What is Database Administration?
A database administrator is a person who maintains a company’s data. They are in charge of taking raw data, putting it into a system, and creating a program or series of commands that turn the raw data into information that can be used by a business. For example, raw data could be the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people who have expressed interest in receiving certain kinds of information from a business. A database administrator takes that data and creates a program so that each person receives the information they want. They also maintain the data, adding and removing information as necessary to keep the information as accurate and up to date as possible.
Some consider a career in database administration a steppingstone to other, more highly regarded positions in information technology. Although it is true that many people who work in information technology start as database administrators, this doesn’t mean that these jobs are less important than others. Database administration is the bedrock on which other careers in information technology sit. If the data isn’t entered properly and organized in a way that makes it accessible, there is no need for cyber security, system analysis, or network administration. So, if you don’t have a desire to move past working as a database administrator, there’s nothing wrong with that, and it doesx n’t mean you don’t value your career; you simply know what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Database Administration Education in Georgia
The state of Georgia has 5,400 people employed in data administration. The average salary for these employees is $46,000 but, because demand is increasing, this income is expected to increase as well. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for data entry administrators is expected to increase faster than average. So, if you are interested in entering this field, this is a good time to get into it. Georgia has a growing tech industry as well as being a major hub for entertainment, with film studios, music production, and other areas that involve the entertainment industry. And they also have a stake in general business and finance industries, as well as real estate. In other words, if there is a particular industry in which you want to work as a database administrator, there is most likely a job for you in Georgia. And, because many database administrators move into other areas of information technology, such as system analysis and cyber security, there is room to advance for those who prefer to remain in database administration.
Database administration isn’t a recession-proof industry, but it does have staying power. There might be times when less administrators are needed, but overall, every business need someone to input, track, and protect their information. Until that changes, there will be work in database administration and information technology. So, if you want to be a part of an industry that makes sure people’s information is entered correctly, used properly, and secured for the sake of privacy, then keep reading about the education requirements, how to break into the industry, and the types of jobs that could be available to you once you attain your degree.
Full disclosure, it is possible to get a job working in database administration without a formal education. However, not having a degree severely hampers your ability to progress. The more education and certification you have, the further you can go. For some certifications, a degree is a requirement and, if you cannot get the required certifications, you often cannot advance. With that said, below are the different degree levels you can pursue in database administration.
Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)
An associate degree in database administration is a good place to lay a foundation for a career as a database professional. With this degree, a person can get an entry-level position in database administration.
Some of the courses that students will study while attaining this two-year degree include:
- Data Analytics and Advanced Data Analytics
Associate degrees generally take two to three years to complete. Although this degree can get someone started in a career as a database professional, in order to advance, additional education is required. With experience, someone with a two-year degree could advance without more education, but it will take longer and more work experience than a person who has continued their education.
Bachelor's Degree in Database Administration (BS)
A bachelors degree in database administration is the most common degree those who work in database administration attain. This degree not only qualifies a person for at least an entry-level position, it also sets them up to start attaining the certification needed to progress in their career.
Some of the courses included in a four-year database administration program include:
- Gathering Requirements for Data
- Collecting Data
- Data Analysis Techniques
- Leveraging Data Analysis for Organizational Results
- Programming Languages for Databases
A bachelor’s degree typically takes between four and six years, but some people finish early, while others need more time.
Master's Degree in Database Administration (MS or MC)
A masters in database administration isn’t a requirement to work as a database professional, but for those who want to move into management positions, a graduate degree can help. Many people combine database administration with general business and get a masters in business administration and include database administration as a specialization. In a graduate program, students will study higher-end business concepts, such as business analytics and accounting, while continuing with database courses such as programming, informatics, and data analysis.
PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)
A doctorate in database administration is not required to advance to the highest levels of database administration, but obviously is doesn’t hurt your chances either. What a PhD in database administration can do is set you up as a subject matter expert and make you an excellent candidate for permanent teaching positions at colleges and universities.
Become a Database Administrator in Georgia
One of first things a person who wants to work in database administration needs to determine is the industry in which they want to work. As was mentioned previously, database administration is required in practically every industry, so deciding which industry is of the most interest can help start the process. It’s always a good idea to study the industry in which a person wants to work so that they understand the need and purpose of databases within the industry. For example, someone who want to work as a database administrator in banking and finance should learn about the banking and financing industry, so they understand the kind of information they will be working with. Understanding the data makes creating programs and processes to input and maintain it easier.
Once you’ve determined your area of interest, learn everything you can about the industry. This is also a good time to begin your education in database administration. You can decide if you want to pursue a two- or four-year degree at this point. If you aren’t sure you want to pursue database administration, a two-year degree will give you a general idea of what your career might be like. If it’s still something that interests you after that, you can continue and get your four-year degree. When choosing a school, you’ll want to make sure it’s regionally accredited by a recognized accreditation board. Getting a degree from an unaccredited school can hamper you chances of progressing in your career as much as not having a degree at all. Many employers will only hire those who have degrees from accredited schools, and some of the certifications you need to advance your career also required your education come from an accredited school.
Now that you know your desired industry and you have, or are in the process of getting, the education you need, you can start to look at companies in Georgia that need people with your experience and education. As was mentioned previously, most industries have a presence in the state, so you have a lot of options, but the biggest industries are real estate, banking, entertainment, and manufacturing, all of which need people to build and maintain databases for their information. Check out job listings and see what they are requiring for database professionals and make sure your education and certification matches those requirements. There’s also a good chance that you will have completed an internship while you were getting your education, so make sure to include that experience on your resume. Also, consider that many people who successfully complete internship are often offered permanent positions where they intern. So, if you liked the company and they are hiring, don’t rule them out when beginning your job search.
Careers for Database Administration Graduates
A person with an education in database administration isn’t stuck building databases and maintaining the information. There are many other careers where experience in database administration can be an asset. Below are a few examples of jobs where database administration is only a fraction of what is done on a daily basis.
- Administrative / Office Manager
Office managers must maintain a lot of information, so their ability to build and maintain databases is a desired skillset. Office managers run the daily operations of a business. They hire personnel, create schedules, and meet with other managers and other business leaders to make sure the company runs smoothly. Managers have excellent communication skills, as well as good writing and customer service skills.
- Payroll Administrator
A payroll administer oversees the payroll for a company. They track hours worked or salaries earned, make sure the proper deductions are taken from earnings, and document and record employees’ benefits, such as vacation and sick days. Payroll works closely with human resources to make sure all employees are compensated correctly.
- Data Processor
A data processor inputs the information needed to create the database. Processors are usual either numeric processors (those who only deal with inputting numbers) or alpha-numeric processors (those who input both numbers and words). The have high typing speeds and even higher speeds on a numeric keypad. They are also extremely accurate, since the information they provide must be correct or the database will not be helpful to the company.
- Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst reviews databases to determine how secure they are and if there are issues, as well as coming up with solutions to make the database more secure. The analyst might be looking for general errors in the data, or they could be looking for weak areas where hackers could gain access to the information. Analysts are familiar with how databases are created and maintain, and many worked as a DBA at one point in their career.
- Marketing Manager
Marketing managers oversee the marketing department. They are in charge of overseeing the teams who create marketing campaigns, as well as maintaining the records for clients and their information. This can include their specific marketing needs, previous campaigns created for them, as well as the budget for each campaign. Marketing managers report to senior management and keep them abreast of the progress of campaigns and presentations. Managers also oversee the budget of the marketing department and makes hiring decisions.