What to Look For In a Good Database Developer

Data drives business, and your company needs to employ the best database developers you can find.
May 31, 2022
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In a world where the competition is growing by leaps and bounds, most companies would struggle to compete without data. Data helps businesses fine-tune their offerings, predict trends, keep track of clients, customers, and products, and makes it far easier to build on existing customer relations. On top of that, so many applications depend on databases to function.

Needless to say, the world of business would not be nearly as agile as it is now without data.

This means your business needs to employ the best database developers (aka database administrators) you can find. But what qualities should you be looking for in a good database developer? These aren’t standard employees or developers, as there are very specific skill sets involved with developing and managing various types of databases.

Outside of the usual list of qualities you should look for in an employee (such as solid communication, spotless work history, ability to take constructive criticism, and teamwork), what should you be looking for?

High Proficiency With Data Modeling

Data modeling is a very specific skill that makes it easy for DB admins to create a conceptualized model of how individual data assets relate to one another. It’s easy to forget how complex databases can be and when numerous relations occur between data sets, that complexity becomes even more challenging.

One of the very first skill sets you should look for is a high proficiency in data modeling. Your database developers must be able to create these models such that your other developers can use them to build applications that can successfully interact with data. 

Without a high proficiency with data modeling, your various teams are going to struggle from the start, as the databases won’t be well defined or structured in a useful way.

Solid Understanding of At Least One Database

When you set out to build an application that depends on a database, one of the first things you might decide upon is what database to use. Will your app or service function with a relational database, or does it need a document-centric, NoSQL database? 

Once you’ve decided on the type, you’ll then need to narrow it down to a single database management system (such as MySQL, MS SQL, MongoDB, or SQLite).

As you can see, there are a lot of options available. To that end, you’ll need to hire database developers that have a solid understanding of at least one database. Your best bet would be to go with a database developer that is comfortable with at least one relational database and one NoSQL database. If they can work with multiple databases of both types, even better.

Know How to Manage Multiple Data Sources

Your data will come from numerous sources and your database developers will need to know how to manage those sources in such a way that they can be used not only within the databases being developed, but by the apps those databases will depend on. 

Your developers will need to know how to connect databases to sources, import data into databases from different sources, and export data from databases. If your developers aren’t comfortable managing multiple data sources, your teams will struggle to get anything done.

Understand Data Visualization

Data visualization has become an incredibly important area of business intelligence. Data visualizations make it easier for people to consume and understand the data. Without data visualization, it would be nearly impossible for anyone outside of database administrators and developers to glean any information from those databases.

This means your database developers will need to know how to use tools like Redash, Charted, Grafana Labs, and Google Charts.

Designing and Debugging Databases

Creating a database isn’t easy. Sometimes those troves of data (and the services that store and serve them) can go wrong. And if a database isn’t designed well from the start, problems will be obvious—at least to a very good database developer.

Your DB admins/developers need to be able to not only design a properly functioning database, but also be able to successfully troubleshoot them when things go wrong (which they will). 

Database Security

A functioning database is a great thing. A secure and functioning database is even better. You must remember that those databases can contain very sensitive information (such as client addresses and bank information). You don’t want that data getting pilfered by hackers. 

Because of this, you must hire database developers with a good understanding of security. They need to know how to strengthen a database and design databases that aren’t full of security holes. Additionally, they should know how to integrate those databases in such a way as to not leave data open for the taking.

Database Optimization

Along with being able to build a secure database, your developers also need to be able to craft a database that is optimized for the hardware, software, APIs, and applications that will use the data. A poorly optimized database can become a serious bottleneck for your services.

When you hire a new database developer, make certain that they have a solid understanding of the optimization of data and the database servers that host the data.


A good database developer can easily start your project off on the right foot. On the contrary, a database developer without the necessary skills can really put a damper on progress. Make sure to look for all of the qualities above (along with your regular list of must-haves), and your projects will thank you for doing so.

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