Database Developer vs Database Administrator

By Obi Ogbanufe

Knowing the difference between the Database Developer and Database Administrator can make a technical recruiter’s day just a little simpler when recruiting for either positions. The Database Developer and Database Administrator may share similar skills, but the main difference in the two may be as simple as reading a little more into their titles. In the case of the administrator – think of any administrator you know, not just in the technical field, but in general, they take care of things, run things; while the developer creates and builds things from inception to materialization; an example would be like the land developer.

The database administrator performs the day-to-day task of maintaining the database environment to ensure its availability and that it runs smoothly using database tools to monitor, fix and maintain the physics of the database software and the hardware on which it runs.  On the other hand, the database developer designs and creates new ways of using a software application. The database developer does this by using database objects like stored procedures, tables, views, XML to name a few.

Using an illustration; if the database system is a house, the Database Administrator is the person that ensures the light fixtures, plumbing, foundation, sheetrock, air-conditioning, and security system are all working well, while the Database Developer is the person that ensures the air is turned on right, and that whenever the outside weather is cold, the house heater should be on and vice versa. The Database Developer ensures that the house is put to good use, whether for bringing up children or taking care of the elderly, for both a daycare and a home, or casino and a bookstore, for rocked out parties or birthday parties. The Database Developer is the one that makes the house a home, or conducive to its intended purpose.

From the above explanation, you can see that both the Database Administrator and Database Developer are essential for the running of a well kept database system.  Some organizations require the skills in 2 separate persons where one person is the Database Administrator and another Database Developer, whilst other organizations (maybe as a result of size) need one person to do both the Database Administrator and Database Developer tasks as well.

So while recruiting for either of these positions, bear in mind the main difference described above and then look below to help to differential their skills.

Database Developer Database Administrator
Overall Database Designs database solutions using tables, stored procedures, functions, views, and indexes. Maintains and monitors database systems using replication, log-shipping, backup/recovery, performance monitor.
Database Environment Works in development and testing environments. These are internal noncustomer-facing systems. Works in production environment. This is the external customer-facing system.

For more in-depth information on their difference, please check out the book ‘Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter’

Obi Ogbanufe is the author of “Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter”. To find out more about her speaking and consulting, please visit or

About Obi

Obi Ogbanufe lives near Dallas, TX. Her background is in technology, with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering. She started her career in NCR Corporation as a professional services consultant and then moved on to other job roles including Windows Administrator, Database Administrator, Programmer Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer, and Database Developer with companies like Voyager Expanded Learning and She currently works as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Consultant and Trainer. Obi holds many technical certifications such as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Microsoft Certified Business Management Solution Specialist on Dynamics CRM, and Oracle Certified Associate (OCA). Obi spent two years working a technical recruiter for a company she started in 2006, recruiting candidates in different areas that included database developers, quality assurance, .NET developers. Today she uses her experience in IT and Recruiting to help individuals and organizations screen and qualify technical candidates through her book – Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter and training sessions.
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