Database administrators design physical databases for businesses and decide how to store, retrieve and manage large amounts of data. Using query languages and software for managing database systems, they make changes or repairs as needed. Students in an associate program learn how to write programs utilizing databases, work with spreadsheets, design algorithms and work with networks. Graduates may pursue entry-level careers in database development or administration, and they may continue their education through vendor-specific database training.
Bachelor's degree programs usually feature a major in information technology with a concentration in database administration. Studying on campus or online, students learn to create, install and manage database systems for businesses. They also study business system development, telecommunications, programming and general information technology principles.
Associate Degree in Database Management
Associate degree programs in database administration or management are two-year programs that prepare students for entry-level jobs in developing and administering databases. Students also gain basic knowledge in computer programming. Many programs offer a foundation for students to work towards professional certification with specific database software programs. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for entry.
Many times a college will require some business courses as part of the database management program. Programs generally require students to complete between 48-51 hours of core courses, which include:
- Algorithm design and problem solving
- Business computer systems
- Database applications and concepts
- Logic and programming
- Operating system approaches
- Programming a database
Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology with a Concentration in Database Administration
Database administration concentrations are available within four-year information technology bachelor's degree programs. A bachelor's degree is frequently the minimum degree required for a database administrator's job. Focuses of the programs are in the development, installation and administration of business database software. Some schools include a number of job-specific certifications as part of the program. Programs generally require a high school diploma and minimum scores on the ACT or SAT.
Coursework usually includes several classes in specific databases, such as SQL, IBM AS/400 and ETL. Other courses included in database administration concentrations may cover:
- Basics of information technology (IT)
- Computer organization
- Data types and structures
- Developing business systems
- Logic and algorithms for programming
- Quantitative problem solving
There are a large variety of careers for database administrators. Examples of careers include:
- Computer engineer
- Database administrator
- Program analyst
- Research analyst
- Technology officer
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that database administrator employment would increase by 11% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The industries expected to experience much of that growth included security and healthcare. In 2015, the median annual wage for database administrators was $81,710.
Continuing Education and Certification
Master's degree programs in database administration or management are rare, but graduate certificates in a database field are available.
A number of major certifications for database administrators come from Microsoft or Oracle, both of which offer numerous certifications. These include Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Oracle Database 11g Administrator and Oracle Certified Professional-MySQL 5.0 Database Administrator.
CompTIA has almost a dozen recognized certifications such as the CompTIA A+ certification for entry-level professionals and CompTIA Linux+ for professions with experience in Linux. Vendor-neutral, the Certified Internet Web Professional (CIWP) offers the Master CIW Administrator credential.
Because most of these certifications are specific to a single database program, they do not require recertification. Rather, new certifications are available for updated programs.
Students who wish to work in database administration careers such as computer engineers, technology officers and research analysts may complete a database administration degree program. Students may also pursue graduate certificates for various programs.