How to Become a Database Administrator in California

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What is Database Administration?


California is one of the largest states in the United States. In fact, their economy is one of the largest in the world and it dwarfs that of many countries. The state's diverse landscape and population has resulted in terrific innovation in many areas, but technology is one of the most prevalent. Though we may think of film and television as California's primary export, there would hardly be a tech revolution without the pioneers in Silicon Valley

Thus, the state is perhaps one of the best choices for students who wish to pursue a tech career. This includes database administration, software development, and cyber security, to name a few. The state university system has naturally addressed this issue and so California's institutions of higher learning all clamor to have the best computer science or information technology programs. In fact, UCLA and Stanford boast the programs that launched the internet.

For students who intend to stay in California, they are sure to find loads of terrific opportunities. While the information sector is the fourth largest industry in the Golden State, nearly all of their top industries are database-centric. While the top industry in California is real estate, which might not seem tech-heavy, it's important to note that every real estate database must be efficient and reliable at all times.

Californians who want to be a part of building, maintaining, and protecting the state's valuable data troves should consider earning a degree in the field. Not only does the state boast some of the nation's best four-year colleges and universities, the state is also among the leaders in community college education. Consider that a community college in or near the Bay Area might feature information technology instructors who are retired from Silicon Valley jobs where they worked on the industry's cutting-edge designs.

This page is designed to help aspiring tech professionals learn more about degrees in database administration. Here, they will learn what it takes to succeed, whether in the field or in the classroom. In fact, any student or mid-career professional is invited to take a look. Exploring one's options is always a worthwhile endeavor.


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Online Database Administration Education in California


Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

A two-year associate degree from a local community college or an online institution is a perfect foundation for a budding career. California's excellent community college system provides database administration and other information technology degrees. A database associate degree can help students land an entry level job as a database professional. In fact, once they get started with an associate degree, database administrators can add certifications and other credentials to their resume. Some may find that they don't need to return to school at all.

For those who desire a four-year bachelor’s degree in database administration, community college is a terrific option. The tuition rates for an associate degree are low and an associate degree requires that students satisfy the core college curriculum. Thus, once they transfer their credits to a four-year college or university, database administration students can focus on their technology courses. Further, with an associate degree in database administration from a community college, students will see lower overall educational costs.

Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration (BS)

A bachelor’s degree in database administration is perhaps the ideal launchpad for an information technology career. Four-year colleges and universities are able to offer more courses that let students dive deeper into the subject matter. Bachelor's degree students can also add minor fields of study or even double majors on top of their database administration curriculum.

For instance, some may choose more of a data science track and then take more courses in the computer science department. Others may prefer a business focus and they can take courses in management information systems, business administration, or accounting. Not only does a bachelor’s degree offer more pure academic opportunities but students can also pursue more experiential learning opportunities.

Internship programs at top firms often recruit from four-year bachelor’s degree programs in database administration. There are also database administration programs that offer co-op opportunities where students study for a term and then spend a term working in an IT department or a consulting firm.

Master’s Degree in Database Administration (MS or MC)

As in many fields, a master’s degree can take earnings and status to a whole new level. For information technology professionals who specialize in database management and technology, there are many options. Perhaps the most obvious master’s degree choice is a master's in database administration which focuses specifically on database management and technology.

Another option is a master’s degree in management information systems. This master’s degree helps professionals bridge the gap between the technology and those who use it. MIS degree holders are increasingly in demand and those who focus on database technology are sure to rise to the top.

Another popular graduate degree for database administration professionals is an MBA. This option is great for those who have their sights set on upper management and the C-suites. When a student opts for an MBA with a database administration concentration, they not only have a terrific understanding of business, but their technical expertise is further enhanced. With an MBA, database managers may set their sights on becoming a chief information officer.

PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)

A doctoral degree in database administration is a highly valued asset in the IT world. This level of academic achievement indicates a deep knowledge of database technology perhaps including the ability to work with Big Data, cyber security technologies, and more. Since every business relies on its database professionals to keep their records safe and easy to access, they are keen to find a PhD level employee who can help them achieve their long-term business goals.

Professionals who earn a PhD in database management often pursue high-level jobs in research. They might also apply their cutting-edge knowledge to work in disruptive start-ups that have the most innovative approaches to data structures or cyber security, for instance.

A PhD also opens up the possibility of teaching at the college or university level. While they can teach with a master’s degree, a PhD allows database professionals to earn tenure and even teach graduate students.

Become a Database Administrator in California


California is virtually the home of the modern technological era. The internet was born out of experiments between UCLA and Stanford, and today's Silicon Valley is home to tech giants such as Apple and Google. Thus, many students in the Golden State have set their sights on technology as a career choice. Those who wish to become database managers are sure to find many opportunities but first they must prepare for their profession.

Aspiring database administration professionals first have to recognize a proclivity for technology and computing. This fascination should go past simply playing games and tapping apps on a phone. True database professionals often find that they are logical people with strong math skills. They may also be the sort of person to build their own computers or even take online courses to learn various computer programming languages such as SQL, Python, C, or C++.

During high school, tech savvy students should seek out elective courses in computer programming, information technology, or electronics. Some may have access to STEM high schools that will help put them on a track for long-term success. This sort of background will be useful on college applications and will be helpful especially for students who apply to technical colleges or universities.

While an associate degree is a great option, students should set their sights on a bachelor’s degree. Those who attend one of California's many terrific community colleges will not only receive a great preliminary education but those first two college years will be more affordable than a four-year college or university. Those who do complete an associate degree in database administration should consider taking a year or so to build a bit of experience in the field. This added experience will be helpful when applying to a four-year college or university.

During the remainder of one's college degree, students should seek a complimentary minor that will round their education. Database administration students might choose mathematics, computer science, or business administration for their complimentary course of study. Students should review their choices here carefully with an eye to later specialization. That is, those who minor in mathematics or computer science may take a more strictly technological path in their career. Those who opt for a few business courses might see themselves in more of a management role in the long run.

Finally, students who are seeking a database administration degree should be sure to pursue internships. These experiential learning opportunities can provide valuable insights into what it really takes to thrive in the field. Many internship programs feature complex projects that help students apply their knowledge and skill sets to real-world problems. Not only does this reflect well in the classroom but those accomplishments will result in stellar resume material.

Careers for Database Administration Graduates


  • Administrative / Office Manager:
    An office manager who has a degree in database management will be a tremendous asset. These professionals might assign permissions to the database, help set up cyber security measures, and more. This might be a terrific entry-level job for a database professional who has an associate degree. Office managers might consider pursuing additional certificates in database related topics.
  • Payroll Administrator:
    Payroll databases must be properly designed and managed so that every employee in a firm receives the correct paycheck. Database managers may need to create custom fields and queries for special employees who may need reimbursement for travel or other expenses.
  • Operations Manager:
    Contemporary business operations all run on database information. Thus, an operations manager needs to understand how to operate a database. They may not need to program in SQL, but it wouldn't hurt to understand how to manage database permissions, for starters.
  • Information Technology Manager:
    These professionals can come from several different disciplines including networking, software development, or database management. To rise into this level, database administration professionals should consider taking business management or administration courses. In fact, an MBA that is paired with a technical concentration would be optimal.
  • Database Administrator (DBA):
    These high-tech professionals work on maintaining their firm's databases. The job may also ask that they be able to design and build whole new databases. In today's climate, DBAs with cyber security skills are sure to be in high demand. Database administrator job listings often ask for one or more professional certifications in specialty areas such as SQL, database design, etc.
  • Data Analyst:
    These positions are for those with strong analytical abilities. Many data analysts hold master’s degrees or more and are highly proficient in mathematics, programming, and more. The ability to craft highly efficient algorithms will be a large part of this career.
  • Information Security Analyst:
    Information security, also known as cyber security, is in high demand these days. Database professionals who specialize in InfoSec are sure to go very far indeed. To succeed, database professionals should be experts in cryptography, among other skills. Students who are interested in this path should seek out cybersecurity programs with CAE credentials.
  • Web Developer:
    Web developers need to have a mastery of database design, queries, and more. A database administrator who works in web development may work with an e-commerce company, for instance, who needs a database that can update with lighting speed and efficiency. Developers should also be expert with various web languages such as JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Java, and PHP.
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):
    This is a peak-level position that database professionals often achieve towards the end of their careers. However, a younger person who has a mastery of database and cyber security knowledge, in addition to extensive training and degrees in business administration, can rise to this level.
  • Database Security Manager:
    As cyber security becomes more of a priority for businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, the position of database cyber security manager will grow in proportion. This job will require training in information security, so database administration students are urged to take advantage of any opportunity to gain relevant knowledge and skills.

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