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Database Design Degree and Certificate Program Summaries

At the undergraduate level in database design, students can pursue certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degrees. Graduate programs are also available, though an undergraduate education is typically sufficient for applied careers in database design.

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Essential Information

Database designers develop the software used to store digital data. Undergraduate certificate programs are ideal for those who want to either gain an introductory understanding of database design and software development or for those who want to learn about the latest industry software. Associate's degree programs cover specifics in database software and design while also providing more general education and business courses. Bachelor's degree programs in database design and management offer even more business-related courses and can prepare graduates for more senior positions in the IT or software development field.


Undergraduate Certificate in Database Design

Undergraduate certificate programs are available in relevant areas, such as database design and implementation, database technology and management, and database systems. Some programs may allow certificate students to complete courses in conjunction with a related information technology bachelor's degree program. Coursework may cover Microsoft Access database software, Structured Query Language (SQL) for relational databases or Cisco database management systems.

Programs are designed for students with programming skills who want to quickly gain database design and management skills. Certificate coursework is entirely computer-related, and classes might cover:

  • Relational database systems
  • Web and database design
  • Programming with Java or C++
  • Database administration
  • Data management systems and mining

Associate of Arts in Information Systems and Technologies

Students may earn an Associate of Arts in Information Systems and Technologies, an Associate of Science in Database Management or an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Science with a concentration in database design. Programs may cover specific database software like Oracle SQL Developer or Microsoft SQL Server. These programs typically take 2 years to complete, and students should have a high school diploma and some programming skills to be admitted.

Classes may focus on specific database software or on general database design and management. Relevant math, science and communications courses may be included, in addition to topics like:

  • Data algorithms
  • Database modeling
  • Programming
  • Computer business statistics
  • Internet application design

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Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology

Some bachelor's degree programs in information technology or networking offer concentrations in database design and management. Students learn advanced skills in creating and deploying large databases using a variety of software applications. Management skills and organizational behavior in corporate environments are often emphasized. Some programs administer vendor certification tests in specific database applications. These programs generally take 4 years to complete.

Emphasis on management skills, advanced math and computer science classes is typical. Other classes might include:

  • Information technology project management
  • Database security and forensics
  • Management information systems
  • Computer systems engineering
  • Database infrastructure

Popular Careers

Associate's degree programs in database design prepare students for entry-level opportunities. Some database-related positions include:

  • Database design administrator
  • Computer programmer or developer
  • Information systems manager
  • Support specialist

A bachelor's degree may lead to more advanced positions in computer programming and database administration. Some options for bachelor's degree graduates are:

  • Database analyst
  • Systems architect
  • Network or systems manager

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that computer software engineers design, implement and maintain software, including databases (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that applications software developers earned $98,260 as a median annual wage.

Continuing Education

Master's degree programs are available in database design and administration, database design and implementation, and software management. Graduate certificate programs are also offered, and some can be taken in conjunction with a master's degree program.

Depending on an individual's goals in the database design field, pursuing a certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree will help them accomplish these goals by equipping them with specific skills in database modeling, programming, and database administration. Graduate education options may include a master's degree or graduate certificate.

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