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5. Database Administrator

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Database Administrator
Median pay: $87,200
Top pay: $122,000
10-year job growth: 30.6%
Total jobs*: 110,800
What they do all day? It's no understatement to say that corporate America is in the middle of an information explosion. Somebody has to keep track of it all. A database administrator (DBA) minds all the data in a company's storehouse, keeps it safe and makes sure it's easily accessible.

How to get the job? A degree in computer science is recommended, followed by years of experience. Many employers require certification in the most widely used programs, including MySQL, Oracle and DB2. And since the technology is always changing, re-training is a constant.

What makes it great? More data means more opportunities — DBAs are among the top-growing jobs on our list. They also command high paychecks, compared even to other tech jobs.

What's the catch? The job requires long periods in front of the computer -- especially during crunch times for big projects. And computers crash. Be prepared to come in late at night or on weekends when things go wrong. --T.Z.

Quality of life ratings:
Personal satisfaction Low stress Benefit to society Flexibility
B C C B
Published: October 29, 2012
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least five or seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2010-20, and based on people working in broader 'job family' from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research
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