DBA Ranks Stay Lean Despite Data Growth

February, 2012

Application integration, business analytics, and cloud computing are creating need for personnel skilled in managing, testing, securing, and backing up databases. Yet even as organizations store and process increasing amounts of data, IT organizations in recent years have not substantially increased the size of their database administration staff, as least, as a percentage of the IT staff.

Over the past three years, in particular, the ratio of DBAs to total IT staff is largely unchanged, according to our study, Database Administration Staffing Ratios. DBAs dropped from 3.5% of the IT staff in 2009 to 3.2% in 2010, but recovered to 3.4% in 2011, as shown in Figure 1. The fluctuations are mostly due to the recession-related changes in overall staffing mix rather than in DBA staff in particular.

DBA Staff Fig1 - DBA Ranks Stay Lean Despite Data Growth

By most estimates, DBA employment is likely to grow with the deployment of more and larger databases. Yet IT organizations are taking steps to more efficiently manage their databases with better tools, outsourcing, and other strategies.

The full study helps IT managers determine whether they are keeping pace with industry standards by providing three benchmarks: DBAs as a percentage of the IT staff, users per DBA, and applications per DBA. We present benchmarks for small, midsize, and large organizations. We also examine the influence of sector on the benchmarks and look at the three-year trend in DBA staffing.

In this study, we use the term “database administrator” to refer to IT staff members engaged in tasks associated with maintaining databases. DBAs primarily involved with developing databases and data schemes are not be included in this category. We place data analysts, data modelers, and data architects involved with developing databases and applications in a separate category of data warehouse and business intelligence staff.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Database Administration (DBA) Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.