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What is Database Administration?

Are you considering enrolling in a database administration degree program in New Mexico? This major is most appropriate for individuals interested in the information technology field. Prospective students also generally have some capabilities related to working with computers.

In general, database administrators are often responsible for creating and/or organizing systems that store and protect potentially sensitive data. Some level of data loss prevention and restoration, as well as modification testing and database permissions updates is probable. Database administrators also commonly work to keep financial information, medical records, and customer shipping receipts safe. Additionally, they may be expected to ensure authorized personnel have easy and secure access to the stored data. Other commonly assigned tasks include monitoring database operations and providing technical support when issues arise.

It's also possible for database administrators to specialize in a particular area of the field, such as application database administrator and system database administrator. While these professions are similar, there are a few distinctions. Application database administrators, for example, tend to have a narrower focus. They typically work exclusively with databases for specific applications, managing all the related applications, writing programs, and debugging issues. System database administrators, on the other hand, perform tasks related to the physical and technical aspects of their assigned databases. This often entails installing upgrades and patching bugs.

Every college and university establishes its own curriculums, but most programs are designed to help students develop relevant skills in database updates, storage, security, and troubleshooting. Another common topic covered is data storage systems. This is because almost every industry values professionals with this knowledge.

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Online Database Administration Education in New Mexico

While online learning makes is possible to enroll in database administration programs offered anywhere in the nation, those who plan to pursue work in New Mexico may want to give preference to academic institutions located in the state. These schools are typically more familiar with the needs and expectations of local employers, and it is common for colleges and universities to establish relationships with nearby companies and organization in order to help students find internships and jobs.

Employment opportunities will ultimately depend on the level of education attained, but many graduates will qualify for a wide variety of employment in and related to the field. Some of the top positions pursued after graduation include computer and information systems manager, database administrator, database architect, computer network architect, computer programmer, and computer systems analyst.

Overall job outlook for database administrators and architects in the United States is about average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for these professionals is expected to increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030. This will account for approximately 13,900 job openings in the field each year. Most of these positions will result from current workers retiring or transferring to different positions, but job availability is likely to rise due to growing demand for qualified professionals capable of utilizing data systems for organization and storage purposes. Additionally, it’s probable that positions will become more readily available as businesses begin offering database storage and maintenance services for clients.

Many leading sectors depend on professionals in this field for optimization and success. Professional and business services, for example, is the second largest industry in the state. It accounts for $10.5 billion of revenue each year and leads to a significant number of database administration jobs. Other top industries that are highly dependent upon these professionals include education, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, and finance.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico employed 590 database administrators and 190 database architects in May 2021. The state’s annual mean wages earned by these professionals was $82,300 and $111,780. Both of these are significantly higher than the median annual wage of $45,760 reported for all occupations.

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Database administration degrees can qualify graduates for several different professions, most of which relate somehow to the information technology field. After obtaining the appropriate education, many seek employment as database administrator (DBA) or architect. As previously mentioned, these professionals can find work in a variety of industries, which means responsibilities can vary quite significantly between positions. Every workplace is unique, and employers also set their own expectations. Factors that regularly impact job descriptions include industry type, employer size, and position parameters.

While businesses and organizations of every type may have cause to employ database administrators and architects, most of these professionals work for companies specializing in computer systems design, education services, and insurance. They typically work full-time. The most successful individuals in this field tend to be detail oriented and have good analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Most database administration professionals pursue higher education of some kind. With programs available at the associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral levels, students in New Mexico have numerous options available to them. It’s important to realize, however, that the majority of workers in this field have bachelor’s degrees. All prospective students should research their preferred professions carefully in order to determine how much education is necessary. Depending on job preferences, degrees in computer science or other related fields may also be acceptable.

Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

Associate degrees in database administration typically consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Every program is different, but students can expect to take a mixture of general education and subject-specific classes. Examples of topics commonly covered 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 a good option for those who want to gain entry-level employment in the field as quickly as possible. Prospective students should realize, however, that many jobs require more education and that employers do tend to give preference to candidates with, at a minimum, bachelor’s degrees. Still, graduates at this level can typically apply for positions as database coordinators, programmer analysts, and database analysts. Individuals with prior experience may be able to qualify for additional employment opportunities.

Graduates can also choose to pursue further education. Associate degrees in database administration often help students prepare for success in bachelor’s programs. In many cases, credits earned can be transferred directly to other colleges and universities, drastically decreasing the number of courses needed to earn another degree. While transfer regulations vary, many four-year institutions accept up 60 or 90 credits from properly accredited schools. This can mean incoming students enter as juniors instead of freshmen.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Database Administration (BS)

Online bachelor’s degrees in database administration generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. Curriculum may be similar to that of associate degrees, with both general education and subject-specific topics covered. Students can, however, expect to enroll in more major and elective classes. Instruction typically focuses on the foundational concepts related to information technology, with some emphasis on analysis and design, database management, programming languages, and relevant legal issues. Other common course requirements include Python and Java programming.

It's important to realize that many colleges and universities do not offer degrees that solely focus on database administration. As a result, students typically major in information technology or computer science, and then select database administration as a concentration. Notably, this type of degree is more readily available online.

This type of degree is highly popular with professionals in this field, as it provides the minimum education most employers expect from candidates. Graduates often possess the knowledge and skills needed to be successful as database administrators, database specialists, application developers, and network engineers.

Graduates at this level can also choose to pursue further education. Instead of applying for employment, many enroll in master’s degree programs in database administration, computer science, or a related field. Those interested in this should anticipate needing to meet minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test score standards as set by their institution.

Online Master’s Degree in Database Administration (MS)

Master’s degrees in database administration generally consist of between 30 to 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. Some accelerated programs are available, which may allow students to complete requirements in as little as 12 months. Curriculums vary, but instruction usually centers on key topics relevant to computer science and information systems. Graduate classes are more advanced than those at the undergraduate level and explore core subjects in greater depth.

This type of degree is ideal for individuals who plan to apply for roles in management. They are particularly helpful when trying to gain employment at larger companies and organizations. Earning master’s degrees in database administration can also lead professional promotions, as well as increased pay. Graduates will also enjoy access to some of the best mid-level employment opportunities in the field such as 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 can be completed by full-time students in four to seven years. While a significant portion of these programs involves classroom instruction, students will also spend time collecting, analyzing, and converting data for various science, business, financial, and marketing purposes. It is also standard to conduct extensive independent research before writing and defending dissertations in order to graduate.

This type of degree is best suited for professionals seeking jobs in research and higher education. Some managerial/supervisory jobs may also give preference to doctoral graduates, but it’s important to note that very few information technology jobs actually require this level of education. For this reason, it can be difficult to find programs of this type. Some viable alternatives include majoring in management information systems, information studies, or business administration.

Become a Database Administrator in New Mexico

The first step in becoming a database administration professional in New Mexico is determining which position you are most interested in. Identifying your ultimate career goals will make it easier to find the most appropriate academic program.

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Once you have earned the necessary degree(s), it may be a good idea to pursue one or more additional credentials. There are many certifications available to professionals in the field, which can grant various benefits for recipients. While most employers do not require candidates have additional credentials, many do give preference to job seekers who possess them. This can also lead to more promotion opportunities and higher pay.

Additionally, some companies and organizations do require applicants for highly specialized positions have specific certifications. This is particularly true for jobs that utilize certain products and technologies that necessitate further knowledge and training.

Some of the most prominent credentials offered 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

Careers for Database Administration Graduates

Graduating with a degree in database administration can be the beginning to a successful career in New Mexico. The state offers many employment opportunities for graduates at every level. Those with more advanced degrees, as well as one or more professional certifications, will enjoy the best prospects.

  • Computer Network Architect
    Computer network architects design and maintain computer networks, establishing requirements and capabilities. They often assess system integrity and monitor progress, escalating issues to administrators or supervisors when necessary. 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. They also ensure that software is being used appropriately and take steps to ensure that all data is secure and safe. These professionals may also set user privileges, optimize system performance, and troubleshoot issues that arise. Additionally, database administrators often make sure other employees can access information easily and quickly. According to PayScale, database administrators make an average base salary of $73,350 per year.
  • Data Analyst
    Data analysts examine and evaluate data related to various topics of interest and provide details regarding their assessments. They regularly perform surveys and format the results into simplified charts and online databases. These professionals may also regularly meet with top executives to discuss their research findings. According to PayScale, data analysts make an average base salary of $61,750 per year.
  • Director of Operations
    Directors of operations are responsible for overseeing the productivity of assigned employees. They often define staff goals, track progress, and recommend procedural improvements as needed. These professionals may also make purchases, which regularly requires conducting negotiations with vendors and sellers. According to PayScale, directors of operation make an average base salary of $93,050 per year.
  • Information Technology Manager
    Information technology managers help develop data storage systems and oversee computer infrastructure for their employers. They often assess the overall effectiveness of rules and regulations associated with information technology and notify leadership of any potential issues. These professionals may also supervise other network 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 design advertisement campaigns for the products, product lines, brands, and/or companies they are assigned. This generally entails coordinating and collaborating with other professionals to ensure a smooth execution of plans. These professionals may also pitch new campaign ideas. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,300 per year.
  • Quality Manager
    Quality managers are responsible for ensuring that products meet consumer demands. They often oversee the production process and establish quality control standards, as well as finding ways to correct mistakes, tracking warranties, performing audits, and managing feedback from customers. According to PayScale, quality managers make an average base salary of $82,050 per year.
  • Web Developer
    Web developers write computer code in order to create websites for themselves and their employers. Additionally, they are often tasked with making it easier for other workers to access important databases. These professionals may also write, modify, and debug software to make it simpler to use in the future, as well as address any related issues that arise. According to PayScale, web developers make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.

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