Top 20 Database Administrator Interview Questions & Answers 2024

Editorial Team

The role of database administration is very critical when it comes to managing databases and ensuring their information is accessible when needed. For this role, you need to hire a person who can efficiently manage the company’s data, databases, and servers. These are critical assets that must be handled by a competent individual. Here are the top 20 questions and answers that will help you select an expert database administrator for your company.

1. What Roles are Performed by a Database Administrator?

Your familiarity with the roles performed by database administrators is assessed here.

Tip #1: Mention some roles that a database administrator perform

Tip #2: Make it prompt and brief

Sample Answer

A database administrator plans about the installation of organization-wide database systems, implements departmental work plans, monitors the functionality of database resources, and reviews and evaluates database software. Other roles include maintaining relevant standards, securing databases, and troubleshooting database problems.

2. Describe Your Previous Experience with Database Servers.

The interviewer wants to know if you have any experience working with database servers and how that experience will help the company.

Tip #1: Describe your experience of working with database servers.

Tip #2: Explain anything that stood out for you.

Sample Answer

I have worked with different databases including oracle for the past five years. Whenever failure occurs, I capitalize on my skills and knowledge to identify the problem and rectify it promptly. To overcome certain security and functionality issues, I make sure to upgrade a database to a more recent and better version. I have been involved in setting up databases as well as migrating data from one platform to another.

3. How Will You Help a Client Get the Best SQL Server?

The interviewer wants to test your knowledge on servers and how you can use it to help clients.

Tip #1: Describe how you assisted a client set up a server.

Tip #2: Clearly describe your role in the process of helping the client.

Sample Answer

I will ask the clients about the size of the organization so that I can determine the best SQL that will suit her organization’s needs. I would also ask about the uptime and any unique security requirements as well as other applications that the client will use.

I once assisted a client who was experiencing trouble with her new SQL server. The system was very slow, and it was affecting her business. I analyzed and discovered a lack of compatibility between the new and old databases, so I upgraded the databases, and the system functioned well.

4. As a Database Administrator, How Do You Prevent Data Loss?

The interviewer is testing whether you can prevent data loss.

Tip #1: State how you prevent data losses.

Tip #2: Show that you can help to secure data at all times.

Sample Answer

I make sure to perform regular data backups. Before migrating any data, I ensure that it is backed up and the backup is secure and in good condition.

5. Describe How You Would Use SQL Agent.

The interviewer is testing your depth of experience using SQL server

Tip#1: Clearly explain the purpose of the SQL agent.

Tip#2: Describe a situation where you used it.

Sample Answer

SQL agents enable you to perform commands at a specific time repeatedly. For example, backups are done frequently at particular times. I use SQL agents to perform backups daily at a time when no one is using the system. I do my backups at 3:00 am using SQL agents.

6. What Database Tools Do You Use?

The interviewer is seeking to find out how you use tools to solve problems.

Tip #1: Mention the tools you use and why you prefer them

Tip#2: Cite a situation when you used the tools

Sample Answer

Navicat allows me to connect many servers and work quickly and more efficiently. I once used Navicat and MS Access to help a client to migrate and clean up data quickly.

7. How Do You Handle Complains About Database Performance from Users?

Here, the interviewer wants to test your problem-solving skills.

Tip #1: Explain in detail the problems the users experienced and the process you used to solve it.

Tip #2: Describe an experience when this happened.

Sample Answer

I regularly check and monitor the database to ensure it is working properly. However, if I receive user complaints concerning a particular issue, I start by analyzing the problem. After carefully analyzing the problem, I am able to identify the root cause. Then, I take appropriate actions to rectify it. Once the issue is eliminated, I seek feedback from users to know whether they are satisfied.

8. Briefly describe a Database?

Your basic knowledge of databases is tested in this question.

Tip #1: Define a database

Tip #2: Show that you understand the database concept.

Sample Answer

A database is a collection of organized and structured data or information that is typically stored electronically. A database is controlled and managed using a database management system.

9. What is a Database Query?

The interviewer is testing your knowledge about database query

Tip #1: Clearly define a Query

Tip #2: In simple terms, state the function of the query

Sample Answer

A query consists of instructions directed to a database. It instructs it on what to do, like to create a table, read, update a record, or delete data. Database queries are written in the form of questions or statements.

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10. What is SQL?

The interviewer is testing your knowledge of languages used to manipulate the database.

Tip #1: Clearly define the term

Tip#2: Describe in detail the functions of SQL.

Sample Answer

SQL stands for a sequential query language that you use to instruct the database to do what you want. You can give the database instructions through questions or statements and manipulate the data already in the database.

11. Explain the Function of a Primary Key

Your technical skills are tested with this question. The interviewer wants to know if you have interacted extensively with databases.

Tip #1: Clearly state the function of a primary key

Tip #2: Give examples of a primary key

Sample Answer

A primary key is a unique value of a table that is used to index that table. The primary key is used to retrieve a particular record from a table within a database. For example, in a school, every student is given an admission number. The admission number is unique and cannot be shared by two students. If you want to retrieve all the information of a particular student from the database, you will use this unique identifier.

12. Differentiate between a Navigational Database and a Relational Database.

The interviewer is testing your knowledge of the different types of databases and how they differ from each other.

Tip #1: Describe each database type and its function

Tip #2: Clearly describe how the two databases differ from each other

Sample Answer

A navigational database is structured like a tree. A value has a parent and a child, and that is how they link to each other. If you want to access data, you have to follow a particular route as you move from parent to child. On the other hand, a relational database is more flexible and uses a primary key, which is a unique identifier to access data.

13. What Types of Database have You Used?

The interviewer wants to know if you are conversant with different database systems.

Tip #1: Describe in detail your experience with various databases

Tip #2: Be honest and straight to the point

Sample Answer

I have worked with the Microsoft SQL Server. I worked with the 2012 version for seven years. I have also worked with Oracle for three years. Besides, I am well-versed in using centralized, distributed, and cloud databases.

14. Share your Experience with Cloud Databases?

The interviewer wants to test your level of knowledge on cloud databases.

Tip #1: Describe cloud databases

Tip #2: Show that you are experienced in using this type of database

Sample Answer

Cloud databases are database services that are built and accessed using a cloud platform. Although they offer the services provided by traditional databases, they have added flexibility that is enabled by cloud computing functionality. The good thing about a cloud database is that no physical space is required. Besides, it is highly secure and can be accessed simply using a web interface.

15. What Do You Understand by ODBC?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are familiar with ODBC interface.

Tip #1: Show that you understand what is meant by ODBC

Tip #2: Make it prompt to avoid becoming questionable

Sample Answers

ODBC is an acronym for open database connectivity. This is an interface developed by Microsoft that permits applications to gain access to data stored in a database using SQL. The functionality of ODBC is supported by its four components: an application, driver manager, driver, and data source.

16. What is your daily routine as a database administrator?

This question tests whether you are familiar with the duties and responsibilities performed by database administrators daily.

Tip #1: State the duties performed by a database administrator

Tip #2: Make it quick and don’t mull

Sample Answer

My daily routine includes monitoring user access and security, managing parameters to offer prompt responses to end users, monitoring database performance, and installing new versions of the DBMS. Besides, I will perform data backup, control access permissions, train users on accessing the database information, and troubleshoot related issues and resolve them quickly.

17. Explain How You Troubleshoot Database Issues?

The interviewer wants to know the strategy that you use for troubleshooting database problems.

Tip #1: Clearly state the procedure you use to analyze and solve a database problem.

Tip #2:  Show that you can identify database problems and find solutions.

Sample Answer

I continuously monitor the database server. I use a ticketing system for users to report any issues that they are experiencing. If there is a problem, I analyze and identify the cause. After I have successfully identified the cause, I will solve the problem immediately. However, if it’s a simple technical issue, I will designate it to a technical person and follow up to ensure the issue has been resolved successfully and quickly.

18. What Do You Understand by a Database Schema?

This question tests your knowledge about the internal communication of tables in databases.

Tip #1: Define the term database schema

Tip #2: Be precise and provide all important points

Sample Answer

A database schema represents how tables within a database communicate with each other. It’s usually a two-dimensional representation. For example, a relational database will have tables linked to each other using a primary key and a foreign key. This linking is what enables the communication between the tables.

19. Explain Log Shipping in the Microsoft SQL Server.

The interviewer is testing your knowledge in the Microsoft SQL Server.

Tip #1: Define the term log shipping

Tip #2: Show a clear understanding of log shipping and its function

Sample Answer

Log shipping is the same as a backup in Microsoft SQL. It uses rapid failover in instances when the main server is not working. Therefore, Log shipping is done manually.

20. Briefly describe your experience with Hadoop?

The interviewer wants to know whether you are familiar with Hadoop.

Tip #1: Describe Hadoop and its application

Tip #2: Demonstrate that you are experienced in Hadoop

Sample Answer

Hadoop enables companies to work with huge data sets. In my previous assignments, I have implemented and optimized Hadoop solutions for different enterprises. I ensure to stay abreast of new methods of using Hadoop. I engage in forums where this technology is discussed and through that, I learn a lot.


Understanding interview questions and the responses to look for is a great step towards finding the right candidate. Since the database administration role is critical in any company today, employers need to make sure they ask the right questions to help them get the best and most qualified person for the job.