What is Database Management?
Every business needs a way to track data. From customer information to credit accounts, companies use large files of data to keep track of their information. But for this information to be useful, it has to be stored in an organized manner and be protected with a series of safeguards. The people who are in charge of this task are called database administrators. Maryland’s largest industries are real estate, general business, and education. All of these industries require storing hundred of thousands of pieces of information. For example, the real estate industry uses databases to store information about houses that are on the market, as well as information about people who are interested in seeing homes on the market. Colleges use databases to keep track of potential students, alumni, and information on current students. Someone has to gather the data, sort it, and store it in a manner that allows the information to be accessed in a variety of ways. The information also must be protected from bad actors accessing and using it for nefarious purposes. This all falls under the umbrella of database administration.
There are roughly 3,500 people employed in the database administration field in the state of Maryland. Per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is expected to increase between now and 2030 due to an increased demand for accurate and safe storage. So, if finding new ways to store and protect data is something that might interest you, keep reading. Below you will find information about the education required and the types of positions a person with a database administration can expect to find.
Database Management Education in Maryland
Although it is possible to start a career in database administration without a formal education, attaining a degree is still something to be considered. First, database professionals with formal educations are more attractive to potential employers. Second, there are certain certifications that require a degree or more experience to be eligible. In other words, working in the field of database administration without a formal education will severely impact the time it takes to progress in the field. Below are the levels of education a person can achieve in database administration.
Associate Degree in Database Management (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 students will study while attaining this two-year degree include the following.
- Computer Science and Information Technology
- 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, but it will take longer and more work experience than a person who has continued their education.
Bachelor’s Degree in Database Management (BS)
A bachelor’s 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 Management (MS or MC)
A master’s degree in database administration is valuable for those administrators who want to progress into management positions. The most popular path people take is combining database administration with business administration and getting a master’s in business administration, aka an MBA. This program takes roughly three years to complete, though accelerated programs can take as little as 15 months, and it consists of courses in business, informatics, and data analysis.
PhD/Doctorate Degree in Database Management (PhD)
For those who want to move into the upper echelons of management, change careers and become a professor, or become a subject matter expert, a doctorate degree is a viable step. This program can vary depending on the specific area covered, but there is an emphasis on managing teams, understanding the psychology behind effective leadership, and advanced programming and database architecture. The thing to be aware of here is that there are few if any PhDs focused on database management. Instead, you might focus your degree on cyber security, database software, or another related field.
Become a Database Manager in Maryland
There are generally two paths a person can take to become a database administration professional in Maryland. One requires a person to get a lower-level position in database administration and then attain the required education to advance. The other starts with a person gaining a formal education in database administration and then starting their career. Which path a person takes depends on personal factors.
For those who want to start their careers before getting an education, admittedly this is the more difficult approach. Some get started while in high school since many schools do offer computer science and database administration classes for students. A person with this experience could possibly gain employment in a lower-level database department, but mentoring and apprenticeship periods are going to apply, in many cases for a longer period of time than it would take to get a formal education. But, for someone who needs to work and cannot afford to take on the cost of higher education, this is a good place to start. Once a person has found a job, the next step is to learn as much on-the-job as possible and continue to improve their skills. It’s important to note that progress in this field will be limited without a formal education because certain certifications needed to advance in the field require candidates to have either a rather lengthy work history in the field or a degree, usually a bachelor’s degree.
The path of progression for someone who attains their formal education first is both quicker and easier. Once a person has a degree, they can apply for database specialist and administrator jobs, depending on their experience. Many degree programs require students to complete an internship, and this often results in an immediate employment opportunity upon graduation because many companies hire interns for permanent positions. After attaining a degree and finding employment, a person should continue to learn everything they can and start preparing for the certification exams that they will qualify for and that will allow them to advance in their careers.
Careers for Database Management Graduates
Database professionals can be found in all industries, but there are more jobs a database administration professional can strive for outside of database administration itself. Below are some examples of careers in which a person with a database administration background can seek gainful employment.
- Administration/Office Manager:
Office managers spend a large part of their workday coordinating. Whether is schedules, travel plans, office supply orders lists, or the best places to order lunch for 20, office managers keep a lot of balls in the air. They often hire other office staff, perform specific duties for upper management, and generally keep the office functioning effectively. Some companies have more than one office manager and each has a team underneath them, while other often smaller companies might have one manager and all office personnel reports to them.
- Payroll Administrator:
A payroll administrator is in charge of keeping track of employee’s income information. They track the employees’ hours, monitor and maintain benefit and vacation information, and approve or deny requests for vacations and leaves of absence. This information is stored in a database, so experience using, building, and manipulating databases is a plus.
- Information Technology Manager:
Information technology managers are the heads of IT departments. This department includes database administration, and many IT managers get their start as database admins. IT managers ensure that all areas of the department run smoothly and that any reported issues are addressed and corrected as quickly as possible.
- Data Analyst:
Data analysts review data stored information and look for errors or breaches in the database. They ensure that all data is accurate and that bad actors cannot manipulate the information and render the database useless.
- Data Processor:
Data processors enter information into existing databases. These individuals often have fast typing speeds and excellent accuracy. Some processors focus on numerical entry, while other input both words and numbers. Alpha-numeric data processors can earn excellent wages because companies appreciate having their data entered quickly and accurately.
- Information Security Analyst:
Information security analysts ensure that networks are secure. They do this by testing the network and looking for flaws in the system. If they find a flaw, they attempt to take advantage of it and breach the security of the network. This information is then used to create patches for existing networks and to create new ones. Information security analysts may start as database admins or network admins and worked their way into network security.
- Marketing Manager:
Marketing managers oversee marketing departments and those who work there. They create teams to work on marketing campaigns and maintain client records. The information often includes current and former campaigns, products and services being marketed, and the preferences of each client. Marketing managers are often the liaison between a company and a community, so excellent communications skills and attention to detail are definite pluses for this position.