What is Database Management?
A database administrator is an IT professional who works on a firm's databases. Since business is so reliant on databases of information, this is an increasingly important profession. Not only does a database need to be maintained to ensure that it works properly and can be queried but it should also be secure. In fact, firms are constantly being hacked these days. Sometimes the hackers will hold the database for ransom. This can be a dire situation for any firm, though it can have even more life-affecting consequences when this happens to the healthcare industry.
Database administrators also work with their fellow employees to determine who should access which databases, or which portion of the information can be released to which employees. Thus, database administrators structure the databases to reflect the specific needs of their users. They also allocate permissions to users on an individual basis. Where the CEO may have full access to the entire database, an HR specialist may only have access to certain aspects of employee records and no access to client or patient information.
To become a database administrator, students need to learn certain programming languages. SQL and Python are two of the more prominent languages used. SQL, and its offshoots, are vital for creating a database, while Python is very efficient at parsing data. Administrators may also become steeped in cryptography to ensure security for the data and the firm.
Database Management Education in Maine
Maine is a state best known for a rugged, picturesque coast, lobsters, and cold winters. It also has a diverse and rich economy that is dominated by real estate, healthcare systems, business services, and manufacturing, to name a few. Given the state's proximity to major hubs of commerce, such as New York City and Boston, Maine benefits from the intellectual and other capital that makes its way north.
To keep their economy growing and innovating, Maine has a robust educational system that starts with its K-12 public schools. Students also enjoy private schools and charter schools, and a Maine public education is hard to beat. After secondary school, students can venture into the state's system of post-secondary institutions. Whether they choose a community college, a small four-year college, one of the state universities, or a private school, students are in for a terrific education.
Since the state needs to keep pace with the rest of the nation and world, Maine has been sure to fund its educational system's STEM classes very well. These courses can benefit every student, especially those that introduce computer science terms and concepts. After all, computers influence nearly every industry in the state. Students starting in high school can begin learning about networks, hardware, and database technologies. Some are even able to start coding in SQL, one of the core database languages.
After a Maine student has completed a database administration degree, they can jump to work for one of the state's top industries. Since Maine offers lower costs in terms of real estate and rentals, some enterprising database administration experts might even launch a database storehouse that can hold data on servers for companies in Boston, Providence, or New York City, among other possible locations.
Associate Degree in Database Management (AS)
Students who kick off their careers with an associate database administration degree are doing themselves a tremendous favor. This is because a two-year community college degree provides the opportunity to learn the basics of database administration as well as other aspects of information technology, without breaking the bank. Most community colleges offer robust IT degrees, including database administration. If there's not a good degree program nearby, many colleges offer an associate database administration degree online. Students also take all of the usual, expected core college curriculum, which is required for an associate degree, at a reduced rate relative to most four-year institutions. This can mean that you can skip the first two years of a bachelor’s degree if you decide to earn one later.
After graduation, students can land an entry-level job in an IT department or with IT consultants. They can then get to work earning certifications that they can add to their resumes. In fact, some employers may help them pay for the extra courses and examinations. If not, it’s more common for an employer to offer tuition reimbursement for those who wish to complete a bachelor’s database administration degree.
Bachelor’s Degree in Database Management (BS)
Most employers prefer to see resumes that boast a bachelor’s database administration degree. A four-year degree indicates that the candidate has done some in-depth study of database technology and is ready to launch into difficult projects. A bachelor’s degree also should indicate a candidate who has loads of fresh ideas to add to any IT department or consulting firm.
Over the course of a four-year bachelor’s database administration degree, students should strive to expand their education with internships. If they need to work while in school, they should try to find work with an IT department. Even administrative work or a low-level support position can prove valuable in the long run.
After graduation, new database professionals should start seeking out certifications to enhance their professional lives. A certification will bolster their work life and help them achieve specific career goals. For instance, a certificate in cyber security can help a database administrator advance into that field, especially when they add a master’s database administration degree later on.
Master’s Degree in Database Management (MS or MC)
In order to take one's career as far as possible, a master’s database administration degree is necessary. After two years in a master’s database degree program, students will be ready to take command of database projects, manage IT departments, or work toward becoming consultants in the business. In fact, database professionals should consider adding an MBA to their resumes in order to cement their expert status.
An MBA affords IT professionals the opportunity to study their chosen field as well as business. A typical route for a database administration professional would be to find an MBA degree program that offers database administration or information technology as a concentration. This pairing informs a database professional with a strong business background while advancing their database knowledge. Another option may be to find a dual MBA program, in which they can complete both an MBA and a database administration master’s degree simultaneously. These programs take only three years and are more cost effective than taking the degrees separately.
PhD/Doctorate Degree in Database Management (PhD)
A doctorate in database administration is more likely to be found under the rubric of a doctorate in information technology. Nevertheless, this level of scholarship is sure to be highly regarded in the IT community. Database professionals may want to specialize in a niche such as cyber security, cryptography, or database architecture to make their careers really soar. Students may even consider focusing on a related field such as computer science, mathematics, or data science.
Graduates with a PhD in IT can apply their degrees towards researching new approaches to database technology. They could work on projects that use burgeoning technology, such as blockchain and smart contracts, to solve problems or create industry disrupting approaches. In fact, many doctoral theses find their way into corporate America. Since these ideas can be so valuable, many doctorate students decide to enter the world of business before they have a chance to write and defend their doctoral thesis.
Become a Database Manager in Maine
There are many roads one can take to become a database administration professional in Maine. Some are self-taught or receive on-the-job training, but others take a more formal route. The most popular one is to earn a degree in database administration or an information technology degree with a focus on database administration. Still others work on professional certifications that help them land their first entry-level position.
To get started, most aspiring database professionals begin their career as curious youngsters. They may have a love of computing and the internet which prompts them to investigate how the machines and networks actually function. These people often have strong mathematical abilities and an interest in all sorts of technology. In school they may be found taking advanced math and science courses.
Those who have a STEM-focused high school should apply and work on computer courses as much as possible. These schools may be difficult to gain admission to, but those who are driven by a passion for technology will impress the admission counselors. Those who work hard and graduate from a STEM high school are sure to have an advantage when it comes to applying to colleges and universities. This is because college admissions offices love seeing a determined candidate.
During college, students who are interested in databases should consider advancing their knowledge with courses in statistics, cryptography, and cyber security. For those in a four-year bachelor’s database administration degree program, it will be wise to find internships to help build experience. Those who need to work should look for part-time positions in an IT department or IT consulting firm.
After graduation, or even during semester breaks, students should look into expanding their knowledge with online courses. Seek out courses in database languages such as SQL or its offshoots. There are many free or very affordable options that can lead to a respected certification. These added credentials will help when it comes time to seek an entry-level position.
Careers for Database Management Graduates
- Administrative/Office Manager:
This is a great position for a database administration student to take. Many great database management careers have launched when an office manager takes the initiative and involves themselves with the computer systems of a company. In smaller offices, an office manager may be asked to oversee parts of the duties related to database administration. They may oversee permissions for the firm's databases and may need to do other work on the IT systems.
- Payroll Administrator:
With the right measure of both accounting and database skills, this position can turn into a terrific career opportunity. Successful administrators can start their careers with an associate degree in either accounting or database administration. From there they can develop their other skills with on-the-job training or certificate courses in their spare time.
- Operations Manager:
This position likely requires a bachelor’s management degree and several years of experience in a firm. Depending on the nature of the firm, operations managers can oversee things such as manufacturing operations, the inner workings of a hotel, or the daily activities of a marketing firm.
- Information Technology Manager:
After a few years in the field, IT professionals may be able to earn a promotion into management. Typically, an IT manager has earned credentials above and beyond their academic degrees. They may have numerous certifications in database management, networking, or hardware management. A master’s degree in IT, including an MBA with an IT concentration, can also be a terrific help for those who wish to get ahead faster.
- Database Administrator (DBA):
To earn this position, it's important to complete the requisite training. Some find this training on the job while others pursue a college degree in database administration. Even with a degree, successful database administrators still pursue certificates from non-academic outlets. Those who specialize in specific technologies such as Oracle, Microsoft, or Linux will find that they are in high demand.
- Data Analyst:
This position is seeing very high demand. The rise of Big Data means that more and more firms need data analysts with the skills necessary to crunch the numbers and find solutions to their marketing or other problems. Data analysts may also work for government agencies, financial institutions, or think tanks who need to analyze statistical data.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):
Cyber security experts who earn a master’s degree or even a doctoral degree may eventually rise into a CISO position. In this position, an IT expert oversees their firm's approach to cyber security. Their managers will report on the overall health of the firm's cyber security protocols and the CISO will direct them in the best possible direction for the future. In case of a cyber-attack, the CISO will be on the front lines of the investigation.
- Web Developer:
These IT experts are often confused with web designers. However, a web developer works on the back end of a website or even an internal network or intranet. They connect the user interface with a database, devise protocols for cyber security, and more. Web developers may work for large firms where they develop web solutions for their departments. They may also work for independent web marketing firms.