What Data Professionals Earn in 2008

How well are Oracle database professionals and managers being paid? Recently, Unisphere Research, in cooperation with the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), conducted its first annual salary survey of managers and professionals at Oracle database sites.The survey was sponsored by Ntirety, a leading provider of remote database administration services for Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Not only did the survey find wide differences based on experience, but also within the pay rates of larger organizations versus their smaller counterparts, geography, and by level of skills certification.

Of the 503 respondents to the survey, 50 percent said they are database administrators, 16 percent are analysts or developers, 10 percent are IT managers, and the remaining 24 percent hold a variety of titles, including that of consultant, architect, and project manager. A majority, 58 percent, indicated they have more than a decade of experience at their jobs, while 10 percent are relatively new with less than five years' experience. About half said they hold some form of certification.

What kinds of skills are "hot" these days, for which employers are willing to pay a premium? In follow-up questions to the salary data, many respondents pointed to business-related skills, in which data professionals interact closer with the rest of the organization to map out data requirements within applications. "Skills have moved from totally database-centric to business-centric," said one respondent. "Technology for technology's sake is no longer important. Technology that has a positive business impact is important and the DBA is relied upon to understand it if it's database-related."

Another respondent observed that data professionals and managers "need to understand the entire stack being used within the organization for production applications. In the past, each person was specialized in a specific area (only vertical). Now we need to wear multiple hats to support the needs of the organization and the production applications."

The survey covered salary trends within three main groups - DBAs, developers and analysts, and IT managers. Salaries reported were based on salaries only, not including bonuses, incentives, benefits, or stock options. All figures were requested in U.S. dollars.

Close to three out of 10 DBAs - who oversee the operational aspects of database sites - now receive five-figure incomes for their work, the survey showed. The largest segment, 47 percent, reported making base salaries of between $80,000 and $100,000. There were notable differences in the pay ranges for small versus large organizations. More than a third of DBAs with large organizations (employing more than 10,000 employees) reported annual salaries exceeding $100,000 a year, versus 20 percent of the smallest employers (1,000 or fewer employees).

The survey found those DBAs with certifications moved ahead a little quicker than those without. The survey covered a range of Oracle certifications, including Oracle 10g OCA (Oracle Certified Associate) and Oracle 10g OCP (Oracle Certified Professional). More than a third of those with no certifications, 34 percent, had salaries that fell below the $80,000 mark; compared to 20 percent of those with one of the major Oracle certifications.

For purposes of this survey, the categories of developers (or programmers) and analysts were combined into a single category. A majority of developers and analysts, 57 percent, reported making base salaries of less than $80,000 a year. Overall, 13 percent said their salaries topped the $100,000-a-year mark, a percentage that climbs to 23 percent among developers and analysts within the largest organizations. Experience and organizational size count significantly for developer and analyst salary ranges. Close to a quarter of those professionals within large organizations earn more than $100,000 a year, compared to only eight percent in the smaller firms. In addition, close to one out of four of those with at least a decade of industry experience under their belts are topping $100,000 in pay, compared to only five percent of those just starting in IT management.

For the survey report, What Data Professionals Earn - The 2008 IOUG Salary Survey, visit the IOUG Web site at For information about Ntirety, go to