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What is Database Administration?

Database administration is a part of information technology that every business needs and uses. All businesses store and use data. Whether it’s employee files, inventory listings, or customer information, it is important to a business for a myriad of reasons. So, it makes sense that there is an entire industry dedicated to collecting, storing, and manipulating this information. And, along with the industry, there are the people who work in that industry and others as database administrators. Administrators are not necessarily the ones who enter the raw data into the framework, rather they tend to create those databases and decide the parameters used to decide who can access the data. So, when you go to a website, log in, and pull up your account information, there was a database administrator that created the program that entered your information and set it up so it would present in a useable way.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for database administrators is expected to increase between 2020 and 2030. In the state of Mississippi, there are just under 400 database administrators working in a variety of industries. And, as the national trend would suggest, the state expects to need more administrators in the future. If the idea of working with data is something that interests you, there is plenty of information regarding how to get into the industry below.

Database administrators create databases. They take raw data and create the framework used to store the data in a manner that makes it useable to anyone who accesses the program. They also tend to control permissions, or the requirements for someone to get into a database and view or manipulate the information it contains. Most of their day consists or creating these frameworks, finding and correcting errors in the raw data, and making sure current databases are working properly. Depending on the experience level of the administrator, they could also have a team of admins and specialists working beneath them that they must supervise. The database team could have one big project or several smaller projects for different departments. The head administrator is responsible for ensuring that all assignments were completed on time and correctly.

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Online Database Administration Education in Mississippi

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 certifications that require a level of degree to be eligible. In other words, working in the field of database administration without a formal education will severely impact the time it takes you to progress in the field. Below are the levels of education a person can achieve in database administration.

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Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

An online associates in database administration is a good place to lay a foundation for a career as a database professional. With this degree, you can more easily get an entry-level position in database administration.

Some of the subjects students will study while attaining this two-year degree include:

  • Informatics
  • Data Analytics
  • Server Platforms
  • Basic Computer Repair
  • Computer Science
  • Algorithms
  • Networking
  • And More

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 may be required.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Database Administration (BS)

A online bachelor’s in database administration is the most common degree that 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 subjects 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
  • Web Development
  • Scripting and Programming
  • And More

A bachelor’s degree typically takes between four and six years, but some people finish early while others need more time.

Online Master's Degree in Database Administration (MS or MC)

A online master’s in database administration is valuable for administrators who are interested in management positions. The most popular path people take is combining database administration with business administration and getting a master’s in business administration, also referred to as an MBA. Most MBA programs take roughly three years to complete (some accelerated programs can take as little as 15 months) and consist of courses in business, informatics, and data analysis. Unlike many industries, a database administrator with a graduate degree can teach and many colleges and universities.

Online PhD Degree in Database Administration (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 in the field, 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. But, if we’re being honest, most people in IT don’t earn terminal degrees of this type because their long list of certifications and licenses speak for themselves regarding their expertise in the industry.

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Become a Database Administrator in Mississippi

There isn’t just one direct path to becoming a database administrator, but there are approaches that are more common than others. The two most common approaches are attaining an entry-level position and working your way up to an administrator or getting the required education and starting in an entry-level or mid-level position. These paths are similar, but the important key is that both the education and work experience will be required eventually for advancement, so you can get your education up front and then attain the work experience or gain work experience and attain your education at the same time. One option isn’t better than the other, though getting the education first is the quicker approach. But for someone who needs to support themselves and their family, the other option might be the best move.

One of the first job duties a person working in database administration will have is data entry. After learning the ins and out of the data that goes into the database, a person is ready to move on to learning the process of manipulating the data once it is entered into the system. There are many ways to do this, and the process varies depending on the type of data being used. A person will work as an input specialist for a while before getting additional tasks.

Once an education has been attained and a worker has gained some experience, they may qualify for certification exams. There are several certifications a worker can achieve from Oracle, Microsoft, and other computer tech companies.

Careers for Database Administration Graduates

There are numerous jobs a person with a database administration background can pursue. Below are a few of the more popular and lucrative careers in and around database administration.

  • Administrative/Office Manager
    Office managers spend a great deal of their workday coordinating and managing people and things. Schedules, travel plans, office equipment orders, supply lists, or finding a restaurant that can service lunch for 25 - office managers have a lot of balls in the air. These professionals may 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 smaller companies might have one manager and all office personnel reports to them. Either way, there is a lot of responsibility and team leadership and excellent communication are required to effectively perform in this position.
  • Payroll Administrator
    Payroll administrators complete payroll duties for a business. They track employee hours, help employees having problems with their pay or requesting changes such as a new address, withholding adjustments, and reviewing benefits for vacation pay or medical deductions. If there are changes to benefits programs, payroll administrators may educate management and staff regarding those changes.

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  • Operations Manager
    Operation managers ensure that things run smoothly on a daily basis. They are the day-to-day manager for a business and are involved in all areas of the business. They ensure all facets of the business run smoothly and effectively, but also makes sure these things are done within the budget. Operations managers are the key person between other managers and the senior management team.
  • Information Technology Manager
    The information technology manager, or IT manager, runs the information technology department for a business. They keep track of the issues that IT professionals have to handle, implement and execute IT projects, and makes sure that all departments’ IT needs are met.
  • Database Administrator (DBA)
    Database administrators create, maintain, and troubleshoot databases. Teamed with an architect, they create and organize systems that store and secure all sorts of data, such as customer addresses and credit card information. They make sure the information is available to authorized users and is secure from potential bad actors who would use the data for nefarious reasons.
  • Account Coordinator
    Also referred to as customer success coordinators, account coordinators are a blend of sales and customer service professionals. They work directly with clients, making sure they are happy with their situation and, if there are problems, they offer solutions and alternatives that will rectify the situation.
  • Data Processor
    A data processor inputs raw data into a database system so that other administrators can use it for company use. Data processors have excellent data input skills and are typically divided between numeric processors (a person who enters numbers into a system) and alpha-numeric processors (a person who inputs both words and numbers). Data processors are typically extremely fast typists because the information needs to be inputted in a timely manner.

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