Students interested in database programming careers may pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in database management, computer programming, information science, computer science or management information systems. Courses include systems development, programming languages and database administration. Some programs also focus on business skills such as project management. These programs are commonly available online. Graduates of these degree programs will be prepared for entry-level positions or to seek further education.
Associate's Degree Programs in Database Management
Offered at many technical schools and community colleges, associate's degree programs in database management teach students to construct databases for general or specific business purposes. Graduates are prepared for entry-level database management and database administration positions. Program admission requires a high school diploma or equivalent, and familiarity with computers and computer systems is recommended.
Students learn techniques for organizing, storing and retrieving large amounts of digital information and how to create the computer systems that do this. Coursework might include:
- Systems development and design
- Structured Query Language (SQL)
- Database administration
- Data management systems
Associate's Degree Programs in Computer Programming
Associate's degree programs in computer programming teach students to develop software or database programs using various programming languages. Students interested in database programming may gain the skills needed to design and develop database systems and software. High school coursework in math and computer science is helpful, and most schools require a high school diploma or GED.
The curriculum of a computer programming associate's degree program covers technical skills, such as computer programming languages and system testing and analysis techniques, as well as concepts and theories behind computer systems. Topics might include:
- Database application development
- Visual Basic programming
- Programming logic
- Operating systems
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Information Science
In a bachelor's degree program in information science, students learn both the technical skills required to develop and manage computer information systems as well as the theoretical knowledge to design and implement the database systems. Admission to information science programs requires a high school diploma or equivalent.
An information science bachelor's degree curriculum covers database theory and programming technical skills. Students may pursue an area of interest, such as business applications or engineering applications. Courses might include:
- Data structures and algorithms
- File management systems
- Project management
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Management Information Systems
Management information systems programs look at the interaction of humans with computers, and focus specifically on interaction with information and the systems used to manage and store information. Students need a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for programs in management information systems.
Management information systems degree programs often focus on business principles as well as technology. Students study accounting, finance, management and economics in addition to technology-related topics. Courses might include:
- Business systems analysis
- Project management
- Data systems
- Database applications
Popular Career Options
Students with an associate's degree in database management are prepared for a wide range of careers related to database programming. Popular job titles include:
- Data warehousing specialist
- Database administrator
- Database programmer
- Database manager
- Database architect
Almost every industry relies on data in some form and needs employees with expertise in programming and managing database systems. A bachelor's degree in information science prepares students for information technology careers in the database-dependent fields of business, technology, engineering and healthcare. Job titles include:
- Database administrator
- Systems administrator
- Data center operations support
- Technical support specialist
Certification and Continuing Education
In addition to pursuing database product certification, students who complete an associate's degree might continue their education in a bachelor's degree program. Many database programming associate's degree programs provide a solid foundation for bachelor's degree programs, and some credits may apply to requirements for a bachelor's degree.
Some programs in database management focus on popular industry products and tools and prepare students for certification in those areas. For example, a program may focus on Oracle database programs, preparing students for the Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certification. Students may also consider taking continuing education courses to prepare for certification in additional technologies such as a Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Developer certification program suitable for database programmers. Continuing education may be required to obtain or maintain certifications.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for database administrators may grow 11%, which is faster than average, during the period from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Organizations increasingly need workers to help design, develop and maintain systems that store, organize and analyze their data. Database administrators earned a median annual salary of $81,710 in 2015, according to the BLS. Computer programmers made the median wage of $79,530 in the same time frame.
Students wanting to learn more about database programming can complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program. These programs teach the fundamentals needed for a career in database administration or computer programming.