How to Become a Database Administrator in Montana

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What is Database Administration?


Montana has been best known for its ranching, agriculture, and livestock industries, and these are still a vitally important source of revenue for the state. However, the state has diversified its industries over the decades and experienced differing levels of growth for various industries.

Over the past two decades, healthcare and social assistance, real estate, and food services experienced the highest levels of growth in Montana. Montana also saw job growth, with more than 100,000 roles filled in the same time frame.

A database administration professional works with software to organize data for an organization. This role requires a database administrator to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Individuals who have earned master’s degrees in a STEM field that allows them to work in this position are also sought after. In addition to the degree, these professionals should ideally have between three and five years of experience.

A database administrator should have technical skills in database administration, performance tuning, SQL and other database languages, and more. They should also have soft skills including planning, communication skills, teamwork/collaboration, troubleshooting, and problem solving.

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Online Database Administration Education in Montana


The state’s western region still relies on its federal lands for economic growth and Missoula, as a college town, and Glacier National Park draw new residents, tourists, and visitors.

Database administration is one of the tech jobs that may have played a large role in these areas of growth. Organizations with database administrators are able to use business intelligence gleaned from business analytics to help guide their decision making. Business administrators, managers, and other decision makers read reports generated by database administrators and other analysts to help them make the best decisions they can for their organizations.

These professionals are likely to work in conjunction with an IT department and to help a company track, store, maintain, access, analyze, and protect all their data. They not only help create databases and control how those databases operate, but by controlling access they can help to ensure that only those who should have access can see sensitive company, client, or customer data.

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A good way to measure high-tech business activity is to look at the growth of wages between 2016 and 2017. Here, it’s evident that the wage growth of high-tech companies (increased by 6.3%) benefited. Employment grew by 3.3% and wages increased by 2.9%.

Montana’s high-tech industries are experiencing a noticeable growth, with employment and revenue having increased at a rate that is seven times higher than the statewide economy. Salaries in this industry have grown by 30%, according to a recent study completed by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER).

Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

At a community college, students might be able to find an information technology or computer science degree program that can begin to prepare them for database administration. Community colleges most commonly offer associate degrees, though some allow them to transfer more easily to a state college to complete a bachelor’s as well. Students may also be able to earn certificate, which can allow them to expand on the material they are learning in their degree program and gain specific skills that can make them more hirable with just an associate degree.

In these types of programs, students are exposed to a frequently changing field. Information technology and computer science have been around for years, but their ongoing effect on the state and global economy will last forever.

Students entering this field should understand that IT and computer science can envelop the design and development of every component of computer technology; these include the hardware and software that professionals use as they manage data, multimedia software and devices used in many fields, systems integration services, and more.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration (BS)

This is an excellent degree option for students who are interested in computer science and business. After all, database administrators tend to work for large businesses who need assistance keeping their data properly maintained and analyzing it for trends. While you can earn an online bachelor’s in database administration, you may also opt for one in management information systems, which can lead to lucrative careers in business analysis, IT consulting, network administration, and systems and business analysis.

These online programs fall within the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, which puts them toward the top in profitability. Once students graduate, they will have the skills and knowledge they need to use information and technology to improve the strategic advantages of an organization.

Online Master’s Degree in Database Administration (MS)

Graduate students may choose an online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MS-BA), an MBA with a focus in database administration, or another graduate-level degree that can help them continue to succeed in their career. In these graduate programs, students learn new skills which allow them to add to their current skill set, such as data analytics, and they also gain more in-depth knowledge into business if they choose to earn an MBA. These degree programs are the connection point between computing, business, and statistics.

The practical skills gained from a graduate degree can allow professionals to use data in a variety of ways, from gathering data, text, and images to cleaning it and transforming it, then carrying out the needed statistical analyses to get the answers their company needs to make good decisions. Working as a consultant is just one of the possible careers database administrators.

Online PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)

Database administrators in Montana who have plans to earn a PhD in the information technology or computer science field may have to look outside of the state or online. A neighboring state—North Dakota—offers at least one PhD program in computer science but there are others available from all over the country. Of course, there are also other options within Montana if you are looking for a PhD connected to business, so make sure you check out all your options before making a decision. With a degree at this level, graduates will have the knowledge and expertise to forge new pathways in the use of current computing platforms and techniques.

Montana information technology professionals may choose to take a degree at this level online or in an on-campus format.

Graduates of these types of PhD programs gain the practice experience they need to tackle today’s challenges using computational technology. By the time they graduate, they have the expertise to act as experts in one of several branches of computer science: software design, bioinformatics, atmospheric science, et.

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Become a Database Administrator in Montana


Database administration professionals are not required in any state to have certifications or licensures. However, those who take the time to study for professional certifications are the most likely to have careers with upward trajectories. If you take the time to complete certification courses and exams, you will have shown yourself to be knowledgeable and to have the talent that many organizations are looking for.

Certifications can be categorized into various groups that can be divided by the job responsibilities common to each group. They may also be categorized by who is offering the certification. They are often provided by vendors when you are learning about specific software, but there are also vendor-neutral certifications which teach specific skills outside of the software used. These might be offered by schools or professional associations.

Here are just some options, but you should find the certification that best fits your needs and your career goals.

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MTA Database Fundamentals
  • MCSA: BI Reporting, Analyzing, and Visualizing Data with Power BI
  • MCSA: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Excel.
  • MCSA: SQL Server (Three examinations)
    • Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2001 / 2014
    • Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 / 2014 Databases
    • Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 / 2014
  • PostgreSQL: Certified PostgreSQL DBA

Potential Careers for Database Administration Graduates


  • Information Technology Manager

    An IT systems manager is a professional that makes sure that every employee has the technology needed to do their jobs including virtual private network (VPN) access for remote workers, a good laptop, and close coordination with other departments. This ensures that data is secure.

    They manage computer systems and information technology, control and evaluate electronic data and IT operations, and manage the staff of the IT department. Part of their job is to work on systems, policies, and procedures by designing and developing tool in these areas and putting new policies, procedures, and systems into operation.

  • Database Administrator (DBA)

    Database administrators spend their days working with the data stored within computers, networks, and IT systems. As this role has grown and adjusted over the years due to the changes of data sources and types, as well as storage options, their responsibilities have changed.

    At this point, these professionals might design, put into operation, administer, and monitor systems where data is stored and monitored. They ensure the design, consistency, quality, and security of every bit of data.

  • Data Analyst
    Data analysts analyze collected and stored data in order to discover trends and emerging needs of the company. This data may involve sales numbers, logistics, market research, linguistics, or other data types. They have the necessary technical expertise to assure that the data is high-quality and accurate and then process and present it so that businesses, organizations, and people make better decisions.

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  • Database Engineer
    A database engineer puts into operation methods of improving data quality and reliability. They bring together raw information from different sources, creating consistent, machine-readable formats. They are also responsible for developing and testing architectures which allow data extraction and transformation to be used for predictive or prescriptive modeling.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager
    This professional may also be called an IT project manager or IT manager. They can plan, coordinate, and direct all computer-related activities within an organization. They also help to decide the information technology goals of an organization and are responsible for implementing the computer systems to meet these goals.
  • Information Security Analyst
    This security professional plans and carries out security measures which protect the organization’s computer networks and systems. They monitor the organization’s networks, looking for breaches and investigating when one takes place. They use and maintain software, firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect the organization’s sensitive information.
  • Computer Network Architects
    Computer network architect professionals design, build, and maintain various data communication networks (smaller intranets to large cloud infrastructures). These architects also have an extensive understanding of the organization’s business plans and objectives. They should have business know-how and skills so that they are able to manage their staff and operate the network design and implementation on a budget.
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
    A CISO may also be called the vice president of security or the chief information officer. They are senior executive members who are responsible for the cyber security of an organization’s information and data. They make sure privileged organization information is not compromised by external or internal breaches.

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