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What is Database Administration?

Are you considering pursuing a database administration degree in Minnesota? As part of the information technology field, this major is most suitable for those interested in and capable of working with computers. Program specifics vary by academic institution, but enrolled students can typically expect to receive instruction designed to help develop skills related to database updates, storage, security, and troubleshooting. Curriculums also tend to cover data storage systems, as most businesses across almost every industry consider this knowledge highly valuable. Depending on level, most database administration degree graduates qualify for a wide variety of employment opportunities. Some of the top positions sought by professionals in this field include computer and information systems manager, database administrator, computer network architect, computer programmer, and computer systems analyst.

Many colleges and universities in the state offer academic programs in this field. While online learning offers convenient and flexible scheduling options, prospective students who intend to seek employment in Minnesota should give preference to local institutions. These schools often understand the top employers in the region best and, as a result, can provide the most geographically relevant instruction. Many colleges and universities also strive to establish relationships with local companies and organizations looking for interns and new job candidates.

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Online Database Administration Education in Minnesota

Overall job outlook for database administrators and architects in the United States is promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for these professionals is expected to increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030. This is about average but will likely account for approximately 13,900 job openings each year. While the majority of positions will become available due to current workers retiring or transferring to different positions, increasing demand for qualified professionals in the field will also increase job availability. As almost every industry utilizes data systems for organization and storage purposes, database administrators are only becoming more essential in workplaces. This is especially true for companies and organizations actively striving to grow and expand. Additionally, employment opportunities in this field are likely to rise as more and more professionals start offering database storage and maintenance as a service.

Information is the tenth largest industry in Minnesota, accounting for $12.2 billion in revenue each year. In addition to this, the state is home to many other top industries that are highly dependent upon database administration professionals. A few examples include manufacturing, business services, real estate, healthcare, and finance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota employed 2,830 database administrators and architects in May 2020. The state’s annual mean wage earned by these professionals was $106,380. This is significantly higher than the annual mean wage of $56,310 reported for all occupations.

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Degrees in database administration can lead to a wide variety employment opportunities related to information technology. One of the most sought-after positions in the field, however, is database administrator (DBA) or architect. While job specifics vary, the majority of these professionals work to create and/or organize systems that store and protect potentially sensitive data. In many cases, database administrators are responsible for keeping financial information, medical records, and customer shipping receipts safe. They may also work to ensure that authorized personnel can easily and securely access stored data when needed. Other commonly assigned tasks include monitoring database operations and providing technical support when issues arise.

Because database administrators can work in a variety of industries, responsibilities can vary significantly between positions. Some of the factors that impact expectations most include industry type, employer size, and individual job parameters. Most professionals working in this field can expect to perform data loss prevention and restorations, as well as modification testing and database permissions updates.

Database administrators can also choose to specialize in a particular area of the field. Two of the most common specialties are application database administrator and system database administrator. Application database administrators typically focus exclusively on databases for specific applications. They manage all the applications that work with their databases, as well as write or debug associated programs. System database administrators, on the other hand, are responsible for the physical and technical aspects of databases. They commonly install upgrades and patch bugs to ensure everything functions properly.

Professionals working as database administrators and architects are often employed by companies that specialize in computer systems design, education services, and insurance. Working conditions for those in this field are relatively standard. Most are employed full time and tend to be analytical, organized, communicative, and attentive to detail.

Generally, database administration professionals will require some form of formal education. Most employers expect candidates to have degrees in database administration, computer science, or a related field. As a result, those interested in this type of career should anticipate enrolling in a higher education program of some kind. Notably, the majority of database administration professionals have bachelor’s degrees.

Colleges and universities in Minnesota offer database administration degrees at every level – associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Typically, the type of degree required depends on the specific job sought. To ensure that you are adequately prepared for your preferred employment, research the type of position you want to pursue before enrolling in a degree program. This will also help you determine which level of education is necessary.

Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

Associate degrees in database administration typically consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Program specifics can vary, but most colleges create intentionally broad curriculums that consist of both general education and major-specific classes. Some common instructional areas include methods of assessing, organizing, and storing information in database servers, as well as database theory, server platforms configuration, Linux, networking concepts, and basic computer repair.

This type of degree is most useful for individuals seeking to gain entry-level employment quickly. While many jobs in the information technology field require candidates to have bachelor’s degrees or higher, there are a limited number of employment opportunities available for graduates. Some of the best options include database coordinator, programmer analyst, and database analyst. It’s worth noting that those with prior professional experience may qualify for more jobs.

Not all graduates want to continue their educations, however. Many use their associate degrees in database administration to jumpstart their bachelor’s degrees. Credits earned at properly accredited institutions can usually be transferred and this can cut traditional, four-year programs in half. Another benefit to earning associate degrees before bachelor’s degrees is the cost; many community colleges charge lower tuition rates, making this a highly economical option for prospective students.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in database administration and related fields generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Every institution is different, but most strive to create curriculums that focus on the foundational concepts related to information technology in addition to general, liberal arts subjects. Students can expect to study analysis and design, database management, programming languages, and relevant legal issues. Other common instructional areas include Python and Java programming.

This is the most common degree type in the field. Most database administration professionals have bachelor’s degrees, if not in database administration, then in computer science or a related subject. Students typically graduate with the skills needed to lead successful careers as database administrators, database specialists, application developers, and network engineers.

While graduates will qualify for many employment opportunities in the field, some opt to further their educations by enrolling in related master’s programs. Students interested in this will need to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) standards and achieve adequate GRE test scores as determined by the graduate schools they are considering.

It’s worth mentioning that few colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees that are solely focused on database administration. Instead, students typically enroll in other information technology or computer-related majors. There are, however, more database administration degree programs available online.

Online Master’s Degree in Database Administration (MS)

Master’s degrees in database administration may consist of between 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework that typically take full-time students approximately one to two years to complete. Every program is different, but curriculums generally center on several computer science and information systems topics. Instructors tend to explore core subjects in much more depth than they do at the undergraduate levels.

This type of degree is best suited for individuals seeking managerial roles, especially with larger companies and organizations. Graduates can expect a number of other benefits including higher salary potential, more mid-to-upper job placement opportunities, and faster promotion. While there are many positions available to graduates, some of the most common options include network administrator, computer and information systems manager, computer network architect, and computer systems analyst.

Online PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)

PhD and doctorate degrees in database administration generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students four to seven years to complete. These programs often provide extensive instruction related to collecting, analyzing, and converting data for various science, business, financial, and marketing purposes. Students should anticipate conducting independent research, as well as writing and presenting dissertations prior to graduation.

Few information technology jobs require this level of education. The most common exception includes college professors in the field and managerial/supervisory positions. Those interested in research may also benefit from this type of degree. Graduates are likely to have access to some of the best and most lucrative positions available in in the field.

Note that it can be difficult to doctoral database administration programs, however. As a result, most prospective students opt to pursue management information systems, information studies, or business administration degrees.

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Become a Database Administrator in Minnesota

The first step in becoming a database administration professional in Minnesota is identifying your ultimate career goals. Knowing your career aspirations will help you determine which type of degree program is necessary in order to gain your desired employment.

After earning the needed degree in database administration, computer science, or a related topic, consider pursuing one or more professional credentials, such as certifications and/or licenses. These credentials can help you stand out among other job candidates as potential employers tend to give preference to those with additional knowledge and training. Additionally, professionals who possess additional certifications and/or licenses frequently make higher salaries and promote faster.

While most employers do not require candidates have additional credentials, some companies and organizations do stipulate specific certifications when seeking to fill highly specialized positions. This is often the case for jobs that necessitate the use of unique products and/or technologies. As a result, database administration professionals usually make remaining informed about and trained in the use of popular database platforms a top priority.

It's also important to realize that there is no single body responsible for certifying professionals in this field. Most credentials are offered and maintained by software vendors or vendor-neutral entities.

Some common examples include:

  • Oracle Certified Professional – Oracle 9i Database Administrator
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)
  • Oracle 9i Database Administrator – Professional (OCP)
  • Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Professional
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
  • Computer Service Technician (CST)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • SAP Certified Technology Associate

Potential Careers for Database Administration Graduates

Individuals who graduate with database administration degrees in Minnesota can typically choose from a wide variety of positions. Those with bachelor’s degrees or above will tend to have access to the best jobs, and specialized credentials improve prospects even further. While salaries and responsibilities will vary, some of the most common career options available to graduates include the following.

  • Computer Network Architect
    Computer network architects design and maintain network requirements and capabilities. They are typically responsible for assessing system integrity and monitoring progress, as well as escalating issues to administrators or supervisors when they arise. These professionals may also test, introduce, and monitor new technologies as they are implemented. According to PayScale, network architects make an average base salary of $121,200 per year.
  • Database Administrator
    Database administrators install, assess, and maintain information databases, ensuring that software is appropriately used to keep data secure and safe. They generally set user privileges, optimize system performance, and troubleshoot issues that arise. These professionals are also responsible for making sure other employees can access information easily and quickly while performing their jobs. According to PayScale, database administrators make an average base salary of $73,350 per year.
  • Data Analyst
    Data analysts analyze data related to specific topics of interest as directed and then present their findings. This often entails conducting surveys, after which they much format the results into simplified charts and online databases. These professionals regularly meet with top executives to discuss their research. According to PayScale, data analysts make an average base salary of $61,750 per year.
  • Director of Operations
    Directors of operations supervise employee productivity. This typically includes defining staff goals and recommending procedural improvements as needed. These professionals may also be responsible for making production purchases, as well as negotiating with vendors and sellers. According to PayScale, directors of operation make an average base salary of $93,050 per year.
  • Information Systems Manager
    Information technology managers oversee computer infrastructure and help in the development of data storage systems. They assess the overall effectiveness of associated rules and regulations and notify leadership of any potential areas of concern. Additionally, these professionals may be asked to supervise other network technology and security specialists. According to PayScale, information technology managers make an average base salary of $88,950 per year.

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  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers oversee or help develop advertisement and merchandise campaigns ranging in size from single products, multiple products, entire product lines, brands, and/or companies. They are also responsible for recommending new campaigns and collaborating with other professionals during the execution process. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,300 per year.
  • Quality Manager
    Quality managers verify that products produced meet consumer demands. This often entails overseeing item assessments by performing regular quality checks, correcting mistakes, tracking warranties, performing audits, and tracking customer feedback. These professionals may also be responsible for improving company standards. According to PayScale, quality managers make an average base salary of $82,050 per year.
  • Web Developer
    Web developers build websites by writing code. They also work to make database access easier. Additionally, these professionals work with software to ensure simpler and more widespread use in the future. This often entails writing, modifying, and debugging issues as needed. According to PayScale, web developers make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.

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