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What Is a Database Management Degree?
Database management programs focus on information technology (IT), information security, organization of data, and metadata management. Students learn to use relational databases and software management systems and perform data analysis. Online database management degree programs may go by different names, like database administration, network administration, or management information systems.
Depending on the degree level, graduates with an online database management degree can pursue roles like database administrator, computer and information systems manager, and data scientist. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that database administrators earn a median salary of $93,750 annually and projects a 9% job growth rate for the profession between 2018-2028.
A subdiscipline of computer science, database management focuses more on metadata, data organization, and information security than a general computer science degree. Many schools offer database management degree programs online. This guide explains what to expect from a database management program and career and salary expectations for graduates.
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Why Get a Degree in Database Management?
Earning a degree in database management helps learners develop the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for many well-paying career opportunities. According to the BLS, computer and IT occupations pay a median of $88,240 a year, more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations. The following list outlines several other benefits of earning a database management degree.
- In-Demand Skills: Organizations need skilled database management professionals to help them handle their vast quantities of information. Database management graduates use relational databases and software management systems to track and make sense of large amounts of information.
- Versatile Degree: Earning an online database management degree prepares students for a variety of general computing and IT jobs. A database management specialization opens the door to more specialized and lucrative positions such as database administrator.
- Salary Potential: Graduates of database management programs make an excellent living. For example, database administrators earn a median salary of $93,750 per year, much higher than the national median for all occupations.
- Job Growth: Earning a degree in database management qualifies graduates for fast-growing careers. The BLS reports a 9% projected job growth rate (faster than average) for database administrators between 2018-2028.
- Personal Growth: The personal satisfaction of gaining specialized knowledge and skills is another benefit of earning a degree in database management.
WHEN IS A DATABASE MANAGEMENT FOCUS BETTER THAN A GENERAL COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE?
General computer science program graduates can expect excellent and varied career opportunities in computers and IT. Those who earn a database management degree qualify for many of the same types of jobs, but they can also find more specialized opportunities that focus on organizing, planning for, protecting, and managing data. Graduates can pursue roles as database administrators, data scientists, and other roles that focus heavily on managing information.
WHEN MIGHT A GENERAL COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE BE BETTER THAN DATABASE MANAGEMENT?
General computer science degree programs typically cover more computer science concepts than database management degree programs, potentially leading to a wider range of job opportunities. Database management degree programs are ideal for students seeking to specialize their skills and pursue data-centric careers.
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WHAT ABOUT OTHER COMPUTER SCIENCE SPECIALIZATIONS?
A very large and diverse field, computer science boasts many specializations in addition to database management, such as computer engineering, computer forensics, computer programming, and data science. Computer science majors can also specialize in areas like network administration, web development, IT, and software engineering. Learn more about select concentrations through the links below.
Types of Database Management Degrees
Students can earn an online database management degree at four different levels: associate, bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D. Generally, the higher the degree, the better the career and salary opportunities. Some schools also offer certificates and continuing education classes in database management. Keep reading to learn what it takes to earn an associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. in database management.
ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT
|Degree Type||Description||Potential Career Path|
|AS in Database Management and Administration||An AS in database management and administration covers programming fundamentals, project planning and documentation, and database usage. Students take general education and database management and administration classes. Graduates qualify for entry-level IT and computing positions. An AS also prepares learners to transfer to a four-year program.||Database program designer, network administrator|
|AAS in Database Management and Administration||An AAS in database management and administration covers the same type of information as an AS in database management and administration but focuses more on preparing students for careers immediately after graduation. An AAS may require fewer general education courses and develop more technical skills.||Database program designer, network administrator|
|AAS in Information Technology - Network Administration||An AAS in information technology -- network administration prepares students for entry-level IT positions with an emphasis on network administration. The degree explores topics like computer and network systems, helpdesk operations, and server maintenance.||Network administrator, IT support specialist, systems administrator|
BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT
|Degree Type||Description||Potential Career Path|
|BS in Data Management and Data Analytics||A BS in data management and data analytics includes a focus on managing and analyzing data. Students learn about data visualizations, applications, analysis, and database systems. Key subject areas include scripting and programming, spreadsheets, and web development foundations.||Data scientist, database administrator, computer and information systems manager|
|BS in Information Technology - Network Administration||A BS in information technology -- network administration teaches students to secure and manage IT networks. This program typically does not focus as much on databases or data analysis.||Network administrator, software developer, network analyst|
|BS in Management Information Systems||A BS in management information systems covers IT and business concepts. This type of degree does not focus as much on data analysis. Instead, it emphasizes information systems design, programming, cloud computing, big data, and database management. Students may qualify for general administrative IT jobs.||Computer and information systems manager, computer systems administrator, database administrator|
MASTER'S DEGREE IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT
|Degree Type||Description||Potential Career Path|
|MS in Database Design and Administration||An MS in database design and administration focuses on efficiently and effectively creating and managing databases. Students gain skills in data modeling, design, warehousing, and architecture. The curriculum typically incorporates some business classes. Graduates qualify for jobs related to designing and managing databases.||Database administrator, database manager, database developer|
|MS in Management Information Systems||An MS in management information systems focuses on the management of large information systems. The curriculum explores software design, project management, business strategy, and databases. This degree may open the door to a variety of career options.||Data analyst, IT director, software engineer|
|MS in Computer Science - Database Engineering||An MS in computer science -- database engineering includes a mix of computer science core courses and specialized database engineering courses. Graduates may qualify for a variety of computer science careers, such as software developer and computer and information research scientist.||Database administrator, computer and information research scientist, software developer|
|MS in Information Technology - Database Management||An MS in information technology -- database management degree provides advanced knowledge of database management and administration and a foundation in general IT concepts and practices. Students gain technical skills and business knowledge. Graduates qualify for database administration and analysis jobs and other more general IT jobs.||Database administrator, data analyst|
PH.D. IN DATABASE MANAGEMENT
Popular Database Management Classes
Database management classes vary by program and degree level, but most programs include core, elective, and practicum/capstone/thesis courses. Popular classes include foundations of data management, data management applications, and database server administration. Students may also take classes like data analytics, data visualization, and data structures and algorithms. Many schools offer a variety of database management classes online. Below, we describe some typical database management classes and the skills gained from them.
Foundations of Data Management
This class provides an introduction to the field of data management, including commonly used terminology and concepts. Learners explore topics like data definition language, structured query language (SQL), and data manipulation language. They learn to retrieve, define, and manipulate data and to understand the difference between structured, unstructured, and quasi-structured data.
Data Management Applications
Students receive an introduction to MySQL, learn to create SELECT queries using joins and subqueries, and use SQL to delete and update data. The course also covers creating and modifying databases, views, tables, and foreign and primary keys. Class attendees learn to create simple and complex queries.
Database Server Administration
This course looks at the configuration, administration, and installation of database servers. Topics explored include tools and strategies of space management and access, restoration, backup, and upgrade techniques. Students also learn about the physical and logical aspects of database servers and how to set up a server.
Business of IT - Project Management
Learners receive a foundational understanding of project management techniques, concepts, and processes. They learn about a project's lifecycle, including how to plan, monitor, execute, and close a project. The class covers best practices like resource allocation, project scheduling, risk management, and project reporting. Students finish the course ready to take the CompTIA Project+ certification exam.
Introduction to Data Science
This class provides an introduction to the data analysis process. Students learn about data wrangling, data analysis code, and statistical techniques for data analysis. They also learn how to communicate their findings professionally.
Data visualization explores the use of design principles, color theory, effective storytelling, and human perception to present data. Students learn about advanced data visualization tools and how to present data effectively to different audiences.
Students explore the techniques, tools, and procedures most commonly used in data analytics. They explore different disciplines that contribute to data analytics and how they relate to each other.
Data Structures and Algorithms
Data structures and algorithms explore lists, stacks, hash tables, bags, and associated algorithms. Students use Python software to explore abstract data types and object-oriented design. They gain skills in implementing applications, designing efficient software applications, and problem-solving.
Career and Salary Outlook for Database Management Graduates
Graduates of database management degree programs qualify for a variety of well-paid computer and IT careers. No degree guarantees a job, but potential careers include database administrator, computer and information systems manager, and computer programmer. Other possibilities include data scientist and IT architect.
Median salaries for these lucrative careers start at $86,550 a year for computer programmers and go as high as $146,360 annually for computer and information systems managers. Those seeking management, administration, and high-level research roles may expand their career opportunities and salary potential by pursuing higher degrees or additional certifications.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
|DATABASE MANAGEMENT CAREERS: AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARIES BY EXPERIENCE, 2020|||||||||
|||ENTRY LEVEL (0-12 MONTHS)||EARLY CAREER (1-4 YEARS)||MIDCAREER (5-9 YEARS)||EXPERIENCED (10-19 YEARS)|
|Computer and Information Systems Manager||$55,553||$67,267||$78,725||$92,434|
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Selecting Your Database Management Program
Prospective learners should weigh a variety of factors to find the right database management program for their needs. Key factors to consider include:
- Does the school stand out for its expertise in database management? Make sure to research your prospective program to find out if it boasts any awards or ranks highly on any "best of" lists.
- Online or in person? Some students are open to either option, while others only offer one delivery format.
- Make sure any university under consideration holds regional accreditation. Accreditation can impact students' ability to receive financial aid, transfer credit, and pursue graduate degrees and certifications.
- Most learners need to consider program cost and the availability of financial aid and scholarships.
- How stringent are the admission requirements? Does the school require minimum standardized test scores? Make sure that you qualify for admission before investing the time and money to apply.
- How long does it take to complete the database management degree? Program length options vary by school, which can impact the cost of your education.
SHOULD YOU GET YOUR DATABASE MANAGEMENT DEGREE ONLINE?
Online education is increasingly common and seen as a respectable way to earn a degree at any level. Earning an online database management degree offers benefits like flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Students who work full time, have family responsibilities, or maintain other personal commitments often prefer to study online.
A database management degree suits the online learning experience especially well. Database management majors who earn their degree online can expedite their grasp of advanced technical skills and increase their comfort level with the digital environment required to succeed in this field. However, some learners seeking a database management degree prefer the traditional structure of an in-person program.
ACCREDITATION FOR DATABASE MANAGEMENT SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMS
Accreditation indicates that a school meets educational standards set by an independent accrediting agency. A school can hold regional or national accreditation. Regionally accredited universities typically hold stronger reputations than nationally accredited colleges.
Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Students can look for database management programs with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional certifications require an accredited degree.
Students can find school accreditation information using the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's searchable database.
RANKING DATABASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
All of the factors described above can affect a student's personal rankings of database management programs. The selection process includes in-depth research, questions, and campus visits. Our online rankings are a great place to start the decision-making process.
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FAQ's About Database Management Degrees
How long will it take to complete a database management degree?Program length varies by school and degree level. An associate degree in database management usually takes two years to complete. Full-time students can earn a bachelor's degree in database management in four years. A typical master's degree in database management takes two years to complete, and a Ph.D. in database management requires 3-5 years.
How much will I make with a degree in database management?Salary expectations vary by position, industry, education, and experience. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in database management may qualify to work as computer and information systems managers who earn a median annual salary of $146,360.
What kind of jobs can you get with a database management degree?Students who earn a database management degree may qualify for a variety of jobs in IT and computing. Potential jobs include database administrator, computer and information systems manager, and computer programmer. Other possibilities include data scientist and IT architect.
What degree do I need to be a database administrator?Most database administrator jobs require a bachelor's degree at minimum in a discipline like database administration, computer science, or a related field. Organizations with large and complex databases may prefer individuals with a master's degree.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR DATABASE MANAGEMENT
Professional organizations allow database management students and professionals to network with other professionals, stay up to date with the field, and gain access to information and resources. Membership benefits also often include conference discounts, invitations to volunteer, and access to continuing education classes. Below, we describe some of the top database management organizations.
- Association for Information Science & Technology ASIS&T brings together professionals in fields like information science, computer science, data science, and management. Members receive access to job postings, a member directory, local chapters, and professional resources.
- CompTIA CompTIA welcomes tech professionals and students. Members gain access to scholarship opportunities, career advice, local chapters, and discounts on CompTIA products. The organization also offers professional certifications, trainings, and events.
- Enterprise Data Management Council A global association to further best practices and education in data management, the EDM Council offers virtual training, professional resources, and scholarship opportunities for members. The organization also provides access to best practices groups, a document library, and comprehensive eLearning.
- Data Management International A nonprofit association of professionals in information and data management, DAMA provides a variety of essential professional resources. Members gain access to an exclusive area of DAMA's website, a job board, a data management professional discussion forum, and discounts on educational materials.
PAYING FOR YOUR DATABASE MANAGEMENT DEGREE
Students can receive help paying for an online database management degree through financial aid opportunities, such as loans, grants, and scholarships. Learn more about financial aid opportunities on the linked page below.
FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS
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