties differ. If you’re interested in a career in IT, learning about the differences between these two positions can help you decide which one is right for you. In this article, we discuss the job duties of a database developer and database administrator, the skills and education required for each position and the average salary you can expect to earn.

What is a Database Developer?

Database Developers design, implement, maintain and repair databases. They work with Database Administrators to ensure that data is stored securely and efficiently. Database Developers also work with application developers to ensure that data can be accessed by the applications as needed. They may also be responsible for developing stored procedures and triggers to automate tasks. Database Developers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They should be skilled in database design, development and administration.

What is a Database Administrator?

Database Administrators are responsible for the performance, security and availability of databases. They typically work with Database Developers to design and implement database systems. Database Administrators also develop and maintain backup and recovery plans to ensure that data can be recovered in the event of a system failure. They may also monitor database performance and optimize database queries to improve performance. In addition, Database Administrators typically have a deep understanding of database security and can implement security measures to protect data from unauthorized access.

Database Developer vs. Database Administrator

Here are the main differences between a database developer and a database administrator.

Job Duties

Although database administrators and database developers share some of the same job duties, there are differences between their responsibilities. Database administrators oversee the maintenance, security and performance of an existing database. They do this by monitoring databases, troubleshooting issues and performing regular maintenance. Database developers create new databases or modify existing ones. Their job duties may include researching user needs, designing databases and developing software that interacts with databases.

Job Requirements

Database developers and database administrators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. They might also pursue a master’s degree in business administration with a focus on information systems to help them move into more managerial roles. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates who have experience working with specific database software programs, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL. Some professionals in these fields also earn certifications to show their skills in specific database software programs.

Work Environment

Database developers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients and collaborate on projects. They often spend their days sitting at a desk or table and typing code into a computer. Database administrators usually work in an office environment as well, but they may also visit client sites to ensure that the database is functioning properly. This job can involve more physical activity than database development because DBAs may need to troubleshoot issues by physically accessing computers and servers.


Both database developers and database administrators use technical skills to perform their jobs. However, database developers typically focus on designing databases that meet the specific needs of their company or client, while database administrators are responsible for managing and maintaining existing databases.

Both roles require an understanding of database concepts and how to write SQL queries. However, database developers need to be able to design complex database systems, while database administrators need to be able to optimize database performance and troubleshoot issues. Database developers also need to have strong programming skills, as they may need to create custom code to support their database designs.

Database administrators benefit from having strong problem-solving skills, as they often need to identify and resolve issues with database systems. They also need to have good communication skills, as they may need to interact with other IT staff, managers and business users.


Database developers and database administrators both work with databases, but their roles are different. Database developers earn an average salary of $92,815 per year, while database administrators earn an average salary of $90,558 per year.


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