Where are DBA salaries headed in 2001?

Even with the rumblings of a slowdown in the economy in 2001--along with a return to reality in the high tech market and the specter of cutbacks and frozen raises at large companies--the salary outlook for database administrators still looks very strong.

In fact, starting salaries for qualified database administrators are expected to jump 11.8% in 2001, according to RHI Consulting. That translates into starting salaries ranging from $72,500 to $105,250.

Existing salaries were not measured because of various factors like seniority that make it harder to predict, said Kim Biviano, a spokeswoman for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm, but the rise in starting salaries is a good indicator of the general direction of salaries for database administrators in the coming year.

And the 11.8% jump is a bigger increase than the previous year, said Biviano, even though the economy is supposedly creeping toward recession and the outlook for business is down in some areas.

These salaries can vary greatly according to geographic location, Biviano noted. With some regions of the country experiencing the lowest unemployment rates since World War II, many companies there will be more aggressive in retaining and attracting skilled database talent.

Additionally, the explosion in E-commerce projects across the business world means that companies have to keep the database engines and data that run these high-visibility applications online

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A study last year by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP found companies are willing to pay a premium for database administrator skills, and Oracle in particular. Database skills sat alongside networking security and Internet skills as most valued by these employers.

But this premium pay can come at a price for IT workers. Meta Group, Inc. in Stamford, Conn. found that IT professionals are spending one-third more time on the job than ever before.

One good sign for busy database workers: some of this extra time is spent training on new technologies, which usually brings with it the skills needed to increase their salary.


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This was first published in January 2001

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