What is Database Administration?
Oregon is a sparsely populated state whose economy is heavily weighted by agricultural products and activities. However, the western part of the state supports an economy that is rich with technology innovators, retail product experts, and booming entertainment & tourism. This diversity results in a state economy that is strong and built to last.
Such an economy is naturally reliant on its databases. Every business in Oregon, whether it's an agricultural supply store in Eastern Oregon or a market consulting firm in downtown Portland, relies on its store of information to drive business forward. These databases need experts who can administrate, design, and protect them. Thus, the state has a strong demand for database experts at all levels and specializations.
A database administrator is an information technology professional who specializes in database technology. There are many specific job descriptions, but database administration experts generally monitor the database on a daily basis. They may also provide permissions so workers in their firm can access certain parts of the database. It's common for database administrators to perform upgrades to the database itself. Sometimes they even build a database from scratch to meet their firm's needs. Thus, database professionals need to understand database coding languages, such as SQL and its many variants.
On a day-to-day basis, database administrators tend to work in office buildings. Their hours can vary since some databases need oversight 24-hours a day. They may also be asked to work on weekends or overnight, especially when major database work is required. However, these days, many database professionals work from home.
Online Database Administration Education in Oregon
To help the state maintain a strong stream of database experts, it encourages its colleges and universities to bolster their IT departments. Oregon's tech-savvy students can find database degree programs at every level, from their community colleges through master’s database degree programs, which offer the best instruction available.
Not only do Oregon's IT departments seek to attract professors and instructors that have the best academic credentials. Since the state is conveniently located between two of the largest tech markets in the nation, Seattle and Silicon Valley, department heads typically find that it's easy to pull in top talent to teach their students. Meanwhile, students have terrific options all over the state.
Oregon's student-aged population also has a tremendous opportunity in the form of the Western Undergraduate Exchange. This program allows Oregon's college-age students to find database degree programs in any participating state. They might choose to venture to the Bay Area or Los Angeles, other students may prefer the rainy city of Seattle. Regardless, if students qualify for the WUE, they can attend public colleges and universities in participating western states at that state's in-state tuition rates.
Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)
A great place to start a career in information technology is an associate database administration degree. Many professionals have launched terrific careers with just their community college diplomas. Those credentials can be a solid foundation for learning more coding languages and earning certificates that can lead to even greater things. Furthermore, an associate database administration degree may be available from an online database degree program in Oregon. The online option allows students to start work in an IT department while learning their trade in their off hours.
An associate database administration degree is also very helpful in that community college credits tend to be far more affordable than those in nearly any four-year database degree program. The associate degree curriculum also includes the core college curriculum that all four-year granting institutions require for graduation. Those core courses can be vital for success in that they help students develop soft skills such as interpersonal and written communication.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Database Administration (BS)
A bachelor's in database administration degree is perhaps the optimal foundation for a successful career in information technology. In four years, students can dive deeper into the topic and do more in-depth work into database development, security, and administration. They can also pursue related interests that may augment their work. For instance, additional coursework in mathematics, computer science, and cyber security may help immensely when it comes time to landing a job.
Bachelor's database administration degree programs may also offer hands-on learning in the form of internships. These experiential learning opportunities allow students to network with industry professionals while learning to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. There are also bachelor's database administration degree programs that support a co-op structure. That is, students will alternate semesters (or quarters) in which they may study or work for an IT firm or department in an Oregon company. Finally, a four-year degree in database administration helps students meet and bond with like-minded people who may become colleagues later on.
Online Master's Degree in Database Administration (MS)
A master’s in database administration degree is a terrific choice that helps students earn more and achieve higher status. An MS in database technology can help students elevate themselves into a managerial position while advancing their knowledge and skill sets to the next level. Some students may actually pursue an MS in computer science that focuses on database technology or the coding languages they need to produce the best databases.
Another option is to earn an MBA with a concentration in database technology. This is a great option since it exposes students to the inner workings of business. For those who are interested in becoming upper-level management or C-suite executives, the MBA may be the preferred route. In fact, those who are dedicated to careers may choose a dual-MBA program in which they complete an MS in their chosen technology field alongside the MBA. A dual-MBA degree program typically takes three years and results in two graduate degrees.
Online PhD Degree in Database Administration (PhD)
The business community typically doesn't seek out workers with a doctorate degree. However, the key exception to this is the technology sector, where academic achievements are highly sought. For those in the database sector, a doctorate that focuses on a special topic such as cyber security, cryptography, or data science might be the best option. While the academic credential isn't always necessary, those who don't hold this status should still continue their education with specialty certificates or independent learning that produces real-world results.
Another benefit of earning a PhD is the ability to teach at the college and graduate levels. Academics might also land a position as research faculty, who don't need to worry with grading papers or evaluating graduate theses. PhDs are also eligible for significant benefits, such as tenure-track positions, which provide long-term, secure employment. Once an academic earns tenure it's unlikely that they will ever need to seek other employment. However, some high-tech PhDs seek out consulting jobs on the side, for added income as well as the interesting challenges they present.
Become a Database Administrator in Oregon
Database administration is a growing and developing field. New technologies are constantly being adopted, and more and more companies are relying on their databases for market or other insights. Since database administration is a part of the overall computer science and information technology field, these jobs tend to pay well, while also offering good job security.
Yet Oregon students might be interested in knowing how they can position themselves for a career in database administration. The somewhat vexing thing is that there are many routes to this career. There are no degrees, licenses, or other credentials that are necessarily required for the job. Yet there are many degrees and other credentials that enable students to land database administration jobs.
In fact, even high school students can begin to prepare for a career in database administration. Though it may not be as exciting as learning the code for video games, students who learn SQL and its variants are putting themselves on track to great success. In fact, if they can earn a certificate in the language, they may be able to do small tasks for local businesses before they earn a full degree. When students find that they can make some good money from their database knowledge, the field may become even more intriguing.
High school students who have the opportunity should enroll in any computer courses their school offers. It can also be valuable to join computer clubs, where they may discover new technologies or simply friends who like talking about code and software. The real momentum starts after high school, though.
Once enrolled in a community college or four-year database administration degree program, students will be prepping for a rewarding career. Even if they have self-taught much of the code, academic work offers a broader perspective on software development and databases in general. On top of that, both an associate and a bachelor's degree will provide instruction in soft skills that will improve vital communication skills, such as writing.
After graduating with a college degree, the work is not over. Though the degree will open the door to entry-level jobs in an IT department, employers love to see employees evolving their skills. Perhaps the best route to this is found by earning a professional certificate, which means added learning and a qualifying examination. These credentials need to be renewed by way of continuing education, so future employers will be impressed when a candidate has held a certificate for multiple renewal cycles.
Careers for Database Administration Graduates
- Administrative/Office Manager:
Office managers need to be very organized and professionals to succeed in their jobs. These days, it can also help to have some in-depth knowledge of database technology or other areas of IT. Having a mastery of database queries, assigning permissions, and other skills will surely attract the attention of small businesses who need an administrative assistant who can multi-task on a high level.
- Information Technology Manager:
This upper-level IT position comes after years of hard work in an IT department. IT managers not only need impeccable skills, but they need a broad base of IT knowledge so that they can supervise workers in areas that aren't necessarily in their wheelhouse. Those desiring this position should consider an MS in database administration or an MBA with an IT concentration.
- Database Administrator (DBA):
A database administrator spends most of their time monitoring their firm's network. Some even work remotely and administrate multiple databases for small businesses who cannot afford a full IT department. The job can entail cyber security issues and also upgrades and improvements. To succeed in this job, workers need a college database administration degree as well as certificates that are directly relevant to their job duties.
- Data Analyst:
This is a rapidly growing field. As the world becomes more and more data-driven, data analysts are needed to help interpret that information. Data analysts may have a background in mathematics or computer science, but they also need expert skills in database administration.
- Computer Network Architects:
Network architects are a vital part of any large organization. This may be even more true given the growing number of remote workers in corporate America. They see that each workstation is connected to the servers, and they may also assign permissions to users depending on the level of database access they need. Network architects need a strong background in IT as well as working knowledge of appropriate coding languages.
- Information Security Analyst:
Cyber-crime is on the rise, and so is demand for cyber security experts. Information security analysts are needed to assess cyber security hardware, software, and other protocols so that their firm's systems remain un-hacked. InfoSec analysts constantly review cyber security systems and seek out new ways to bolster the overall security of the network and its databases.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager:
Employers who seek to fill these jobs are often looking for candidates who not only know the technology but who also understand business. They need managers who can work alongside the other managers who may not fully grasp technological concepts. Thus, information systems managers need not only top tech credentials but strong communication skills, as well.
- Database Security Manager:
Cyber security positions are in high demand. Students who wish to work in database security should look for cyber security degree programs that are accredited as either a CAE, a credential given by the NSA and Homeland Security, or by ABET, a STEM focused agency. Database security personnel should be well versed in cryptography, among other aspects of cyber security.