Database Developer: What It Is, What They Do, & Salary

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Celso Crivelaro
Celso Crivelaro
Head of Engineering

Table of Contents

Database developers have become a popular career, and companies are hiring them more than ever to help with databases and managing them.
Published on
March 28, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

The use of databases has become increasingly important as businesses need to store vast amounts of data. Advances in technology and database management have enabled the storage and analysis of large amounts of information effectively. This makes database development essential for any organization's success.

Businesses are now hiring database developers more than ever. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the employment of database administrators and architects will expand by 9% from 2021 to 2031 — faster than the average rate across all occupations. This alone is a testament to the importance of database developers.

So, what exactly is a database developer, and why do companies hire them? This article covers all you need to know about database developers, their duties, and the salary they can expect.

What Is a Database Developer?

Generally, a database developer is a software engineer that designs, builds, tests and maintains databases. Database developers create relational database management systems (RDBMS), which store and manage data. They also develop methods of keeping data secure and up-to-date as well as identify trends within the database to help improve it.

Due to the complexity of database development, database developers need in-depth technical knowledge of database languages, design and administration. Database developers generally have expertise in programming languages such as SQL, PL/SQL, MongoDB, Oracle or MySQL. They use this language to build and modify databases and data structures.

Oracle SQL Database Developer

Oracle database developers specialize in developing database systems using the Oracle database platform. They use SQL and other database languages to create, maintain and optimize database systems within an organization.

The job of an Oracle database developer involves creating database designs, implementing database objects, developing database models, testing database applications and database performance tuning. They also ensure that database architecture meets the organization’s needs.

An Oracle database developer may also create database triggers, stored procedures and functions that help improve database security. They use database tools to monitor its performance and troubleshoot any errors.

Database Developer vs. Database Administrator

Although database developers and database administrators (DBAs) may both work on database systems, their responsibilities are different. Generally, database developers focus on database design and implementation, while the database administrator's job is to maintain the database system. In short, database developers build database systems from scratch, while database administrators ensure that database systems are running properly and efficiently.

Let's look at the roles and responsibilities of DBAs so that we can better understand the differences between database developers and database administrators:

  • DBAs are responsible for database security, backups, recovery plans and optimization.
  • They monitor database performance and troubleshoot errors.
  • They maintain database systems by administering patches, updates and upgrades.
  • They create database models and structures.
  • They plan database capacity and storage requirements.

Database Developer Skills

Before you hire a database developer, it is important to understand their educational background so that you can have an idea of the skills and knowledge they possess.

Education Background

Generally, database developers usually have a Bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field. Depending on the level of job you are looking to hire for, this requirement may change.

For instance, if you are hiring an entry-level database developer, a Bachelor's degree may be enough. However, if you are looking for more experience and knowledge, we recommend you hire someone with a Master's degree in computer science, software engineering, business intelligence or a related field.

Beyond Bachelors's and Masters's Degrees, you may need to look for candidates with additional certifications related to database technologies. This is because database developers must stay up-to-date on database technologies and advancements to keep their skills sharp. Here is a list of common database certifications to look out for when hiring database developers:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 8 Programmer
  • MongoDB Certified Developer Associate
  • AWS Certified Database - Specialty Certification

Database Developer Skills

Aside from their educational background, database developers must possess technical and soft skills to perform their job well.

On the technical side, database developers need to have the following skills:

  • Expertise in programming languages such as SQL, PL/SQL, MongoDB, Oracle or MySQL
  • Knowledge and understanding of the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process
  • Ability to create database objects such as tables, views and stored procedures
  • Knowledge of database design principles
  • Understanding of data integrity, normalization and indexing concepts
  • Experience with database modeling and optimization
  • Knowledge of data security best practices.

On the soft skills side, database developers need the following skills:

  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking abilities
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize tasks.

Tasks a Database Developer Should Comfortably Handle

Other than having the skills and education requirements, before you hire a database developer, they should comfortably do the following tasks:

  • Creating database objects such as tables, indexes and clusters
  • Inserting and deleting data from a table
  • Updating existing data in a table
  • Using techniques such as aggregate functions, subqueries, ordering and grouping to retrieve data from a table
  • Using functions such as SQL database triggers, stored procedures and database views
  • Tabling aliases and column aliases
  • Generating and understanding an execution plan

Database Developer Job Roles and Responsibilities

If your company is looking to hire a database developer, it is important to understand their job roles and responsibilities.

The main duties of a database developer include:

  • Designing and developing databases using appropriate programming languages
  • Writing database queries to extract and manipulate data
  • Ensuring the performance, security, and integrity of databases
  • Troubleshooting database issues and optimizing the database for efficiency
  • Developing and implementing data backups, recovery plans and procedures
  • Developing automated database management systems
  • Collaborating with other software developers, database administrators and system engineers

Database Developer Salary

There is no definite answer to how much a database developer earns. Nevertheless, the salary of database developers can vary depending on their experience, the company they work for and their location and skillset. Below provides a general idea of database developer salaries:

  • On the US BLS website, database architects — the equivalent of database developers — earned a median annual salary of $123,430 in May 2021.
  • According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual database developer’s salary in the United States was $97,329 in December 2022.
  • listed database developers' salaries in the United States with an average of $101,348 per year as of January 2023.

Best Paying Cities

The average pay range for a database developer varies greatly across cities and states. This is because the cost of living in different cities and states directly affects salaries.

According to ZipRecruiter, the best-paying cities in the US were San Mateo, Daly City, Berkeley, Green River, Irvine, Richmond, Merced, Tacoma, Orange and Oxnard. On the other hand, Indeed lists Jersey City, Dallas, Houston, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Louisville, Scottsdale, Minneapolis and Fairfax as the best-paying cities for database developers.

Why It's Important to Hire Database Developers

There are numerous reasons why your company should hire a database developer.

  • Improve database performance: Database developers can ensure that database systems are optimized to improve their performance. They will also build database triggers, stored procedures and database functions to ensure the database is secure and up-to-date.
  • Security: Database developers can also ensure database security by implementing database access controls. They can also develop database backup and recovery plans to protect the database from malicious activities.
  • Scalability: By hiring database developers, companies can create database designs that are scalable — growing with the organization's needs. This ensures that database systems can cope with increasing amounts of data in the future.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Database developers help organizations save costs by designing database solutions that reduce manual processes and automate routine tasks. This helps organizations save time, money and resources.

In-House vs. Outsourced Database Developers

When recruiting database developers, you can hire in-house or outsource database development services. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, in-house database developers can be more expensive to hire, as they require a full-time salary, benefits and training costs. They also need to be managed and monitored regularly. On the other hand, outsourcing database development services can help your organization save on expenses.

Whichever database development option you choose, there are factors that you need to consider, such as your budget, the database development needs of your organization, the database technologies you use, and the database developers’ skills.

Hire Database Developers

Database developers are essential to the success of any organization. If your company is looking to a hire database developer, you need to ensure they have the technical, educational and soft skills to perform the job well.

To ensure you find the right database developers for your company, consider partnering with Revelo. We match data science and technology professionals with the right companies. This way, you can find experienced database developers that have the skillsets required to meet your database development needs. Moreover, we vet database developers to ensure they have the right qualifications and certifications.

Ready to get started?  Contact us today, and let us help you find top-notch database developers for your organization.

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