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Table of Contents

Hire Database Developers: The Ultimate Guide

If your business creates and stores a lot of data, consider hiring a database developer. A skilled database developer can create databases to store, secure, and organize your data. They can also rebuild indexes, update statistics, and reconfigure settings to boost your database's performance.

However, picking the right database developer for your team can be challenging. At first glance, the internet appears to be chockfull of database talent, especially if you're looking at job sites like LinkedIn and Fiverr. But only a small fraction of these developers have the skills, personality, and experience to help your company store and manage data.

That's why we've written this comprehensive guide for hiring database developers. We'll cover what database development is, what a database developer does, and why and how to hire database developers. Along the way, we'll share tips for identifying essential database developer skills, database dev salaries, how to write a compelling job ad, and sample interview questions for database development talent.

What Is Database Development?

Database development refers to the development and maintenance of database systems. The goal of database development is to help companies use their data effectively and efficiently.

Developers can create databases to manage any kind of data for any purpose. Common examples of databases include:

  • Customer management: Databases store customer data, including age, location, gender, contact details, and favorite products. Marketing and data analytics teams can use these insights to create appropriate marketing plans for services and products.
  • Inventory: Databases track inventory in your warehouses, storage rooms, and store shelves. A skilled database developer can combine an inventory database with stock scanners and bar codes to create a tracking system that monitors products moving between destinations. They can also program inventory databases to send alerts when products and supplies are low.
  • Personnel: You can also use a database to collect and manage employee data such as wages, salaries, holidays, commissions, and tax numbers. Link your database to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to derive further insights.

What Does a Database Developer Do?

Database developers are primarily responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining efficient databases that meet your needs and expectations. They're also required to monitor database performance and troubleshoot problems as needed.

Other duties include:

  • Ensuring that all data is intelligently stored, secured, and processed
  • Defining procedures, indexing, functions, and other parameters
  • Creating automated database triggers for tracking systems
  • Making data available to authorized personnel
  • Designing user interfaces for databases
  • Structuring company data
  • Analyzing and evaluating the feasibility and costs of database implementation
  • Establishing guidelines for data backup
  • Instructing and training team members on how to use databases

Why and How to Hire a Database Developer?

Now, let's take a look at why and how you can hire a database developer.

Many businesses erroneously assume that database developers are unnecessary luxuries. After all, they can just get their administrative or IT staff to use MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, right?

However, training your existing staff to use MySQL and other database tools isn't enough. For one, they don't have the skills to manage large amounts of data. They also don't have the skills and experience to design, implement, and deploy database management solutions.

Database developers, on the other hand, have well-honed data management skills. They can also transform, manipulate, and create data pipelines to accelerate database operations. Other benefits include:

  1. Establishing best practices for data management: An experienced database developer will help you follow best practices for data management. They will choose the right configurations and settings for your database, giving you a more streamlined performance than you would get from default settings. Following best practices will also help you:
  1. Ensure data security: The right database developer will ensure appropriate access to data and prevent unauthorized people from accessing your data. They will also work with you to address data security on the physical level.
  2. Improve data quality: Database developers don't just help you collect and organize data — they can also help you ensure and improve data quality. Depending on the type of developer you hire, you may be able to access cutting-edge data quality improvement techniques. For instance, the Agile database developer community specializes in concrete quality techniques — such as continuous database integration, database testing, and database refactoring — that are more effective than traditional strategies like Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL).
  1. Disaster prevention and recovery: A skilled database developer can be invaluable in preventing and mitigating systems failures and disasters. The right pick should be able to use cloud services to back up and protect your data from malicious third parties.

As you can see, hiring a database developer offers many advantages. The right choice can help you design, program, and implement new databases for your company. They can also monitor and manage database programs so that only authorized personnel have access to enterprise data.

However, before you start hiring, you need to consider potential candidates' skills, experience levels, and salaries.

1. Identify Essential Database Developer Skills

First, let's take a look at the hard and soft skills you should look for in a database developer.

Hard Skills

The best candidate should have the following hard or technical skills:

Advanced SQL Skills

Your database dev should have a solid understanding of structured query language (SQL) principles. A standard language for accessing and manipulating databases, SQL is a language for relational databases — that is, collections of tables that store structured data.

At a minimum, your hire should know how to do the following:

  • Create new databases
  • Store procedures
  • Retrieve data
  • Update records
  • Write triggers, queries, and views for integration with other applications
  • Establish and maintain high standards of data integrity and quality
  • Back up and ensure data security

Note that there are many frameworks for SQL. While you can't expect your hire to know all of them, they should be familiar with at least one of the following:

  • MySQL: This is a free, open-source database management system for relational databases. Highly scalable and reliable, MySQL can be used to store data in tables made of columns and rows. Users can also use MySQL to manipulate, define, query, and control data.
  • Microsoft SQL Server: This framework lets users query, analyze, and store data. Unlike MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server uses a simpler server syntax and is available in multiple languages.
  • PostgreSQL: A powerful open-source database system with over three decades of active development, PostgreSQL offers a broader range of data types than MySQL. If your project or app uses unstructured data or a unique data type that MySQL doesn't cover, PostgreSQL is probably the best choice.
Honed NoSQL Skills

The ideal hire should also know how to use NoSQL databases.

Top NoSQL databases include:

  • RavenDB
  • MongoDB
  • Cassandra
  • Riak
  • CouchBase

As their name suggests, NoSQL databases are non-tabular databases that store data differently from SQL tables. Because they're unstructured, NoSQL databases can come in a variety of types, such as:

  • Wide-column databases, which store data in rows, tables, and dynamic columns.
  • Document databases, which store data in documents similar to JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) objects. The values can range from strings and booleans to objects and arrays.
  • Graph databases, which store data in nodes and edges. Nodes store data about places, people, and things, while edges store data about relationships between nodes.
  • Key-value databases, which store values and keys.
Strong Programming Skills

Database developers need to know more than just SQL. Even the most specialized database devs use languages like Perl and Python to automate tasks outside of the database environment.

As such, your hire should know at least two of the following languages:

  • C++: A general-purpose language that can be used to create lightning-quick apps, C++ gives developers a high degree of control over memory and systems resources. Devs can also use C++ to create application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • Java: Part of the C language family, Java is a class-based, object-oriented coding language that was designed to have as few dependencies as possible. Database developers may need to use Java when collaborating with app developers who want to access databases through Java.
  • Python: One of the most flexible scripting languages in existence, Python and SQL are a match made in heaven. If your dev knows Python, they can use Python's expansive number of libraries for efficient high-level data manipulation, such as time-series data, regressions, and statistical analyses.
  • R: A language and software environment for statistical graphics and computing, R is another great match for SQL. If your dev knows R, they should be able to use it with SQL to retrieve data from centralized relational databases. They should also know how to use packages like RSQLite to create and query databases while analyzing data.

Soft Skills

Besides hard skills, the ideal hire should also have solid soft skills, such as teamwork and communication skills. Pay close attention to these skills when interviewing applicants — they will have a large impact on whether a candidate is a good fit for your team.

Teamwork Skills

Database devs need sharp teamwork skills to work with colleagues across the information technology (IT) department. In any given week, a database developer may have to collaborate with:

Data analytics and digital transformation may also require your hires to work with experts from other departments, such as marketing, quality assurance, and operations.

To work well on a team, database developers need to know when to speak and listen. They also need to have empathy for team members. Specifically, they need to know how others are feeling and understand their perspectives.

Critical Thinking

The best database developer for your team should be able to solve and troubleshoot issues quickly. They should also be able to:

  • Approach questions and problems from different perspectives
  • Locate multiple solutions for problems
  • Continually ask questions about data and the data management process
  • Encourage others to voice their ideas
Creativity

Thanks to groundbreaking advances in big data, mobile technology, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, businesses are capturing more data than ever before.

Accordingly, creativity is an important trait to look for in a database developer. A creative database developer can easily create new procedures and methods for collecting, securing, storing, and deploying data.

2. How Much Do Database Developers Make?

Once you've created a list of must-have hard and soft skills, the next step is to research database developer salaries. A database developer's salary varies depending on skill and experience level. Let's take a look at the salaries and skills of entry-level, junior, and senior database developers.

Junior/Entry-Level Database Developer Skills and Salary

Entry-level database developers have no working experience. They are usually fresh grads with bachelor's degrees in Computer Science, IT, and other related fields, but some are self-taught or graduates of boot camps. Since they have little to no professional experience, they have fewer skills and lower salaries than senior devs. According to ZipRecruiter, the average U.S.-based entry-level database developer earns $62,845 per year.

With two years of experience under their belt, junior database developers are more experienced than entry-level developers. However, because they still need a lot of training and mentorship from seniors, they have similar salaries as entry-level database developers. According to ZipRecruiter, the average U.S.-based junior database developer earns $62,491 per year.

As you can see, junior and entry-level are technically two separate skill levels. However, most companies conflate the two because they have similar skill levels and salaries. They also need mentorship and educational opportunities to reach their full potential, so they're not the best choice if you're looking for a hire who can start contributing to your projects right away.

Most companies expect junior and entry-level database devs to have the following skills:

  • Some knowledge of database tools like MySQL
  • Ability to use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to organize and format complex documents
  • Strong teamwork and communication skills

Senior Database Developer Skills and Salary

Senior database developers have more than five years of experience. They have ample experience working for companies and know how to plan, create, and recover databases.

The top skills for senior database devs are:

  • Database design
  • Robust experience with relational databases using NoSQL and SQL databases
  • Experience in creating reporting solutions
  • Strong multitasking and teamwork skills
  • Proven ability to design and implement data architecture

According to Glassdoor, the average U.S.-based senior database developer earns a whopping $118,733 per year.

3. Write a Comprehensive Database Developer Job Ad

After determining the salary range for potential hires, you need to write a comprehensive database developer job description to attract top-notch talent. At a minimum, your job description should have the following sections:

  • Job title
  • Job location
  • Company description
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Required skills and experience
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Working schedule

Here's a good example of a database developer job ad:

Remote Senior Database Developer — Revelo

Revelo is looking for a Remote Senior Database Developer to join our international team. The successful candidate will work closely with different stakeholders to create leading-edge database solutions.

This position is open to Senior Database Developers in the following time zones:

  • Pacific Standard Time (PST)
  • Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Mountain Standard Time (MST)
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Company Bio:

Revelo is a talent marketplace that matches FAANG-caliber Latin American developers with startups around the world. Learn more about us on our site, www.revelo.io.

Responsibilities:

  • Gather business requirements from internal and external stakeholders
  • Design and build new databases
  • Collaborate with project managers, quality assurance, marketing, and other relevant teams
  • Identify bugs and technical risks early in the development lifecycle
  • Ensure optimal performance, responsiveness, and quality of database applications
  • Create and implement data recovery plans

Requirements:

  • At least five years of experience designing and implementing enterprise-level database systems, distributed systems, and analytical and reporting workflows
  • At least four years of experience with disaster recovery
  • Expert-level NoSQL and SQL skills
  • Experience with the full lifecycle of Scrum software development
  • Solid knowledge of Business Intelligence (BI)

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Competitive salary of $110,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on experience
  • Vision care
  • Wellness program
  • Parental leave
  • Four weeks of vacation

Schedule:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST
  • Monday to Friday

4. Create Engaging Database Developer Interview Questions

Last but not least, you need to write compelling interview questions for database developers.

Most companies ask straightforward, knowledge-based questions like "Define NoSQL" and "What is a database"?" These questions can tell you how well an applicant knows their stuff, but they leave out important details about their personality, experience, and work ethic.

To learn more about how well a candidate would fit into your team, ask personalized and open-ended questions. Here are some examples:

  • What interests you the most about database management and development?
  • What types of databases have you created and managed before?
  • How do you approach data security and data loss?
  • What was the most challenging database project you've worked on?
  • When is it time to upgrade certain databases?
  • How would you schedule your day as a database developer? What tasks would you prioritize on a daily basis?

Start Hiring Database Developers With Revelo

Hiring the best database developers can be an uphill battle, especially since there are so many candidates to test and interview.

Luckily, there's Revelo. We can help you source, hire, and manage FAANG-caliber database devs on one platform. All of our talent has been rigorously pre-vetted for their skills, experience, and English proficiency.

Talk to us today to start hiring.

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Interview Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a free trial period for hiring
Database
developers through Revelo?

Yes, if for any reason you find the developer you hire isn't a good fit within the first 14 days - you pay nothing or we can find you a replacement at no additional cost.

How are Revelo
Database
developers different?
Revelo offers full-time remote
Database
developers who share or highly overlap with your work day. You get world-class
Database
developers in Latin America who speak English and are vetted on soft and technical skills. All developers live in the same time zones as the US or adjacent due to our talent base being exclusively in Latin America.
How do I hire
Database
developers?

Hiring a full-time developer through Revelo is a simple 3-step process. First, you tell us your hiring needs. Second, we match you to the best developers within 3 days. Third, you interview the candidates you like and hire the one you like most.

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