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Database Administrator vs. Accounting Career

by Forest Time

Database administration and accounting jobs are very different animals. Both require postsecondary education and work in an office or business setting. However, that's about where the similarities end. Database administrators must have an intimate knowledge of how computers and computer networks function, whereas accountants must understand numbers and financial law.

Database Administrators

Database administrators, sometimes called DBAs, oversee stores of data for organizations. They make sure that sensitive data is protected from hackers, while ensuring that employees can access the data when needed. For example, a database administrator working for a business might oversee the shipping addresses and credit card information of customers. A DBA working for a hospital helps to protect sensitive patient health information. Database administrators also back up data so that it won't be accidentally lost.

Accountants

Accountants are financial experts. Some work primarily with the public, and many public accountants are self-employed. Others are employed by corporations, banks or other organizations. Still other accountants are employed by the government to audit organizations or individuals. Accountants sometimes specialize in a certain area of finance, such as cost accountants or tax accountants. In addition to balancing the books, preparing tax returns and providing investment advice, accountants also suggest ways that corporations and individuals can reduce costs.

Educational Requirements

A career as a database administrator usually requires at least a bachelor's degree in management information systems and several years of industry experience as a database developer or database analyst. Many employers prefer to hire DBAs who also have a master's degree in business administration. Accountants need a bachelor's in accounting, and a master's degree in accounting or business administration can improve employment opportunities. In addition, accountants should seek professional certification such as the Certified Public Accountant, or CPA.

Pay Differences

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and database administrators reported comparable wages in 2012. Accountants reported an average wage of $34.15 per hour and an average salary of $71,040 per year. Database administrators earned a bit more, with an average wage of $38.04 per hour and a mean annual salary of $79,120.

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