What is Database Administration?
Arkansas is working hard to attract technology businesses and to provide technology-based education to ensure the state has a qualified talent pool large enough for such businesses to relocate to Arkansas. The state is also providing a number of startup accelerators and incubators to lure in new business and to encourage local individuals to begin their own businesses in a wide array of industries, all of which require database administrators.
The primary industries and growth sectors are in search of individuals with a database administration degree in Arkansas. Traditional leading industries are desperate for properly educated individuals looking to work as a database administrator (DBA) including those in manufacturing, professional and business services, real estate, healthcare, wholesalers, retailers, financers, transportation businesses, construction companies, and others. Growth sectors are also in search of qualified individuals such as cyber security, supply chain operations, financial tech, and more.
Arkansas is also home to aerospace and aviation companies, data centers, information technology, biosciences, smart grid technologies, software development and management services organizations, and tech support companies. All of these organizations are offering tech-forward business and employment opportunities, which includes those who are trained to work with databases at all levels. As the focus of industry shifts, local colleges and universities are also restructuring their educational offerings with more niche-focused database and database administration degree programs.
Database Administration Education in Arkansas
A number of Arkansas higher learning institutions offer dedicated technology career training and education for a variety of career paths including automotive services technology, computer engineering, computer information systems, construction technology, health science technology, and metal fabrication. Many colleges and universities in Arkansas offer degrees in information systems, data science, information quality, information technology, and more. And the state of Arkansas has a dedicated Division of Information System that employs a number of database administrators for a wide array of necessities.
To succeed in the database administration field, one must excel in specific skills such as analytical, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking. Certain general database administration courses will be similar at all colleges and universities including technical communication, data analytics, computer infrastructure, project management, and IT ethics.
It’s also possible to pursue various concentrations at the different education levels, which might include cyber security, health informatics, finance, business intelligence, web development, or others. And future database administration professionals should understand that this career is one that requires constant learning and continued education. Certifications can be an easy way to jumpstart promotions, career advancement, and pay increases.
Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)
Students who complete an associate database administration degree have the option of either entering the workforce in the form of an entry-level position or continuing their education with a bachelor’s degree. DBA entry-level roles are available with this two-year degree. These positions will be more basic and are often available as support or associate roles such as associate database administrator, database program designer, computer support specialist, database programmer, security analyst, software developer, and others. Many graduates of these degrees will be eligible to sit for certain certification exams.
Keep in mind that, while many employers may accept an associate degree in database administration to meet education requirements, there may also be additional prerequisites for such roles that are not met in a two-year degree program. It’s possible that an employer may require specific programming language skills, certifications, or degree courses that an associate degree just doesn’t offer. Students should start thinking about the type of employer or industry they want to work for upon completion of a degree and secure work as an intern or freelancer. It’s possible to work while completing this degree to gain as much experience as possible before accepting a full-time position.
Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration (BS)
A bachelor’s database administration degree is the easiest way to secure entry-level to mid-level careers in database administration. To gain an advantage in the workplace, and to make courses easier, many students will secure an internship as early as possible. Most top colleges and universities with database administration programs offer a career center to assist with such job placements. The center might even offer mentorships, networking with alumni, and other features that make finding a full-time job easier upon graduation.
The curriculum of database administration degree programs is important. Many employers will require programming skills and certification as well as specific courses such as data analysis, information systems, website development, program management, and information security management. With this type of background, it’s possible to become a database administrator, computer network architect, database developer, computer systems analyst, and more.
Master’s Degree in Database Administration (MS or MC)
Master’s degrees in database administration and MBAs are an ideal way to secure leadership, management, and executive roles. Each year, the competition continues to increase for database administration jobs that offer greater responsibility and higher pay. The skills and degrees one has will have a direct impact on one’s career advancement potential. Today, online degrees in database administration make it easy to complete a master’s degree while keeping a full-time job.
The MBA concentration or master’s degree specialization for database administrators assists with reaching career goals. Concentrations and specialization are available in a wide array of areas such as finance, biomedical informatics, population health, social networks, and many others. Keep in mind that some degrees will require an internship for those who do not have relevant full-time employment. With this degree, it’s possible to become an information systems manager, a computer and information research scientist, and more.
PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)
A PhD or doctorate database administration degree can lead to greatness. At this level, only the best and brightest will succeed. This degree may take up to six years to complete and, as a result, one must be fully committed to the doctorate or PhD database administration program. It’s possible to specialize in any number of database administration fields and industries at this level. And most students will keep their full-time jobs during the process. Online database administration degrees help make this significantly easier.
With a PhD or doctorate in database administration, most graduates will pursue careers in research or academics. Successful database administration professors are always in demand and research is of critical importance at this juncture to ensure databases remain secure and become more efficient and effective, particularly with rapid growth in machine learning approaches. For those who seek alternative career paths, it’s possible to become a chief technology officer with this degree as well as gain a substantial competitive advantage over others in all database administration positions.
Top College Programs in Arkansas for Database Administration and Data Science
- University of Arkansas
- Arkansas State University
- University of Central Arkansas
Become a Database Administration in Arkansas
Arkansas database administration careers are similar to all other states. Most employers have a preferred education and skillset requirement for each role. To begin, the majority of database administration employers will prefer or require a bachelor’s degree in database administration or a similar degree, such as those in management information systems (MIS) or cyber security management. Online courses help students excel both academically and with hands-on experience.
Certifications may also be a preference or a requirement. This will depend entirely on the employer. The type of certification required or preferred is based on the position and employer. Most entry-level database administration jobs will require at least some basic programming skills as well as the completion of certain database administration certifications. The best database administration degree programs will prepare students to sit for certification examinations upon graduation.
Work experience is another essential component in securing a competitive advantage over others. It is important to seek out employment opportunities that will provide experience in the specific areas where employers have a need such as understanding database capacity, central databases, and the best uses for an electronic database. It’s possible to gain work experience during all degree levels. Again, online database administration programs help provide greater flexibility for those looking to gain experience.
And remember that database administration is a tech field of study. As such, database administration professionals will be required to continue their education throughout their careers to remain employable and to qualify for career advancement. Some individuals might choose to complete or renew certifications every few years. Others might decide to pursue advanced degrees. Either way, continued education will be necessary for promotions, pay increases, and competitive advantages for the best jobs.
Keep in mind that all database administration careers will require a different set of skills and qualifications for each sector and niche. Be sure to select the right areas of study and certifications that meet the requirements for each career goal.
Careers for Database Administration Graduates
Becoming educated in database administration makes a person qualified for a myriad of career opportunities at all levels of education and years of work experience. It’s also possible to specialize in different business sectors, industries, software, and more. Some careers in this field include the following.
- Database Administrator (DBA)
A database administrator role will vary by experience, title, and employer. Many DBAs focus on planning, configuring, installing, designing, migrating, monitoring, and more regarding databases. They may also be responsible for data backup and recovery. In some cases, database administrators will oversee hundreds or thousands of databases. And in other cases, a person may only be in charge of a few databases or the information held by a single department within a larger company.
- Information Technology Manager
An information technology manager oversees all information technology and its related resources. These individuals will determine the needs of a team, department, and organization. They will also establish policies and procedures to maximize effectiveness and training. IT managers will often work on a number of projects at the same time throughout the company and they may work to implement and manage security protocols.
- Database Security Manager
A database security manager evaluates each component and asset of value needing protection including devices, systems, networks, information, data, employees, customers, and more. They will establish security practices for all databases as well as work with others, such as penetration testers, to try to find weaknesses and failure points. After these are found, database security managers will ensure the team fixes errors and they constantly monitor databases for attacks and breaches on a daily basis.
- Web Developer
A job as a web developer is often seen as a steppingstone to larger career aspirations. Many people’s first entry-level, freelance, consultancy, or internship role will be as a web developer. These individuals start by designing and creating websites for internal or external clients. Today, web developers are often also responsible for security, SEO, content, and more. Each role will be different depending on the needs of the client or company.
- Data Analyst
A data analyst is responsible for collecting, analyzing, cleaning, transforming, and modeling various data sets. Following these actions, data analysts will use the information to formulate meaningful and relevant conclusions to support the decision makers. The information will also be used to create strategies and to solve specific problems.
- Database Engineer
A database engineer is responsible for managing the flow of company information. These database professionals assist with the designing and maintaining of databases to ensure the right information gets to the right people within an organization. It’s possible to specialize in specific industries such as financial services, healthcare, education, and more.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
A chief information security officer (CISO) is one of the highest positions one can reach within the realm of database administration careers. This position is in charge of establishing the vision and strategy of data security for the entire organization. They will also be responsible for all cyber security measures for people, devices, networks, and systems.
- Data Processor
A data processor collects and manipulates data to be able to provide the necessary information required to achieve efficiency and advantages in the organization. Data processors may work with databases from any number of departments within a company. As such, it is often beneficial for data processors to take some courses in business to have a better understanding of the type of data that is important for each business group.
- Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts examine an organization’s security practices. This includes a full review of all computer systems and networks. These individuals monitor information for attacks and breaches as well as incorporating processes for informing the right people when a violation has been discovered. They will also carefully document and report on vulnerabilities to decision makers as a way to make improvements and evaluate the success of response and recovery efforts.