Online Degrees In Database Management

The world is on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution during which, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum predicts that the lines between the ‘physical, digital and biological worlds’ are going to become increasingly blurred. This incorporation of technology into practically everything we do can result in mountains of data. According to Forbes, businesses and other entities with access to this never-ending and endlessly growing data may well have trouble storing, and managing this data to meet their business goals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects these increased data needs to drive the demand for database administrators over the next decade.

Online degrees in database management can help recent high school graduates, career changers and working professionals prepare for a job managing important data for businesses in the public and private sector.

Database management involves the entire lifecycle of data — from how a business obtains it, stores it and uses it to effectively grow the business while adhering to legal and compliance processes. Today’s interconnected world means that businesses generate huge volumes of data that they can tap into to generate ‘business intelligence’. Data can include crucial organizational documents and financial information, along with various customer-related data.

Database administrators, or DBAs, build and use dedicated software to manage this data and protect it from hackers and external sources. Some DBAs carry out specific tasks like maintaining a company’s database system while others may write and program code to build database applications for a specific need.

Database administrators use specialized software to store, manage, access and mine data while also ensuring it is protected from unauthorized users. While different database management jobs may require different tasks to be completed, typical duties of a database manager include:

  • Backing up data to prevent loss and restoring it as necessary
  • Identifying user needs to create and administer databases
  • Making modifications to existing database structures as required and testing them
  • Installing upgrades and patches to ensure databases operate smoothly and are bug free
  • Writing applications that work with databases
  • Keeping databases secure

The following steps typically outline a straightforward way to becoming a database administrator:

Step 1: In high school: take advanced math, sign up for computer science courses or consider attending computer science summer camp.

Step 2: Take business classes as well if possible

Step 3: Learn a programming language such as Structured Query Language (SQL)

Step 4: Research online colleges for database management degrees

Step 5: Enroll in a database management degree program that meets your requirements

Step 6: Complete an internship

Step 7: Continue with a more advanced degree should you wish to do so

Step 8: Look for a job

Step 9: Obtain professional certifications

Database management degrees are broad enough that they can lead to a wide range of careers. Even better, the high level of technical knowledge required for DBAs, along with the ongoing demand for skilled candidates, tends to support a job market where high pay is the norm. Here are a few of the most popular degree options, along with relevant wage and employment data from the BLS:

Career
Employment
Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
Information Security Analysts125,570$104,21031.6%
Computer and Information Systems Managers433,960$156,39011.3%
Database Administrators and Architects125,460$96,1109%
Computer Network Architects152,420$115,1105.3%

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Jobs in database management can be competitive, with most employers looking for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For certain advanced positions, employers may prefer to hire individuals with a master’s degree or a related field like computer science, information technology, or information systems.

New data types, coupled with emerging applications, have created the need to managed data housed in systems beyond on-premise, relational data management systems.

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

An online database administrator program at the associate level can provide an introduction and allow students to develop the basic skills needed to work in the field. Students may learn fundamental concepts behind database design, data collection methods and understand how databases are used on an enterprise level.

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Along with general education classes, students study core topics like:

  • Web development fundamentals
  • Relational database concepts
  • Introduction to oracle databases
  • Unix/Linux introduction
  • Relational databases with MS access

Students may have to complete a project as a part of their degree requirements.

Possible electives: Mobile application development; Java programming; C++ programming

What kind of jobs can I get after earning an associate degree in database management?

Although the BLS states that typically careers in database management require bachelors’ degrees or higher, graduates of an associate degree program in the field may qualify for entry-level roles assisting database administrators or find work in related IT fields. Some career options include:

  • Database specialist
  • IT web/analyst
  • SQL server database administrator
  • Computer support specialist
The use of cloud technologies will be the biggest challenges and ultimately have the greatest impact on DBAs over the next 3 years.

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor’s degree program?

Students studying for their bachelor’s database management degree online may cover an extensive array of topics in the field. They can learn how to create and manage different types of databases, troubleshoot errors and understand how databases can be used to help organizations operate efficiently.

Typical duration: Four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Classes generally focus on different issues concerning data administration, such as protecting an organization’s data from outside threats. Students can also expect to learn how to write basic computer programs, analyze data, mine for data, and perform a broad range of DBA duties. Some courses you may take include:

  • Database management and file structure
  • Introduction to computer security
  • Introduction to operating systems and client/server environments
  • Microcomputer operating systems
  • SQL program

Students may have to complete a bachelor’s project and/or an internship as a part of their program requirements.

Possible electives: Data structures for problem solving; quantitative data analysis; data extraction, transformation, and loading

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a bachelor’s in database management?

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for entry-level roles in data management system administration. Obtaining an internship during the course of your degree program may allow you to get some on-the-job experience that employers look for. Potential job titles may include:

  • Information security analyst
  • Computer network architect
  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Database administrator
Automated databases won’t eliminate the need for administrators — it will make DBAs even more valuable by giving them more time for analytic work that can make business analytics even more effective.

Online Master’s Degrees in Database Management

What can I expect to learn in an online master’s degree program?

A master’s database management degree online can allow students to expand their existing knowledge of database systems design, explore the latest tech and methodologies in data warehousing, mining, and security and learn how to lead teams and projects – from conceptualization to delivery.

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in database management or a related field

Typical coursework: Topics may build on those studied in a bachelor’s degree program to incorporate a more in-depth study of the field. Some examples of topics include:

  • Advanced data modeling
  • Client/ server systems
  • Data warehouse technologies
  • Database security
  • Object oriented application development

You may also have to complete a capstone project as a part of your online database administrator program.

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a master’s in database management?

A master’s degree in database management may allow individuals to qualify for supervisory roles leading teams to create, maintain and manage various types of databases. They may also be able to branch out into information tech roles related to the field of database management. Potential occupations include:

  • Computer network architect
  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Database administrator

Online graduate certificates in database management may suit professionals working in database management or a related field. They may allow these individuals to obtain some graduate education without having to spend the time or finances necessary for a full-fledged master’s degree. Certificate programs are often focused on a couple of aspects of the field, so it can be a wise idea to thoroughly research an online database administrator program’s offerings before enrolling to ensure that it covers the areas you are interested in.

Typical duration: One to two years of part-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in database management or a related field

Typical coursework: Classes can cover a range of topics based on the focus of the program. Some may act as an introduction to the field while others may cover more advanced subjects. Some examples of courses are:

  • Data warehousing and business intelligence
  • Database design and implementation for business
  • Enterprise database design
  • Principles of data-intensive systems

Possible electives: Database security; information retrieval and web search; distributed systems

What can I expect to learn in an online doctoral degree program?

Online doctoral degrees in database management are currently unavailable. However, you may be able to find an online doctorate in information systems with a database management concentration. Graduates of these programs may be able to enter the fields of research and academia as well as teach in colleges and universities.

Accreditation

Many universities and colleges voluntarily undergo the accreditation process in order to demonstrate that their educational offerings meet the quality standards of the profession or which the programs aim to teach students. Enrolling in an accredited school or degree program can also be important for students of online database management degree programs as accreditation can be a prerequisite for receiving federal financial aid, applying for professional certifications and for transferring educational credits from one educational institution to another.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) is the main accrediting body for computer and technology related programs.

Certifications in Database Management

Professional certifications may not always be mandatory. However, the BLS reports that some companies may require their database administrators to be certified in the products they use. Certifications can also demonstrate expertise and dedication to the field of database management. Professional certifications may be offered by software vendors or vendor-neutral certification providers. Some examples of certifications are:

Employment Statistics

Database Administrators

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Data processing, Hosting and Related Services
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Telecommunications
  • Monetary Authorities-Central Bank
  • Software Publishers
States with the highest level of employment
  • Texas
  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Virginia
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Dover-Durham, NH-ME
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • New Orleans-Metairie, LA
  • Trenton, NJ

Information Security Analysts

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Monetary Authorities-Central Bank
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services
  • Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible Assets (except Copyrighted Works)
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
States with the highest level of employment
  • Virginia
  • Texas
  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  • Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • Midland, MI
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

The need for DBA’s is increasing according to the BLS. As with many in-demand fields, students of the field may expect to find a large number of scholarships and financial aid programs with different eligibility criteria. Students of database administration degree programs may also be eligible for a number of different technology scholarships. Scholarships may be offered by colleges, universities, educational foundations, businesses among other institutions. Some scholarships to help you get started in your search are:

Professional Organizations and Resources for Database Managers

Sources

  • Associate of Science – Database Application Development, American Public University System, https://catalog.apus.edu/undergraduate/academic-programs/associate/associate-science-database-application-development/?&_ga=2.122406091.1381886443.1572767776-80537806.1572767776#requirementstext, accessed November 2019
  • Bachelor of Database Administrator (BS), School of Science and Engineering, Atlantic International University, https://www.aiu.edu/Bachelor%20of%20Database%20Administrator.htm, accessed November 2019
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Data Management, Colorado Technical University, https://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/bachelors/it/data-management, accessed November 2019
  • Career: Database Administrators, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/computers-math-database-administrators, accessed November 2019
  • Data Skills and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Forbes, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/05/03/data-skills-and-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/#1874b6fc509d
  • Database Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm, accessed November 2019
  • Database Specialist Associate Degree Program, Atlanta Technical College, https://atlantatech.edu/academics/programs/computer-information-systems/database-specialist-associate-degree-program/, accessed November 2019
  • Databases Graduate Certificate, Stanford University, https://scpd.stanford.edu/public/category/courseCategoryCertificateProfile.do?method=load&certificateId=1226719, accessed November 2019
  • Graduate Certificate in Data Management, Walden University, https://www.waldenu.edu/online-certificates-programs/data-management, accessed November 2019
  • Information Technology Master’s Degree with Database Systems Technology Specialization, University of Maryland Global Campus, https://www.umgc.edu/academic-programs/masters-degrees/information-technology/database-systems.cfm, accessed November 2019
  • Major: Database Management, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-database-management, accessed November 2019
  • New 2018 Study Identifies Emerging Trends in Database Administration, Database Trends and Applications, 2018, http://www.dbta.com/Editorial/News-Flashes/New-2018-Study-Identifies-Emerging-Trends-in-Database-Administration-122639.aspx
  • Online Database Management & Business Intelligence Graduate Certificate, Boston University, https://www.bu.edu/online/programs/certificate-programs/database-management-business-intelligence/#curriculum, accessed November 2019
  • Online Master’s Degree, MS in Information Technology, Database Design, https://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/ms-in-information-technology/database-design, accessed November 2019
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/about/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab, accessed November 2019
  • What is Database Management?, Informatica, https://www.informatica.com/services-and-training/glossary-of-terms/database-management-definition/#fbid=PQGgatxKMYY, accessed November 2019
  • Will automated databases kill the DBA position?, Tech Republic, 2019, https://www.techrepublic.com/article/will-automated-databases-kill-the-dba-position/
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