Database Administrator Interview Questions

80 Questions and Answers by
William Swansen is an author, job search strategist and career advisor who assists individuals from all over the world.

Question 1 of 80

When did you know you wanted to be a Database Administrator?

All 80 Database Administrator Interview Questions

  1. Database Administrator Interview Questions


    When did you know you wanted to be a Database Administrator?

  2. 2.

    What information is stored in the control file?

  3. 3.

    What is a checkpoint?

  4. 4.

    What is normalization? Explain different levels of normalization?

  5. 5.

    Are you a development DBA or a production DBA?

  6. 6.

    What is the job of SMON, PMON processes?

  7. 7.

    Explain the difference between explicit and implicit lock?

  8. 8.

    What excites you about this position?

  9. 9.

    Tell me about your education relating to database management?

  10. 10.

    Why are you the best person for this position?

  11. 11.

    What is the difference between a primary key and a unique key?

  12. 12.

    What are user-defined database functions, and when should you go for them?

  13. 13.

    Tell me about your most memorable experience during yourundergrad education?

  14. 14.

    What is instance recovery?

  15. 15.

    What is written in the redo log file?

  16. 16.

    What is a tablespace?

  17. 17.

    Explain the difference between a database manager and a data manager?

  18. 18.

    Why did you choose to apply to our company when there are so many other opportunities for someone with your skills and experience?

  19. 19.

    Tell me your most successful program, project, or whatever you worked on that you were most proud of at your last job?

  20. 20.

    How do you implement one to one, one to many, and many to many relationships while designing tables?

  21. 21.

    What are the different modes of mounting a database with a parallel server?

  22. 22.

    What about data fascinates you?

  23. 23.

    What types of databases do you work with?

  24. 24.

    Do you have experience with on-premises databases, cloud databases or both?

  25. 25.

    Can you explain what ODBC is?

  26. Application Database Administrator Interview Questions


    How do you ensure data integrity across multiple systems and domains?

  27. 27.

    What are your top three skills or strengths that best qualify you for this position?

  28. 28.

    How often should you back-up a company database?

  29. 29.

    How are your writing skills?

  30. 30.

    How do you integrate external applications to increase efficiency in systems and processes? What applications would you recommend?

  31. 31.

    In your opinion, why is user access knowledge important in database security?

  32. 32.

    Give us an example of proactive - and reactive - data management support you've employed.

  33. 33.

    If a manager requests a tight turnaround on a report that you know takes longer to pull than your deadline allows, then what do you do?

  34. 34.

    What experience do you have with using a database to track and maintain an event?

  35. 35.

    What are the top 3 qualities you look for in a team?

  36. 36.

    Tell us about how you've collaborated across teams or departments to complete a project or to meet a goal.

  37. 37.

    When working from your desk for extended periods of time, what do you need to be comfortable and successful?

  38. 38.

    What about our company interests you the most?

  39. 39.

    Describe a difficult project where you successfully met or exceeded expectations.

  40. 40.

    How would your former colleagues describe your teamwork?

  41. 41.

    What are you most interested in when it comes to this role at our company?

  42. 42.

    Where do you aspire to be professionally 5 years from now?

  43. 43.

    Is there anything in the position's job description that surprises you?

  44. 44.

    What professional development do you think might be most beneficial to you and to this position over the next 3 years?

  45. 45.

    What steps do you take to appropriately handle confidential information? Please give us an example.

  46. 46.

    Aside from your computer, what is the most frequently used item on your desk?

  47. 47.

    With technology advancing daily, how do you stay up-to-date on new products and trends?

  48. 48.

    What databases do you have the most experience using?

  49. 49.

    What is your ideal work environment?

  50. 50.

    What do you do for 'screen breaks' when you've been at your desk for an extended period of time?

  51. Software Engineer Interview Questions


    In your opinion, what is the difference between computer software and a computer program?

  52. 52.

    Which design patterns do you use, and in what situations do you use them?

  53. 53.

    Can you describe what you know about object-oriented programming?

  54. 54.

    What methodologies do you use to ensure that your program will scale?

  55. 55.

    What are some of the programming languages you are familiar with, and which ones do you prefer?

  56. 56.

    What portion of your day involves coding, and what are the other activities you perform when not coding?

  57. 57.

    In your opinion, what distinguishes a great software engineer from an average one?

  58. 58.

    What do you look for or check when reviewing another team member's code?

  59. 59.

    What do you feel are the critical principles of good software engineering?

  60. 60.

    Walk me through your process for designing scalable applications.

  61. 61.

    Describe the process you use to create a program, from requirements definition to delivery.

  62. 62.

    How do you go about addressing errors in your code?

  63. 63.

    Can you describe the complete software development life cycle?

  64. 64.

    How experienced are you with the Agile software development process?

  65. 65.

    Please describe responsive design and the difference between fixed and fluid layouts.

  66. 66.

    What process do you use to test and find bugs in an application you've developed?

  67. 67.

    Please describe a stack and the two operations it performs.

  68. 68.

    What are the differences between an array and a stack?

  69. 69.

    How would you implement Dijkstra's Shortest Path using a programming language with which you are familiar?

  70. 70.

    Can you describe how you would implement linear search in JavaScript?

  71. 71.

    What are the differences between blocking and non-blocking calls in the context of Node.js?

  72. 72.

    What are the functions of web workers in HTML5?

  73. 73.

    How do you go about organizing CSS files, and why do you prefer this approach?

  74. 74.

    Walk me through the steps to build a single page application with multiple sections using the programming framework in which you typically work.

  75. 75.

    Can you define black box testing and white box testing and discuss the differences between them?

  76. 76.

    How would you accelerate the response time of a website you created?

  77. 77.

    Which do you prefer - a micro-service approach or a monolithic app?

  78. 78.

    Can you describe a tough software development problem you encountered in your last job and discuss how you solved it?

  79. 79.

    What personal software development projects have you worked on outside of work?

  80. 80.

    How would you go about explaining cloud computing to someone that doesn't have a technical background?

Database Administrator Job Summary

Virtually every organization depends on the data it collects and maintains. Examples of the types of data organizations use include inventory, customer information, R&D results, market statistics, employee information and much more. All of this data is stored in files and tables known as databases.

Database administrators are responsible for accurately developing and maintaining computer-based databases and making them available to stakeholders across a wide range of public and private sector organizations.

A professional Database Administrator, also known as a DBA, will ensure the database runs smoothly and available 24/7. The objective is to provide a continuous source of information that can be used throughout the organization to achieve its objectives. They are responsible for creating and maintaining both the backend data structure and developing a user interface for frontend access to the information by the end-users. DBAs are responsible for the performance, integrity, and security of databases and planning, developing, and troubleshooting issues with databases.

The Database Administrator job is both administrative and technical. Therefore, DBAs should display both good technical skills and administrative aptitude. They need to possess extensive knowledge of a variety of databases, be able to quickly respond to database issues that arise and perform maintenance and troubleshooting to keep the databases up and running and the data available to the business. Additionally, Database Administrators are analytic problem-solvers who are fluent in most data manipulation languages.

Database Administrators are in high demand, and there are a wide variety of Database Administrator jobs available across various industries and organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Database Administrator jobs are expected to grow by 10% between 2019 to 2029.

Database Administrator Duties & Responsibilities

A Database Administrator’s duties and responsibilities can differ greatly based on the type of business, the data they manage and the employer’s technical requirements. The common thread is that DBAs help store and manage data. Other duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Setting up the original data structure, which includes files and tables
  • Providing access to the data via user interfaces (UIs,) forms, and other means
  • Extracting and loading data using queries
  • Setting up security measures
  • Limiting access to different types of data to authorized users
  • Ensuring all hardware and software are updated
  • Authenticating data
  • Monitoring and optimizing the performance of hardware and software
  • Configuring servers and databases to align with the database requirements
  • Preserving the integrity of the data
  • Acting with integrity by not allowing unauthorized access to sensitive or proprietary data

Database Administrator Qualifications

Database Administrators usually need a Bachelor’s Degree, but the major can vary. Computer science is typical, but other majors can include mathematics, statistics, information technology or computer information systems.

It is recommended that DBAs complete internships to get practical training while still in school. Database Administrators who aspire to management roles are advised to obtain a Master’s in Database Administration or Business. Technical certification programs are also available for specialties, including programming languages and specific software applications.

Database Administrators usually need at least 2 years of experience in roles, including IT support or help desk. DBAs may come from other computer fields such as programming or development. Senior-level Database Administrators in leadership roles need at least five years of experience, preferably in IT management.

Some Important qualifications for Database Administrators include:

  • Knowledge of database management and cybersecurity best practices
  • Experience with a variety of computer information systems, networks and cloud computing
  • A background in database design and theories
  • Knowledge of database queries
  • The ability to work with data architects and network administrators to set up and maintain data networks
  • Experience with hardware and software installation and maintenance
  • Knowledge of common database languages, such as SQL or SQL/PSM
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to explain complex ideas in simple terms to non-technical individuals
  • Good multitasking abilities with the ability to complete assignments on time

Soft Skills

In addition to the hard skills directly related to the work a Database Administrator performs, you will likely be asked about several soft skills during an interview. Examples of these are:

  • Strong analytical and reasoning skills and the ability to picture processes and their outcomes
  • A knack for solving problems and developing solutions to complex issues
  • The ability to work collaboratively across the organization
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Database Administrator Interview Process

When preparing for an interview as a Database Administrator, you can anticipate that the interview will occur in 3 Phases:

  • Screening
  • Phone or Video Interview
  • Onsite Interview

Each of these will involve various types of questions and some hands-on exercises.

Screening in Response to a Referral or Online Application

The initial screening is used to validate your resume and learn more about your experience, skills and background. You may also be asked about your salary expectations, availability and other employment-related issues. Finally, they will discuss the next step in the process and offer to answer any questions you may have. This takes about 15-30 minutes.

Technical Phone or Video Interview

The next step in the process is a phone or video interview. This will be more in-depth than the initial screening and explores your qualifications more extensively. This part of the interview will include several different types of questions. These include general, technical, and operational. The purpose of these questions is to explore your database management skills and experience in more detail. You may also be asked to solve a database design or maintenance challenge, either in real-time or as a take-home exercise. Usually, the interviewer will allow you to do the exercise using tools you are comfortable working with. The phone or video interview will take from 1-2 hours, depending on whether there is a live program development requirement.

Onsite Interview

The onsite interview is the last phase of the interview process. This involves meeting with one or more contacts from different parts of the prospective organization. The people you interview with may include HR representatives, the Hiring Manager, Managers from other departments such as Quality, Product, Operations, Finance, and Sales, and possibly other Database Administrators who are members of the team you will be working on. Onsite interviews can last from a few hours to over several days, depending on the organization and the type of job you are interviewing for. You are likely to be asked a wide range of questions from every category. These include:

  • General - Meant to get to know you, start you talking, learn more about your background and collect information to use throughout the rest of the interview.
  • Technical - These questions explore your technical skills, knowledge and expertise. They ask about terminology, concepts, processes, and other database-related issues.
  • Operational - Operational questions investigate how you perform your job and go about managing databases. They ask you to describe the steps you take to complete a task or to walk the interviewer through the processes you use in your job.
  • Behavioral - Behavioral questions seek to understand how you react to specific situations such as conflict, challenges, change and similar occurrences on the job site. They do this by asking about your past experiences with these types of situations and t
  • Situational - Situational questions are similar to behavioral ones, except they create future scenarios to discover your methods for resolving issues. This requires you to project what you would do when confronted with a situation described by the intervi
  • Cultural- These questions help the interviewer determine how well you will fit into the organization and contribute to its culture or conflict with it. Questions will explore your work style, preferences, ability to collaborate and other personal traits.

Being prepared for these types of questions and practicing your responses before the interview will help you to be ready to respond to them during the onsite phase of the interview process.

The interview typically concludes with either an immediate job offer or a brief description of how the overall interview process is being conducted and when you can expect to hear about the organization’s decision. Additional steps in the process may include asking you to provide references the employer can contact or participating in online or live tests to determine your personality type, such as Myers-Briggs.