Though an associate's degree might suffice for a position as a network and computer systems administrator or database administrator, a bachelor's degree is more commonly required. Certification on various systems and programs can enhance your standing and may in fact be preferred by potential employers. Job openings are expected to increase at a respectable rate for the foreseeable future.
Degree and certificate programs relevant to database administration are designed to train students to maintain, analyze and market large electronic warehouses of data. Although database administrators are typically required to hold a bachelor's degree, some positions may only require an associate's degree if candidates can demonstrate sufficient work experience.
|Career Titles||Database Administrator||Network and Computer System Administrator|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Software certification preferred||Software certification preferred|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||11%||8%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$81,710||$77,810|
Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Database administrators manage, analyze and market electronic database systems according to client specifications. These professionals may also test, modify and correct systems when necessary. Since many electronic databases are wired to the internet, administrators may also need to be knowledgeable of online security concepts and procedures. Similar operational knowledge is needed to become a network and computer systems administrator.
Database administrators may need to operate a variety of hardware and software programs, including laptops, mainframe computers, metadata management software, audio libraries and hard disk arrays. In addition to functional knowledge, administrators may need to apply complex problem-solving skills to new problems that may arise on a day-to-day basis.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2015, database administrators earned a median yearly salary of $81,710. The securities and commodity exchange industry paid database administrators some of the highest salaries at that time, offering a mean average wage of $114,940 per year. The BLS predicts a job growth rate of 11% for database administrators throughout the country between 2014 and 2024, which is a faster rate than average.
Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization's computer systems, including data communication systems. Although certification is not a requirement, some employers may prefer it; and it is typically offered by computer organizations, educational institutions and private companies.
According to the BLS, network and computer systems administrators earned a median of $77,810 per year. Jobs for these professionals were expected to increase 8% from 2014-2024, which is about average.
Associate's Degree Programs
There are numerous associate's degree programs, such as database application development and information systems, that aspiring administrators may pursue. These programs may require students to take courses in areas such as database management, computer programming and information technology. Upon completion, students may be prepared for entry-level positions as database specialists, analysts and developers.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Aspiring administrators planning on pursuing bachelor's degrees may find a major such as information studies, database warehousing or information technology beneficial to a career in database administration. Students in these programs may be required to take courses in information systems, programming and analytics. These degree programs prepare students for a broader range of careers, such as web specialist, computer security technologist and application designer, than does the associate's degree.
Although certification is not a requirement for database administrators, it may be preferred by some employers and is typically conferred by computer organizations, educational institutions and private companies. For example, the Oracle Corporation offers several different certifications for its many different database management software programs.
An associate's degree may qualify you for an entry-level position, particularly if you have applicable experience but, a bachelor's degree can give you a leg up immediately. Job openings for database administrators are expected to increase faster than average from 2014-2024, while career opportunities for network and computer systems administrators are expected to grow at an average pace. While not required, appropriate vendor-provided and vendor-neutral certifications are often preferred by employers.