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What is Database Administration?

Are you considering pursuing a database administration degree in Texas? This is a good major for those who are interested in information and technology, but it’s particularly relevant to anyone planning to seek employment in the field. Some of the top positions available to graduates include computer and information systems manager, database administrator, database architect, computer network architect, computer programmer, and computer systems analyst. Notably, the knowledge and skills obtained during database administration degree programs can be applied to almost any industry as the majority of companies and organizations utilize information technology professionals to some extent. Opportunities do, however, vary depending on the level of higher education achieved. Those best suited for degrees of this type often possess some knowledge of computers prior to applying, but this is not necessary for admittance.

While graduates can choose from many different careers, many seek employment as database administrators (DBAs) or database architects. Database administrators typically create and/or organize systems that store and protect potentially sensitive data. This may include, but is not limited to, financial information, medical records, and customer shipping receipts. These professionals become proficient with data loss prevention and restoration programs and procedures to minimize potential issues for their employers. They are also likely to perform modification testing and database permissions updates, as well as monitoring database operations and providing technical support when issues arise. Additionally, database administrations may be tasked with ensuring authorized personnel have easy and secure access to stored data.

It’s common for database administrators to specialize in a sub-field. Examples include application database administration and system database administration, which both require the use of particular knowledge and skills. Application database administrators often work exclusively with databases for specific applications, managing all related applications, writing programs, and debugging any 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.

Database administrators and architects are capable of finding jobs in almost any industry, but most are employed by companies and organizations that specialize in computer systems design, education services, and insurance. Work schedules are fairly standard for full-time employees, although travel between multiple locations may be necessary. In general, those best suited for this profession are highly detail oriented and analytical, with well-developed communication and problem-solving skills.

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Online Database Administration Education in Texas

While there are many possible career options available to graduates, many pursue employment as database administrators and architects. The overall job outlook for these professions is slightly better than average in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job availability for professionals in this field is expected to increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average projection for all occupations in the nation. This will account for approximately 11,500 job openings each year. The majority of openings are likely to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different jobs or retire. Growth will also be driven by companies and organizations in nearly all sectors continuing to depend on data organization and analysis.

There are numerous colleges and universities located in Texas, many of which offer database administration as a major. While some prospective students may be tempted to enroll in online programs hosted elsewhere, there are several compelling reasons to give priority to local academic institutions. For one, these schools often provide more targeted curriculums that take into consideration the needs and expectations of employers throughout the region. They also work hard to establish and maintain cooperative relationships with prominent businesses and organizations in the area, which can make obtaining internships and professional employment easier.

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An online degree in database administration can qualify graduates for a wide variety of jobs related to information technology. Companies and organizations in almost every industry utilize professionals with expertise in this area, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what the profession entails. Requirements and responsibilities can vary drastically between jobs that even share the same title. This is because every workplace is unique, with employer size, purpose, and values often heavily impacting employment descriptions. As a result, those interested in this field should always review postings carefully before applying.

It’s common for database administrators to possess some amount of higher education from an online college or a traditional campus college. There are many colleges and universities in Texas that offer this major, with programs available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Some academic institutions also have relevant undergraduate and graduate certificates, which can take less time to complete but may not meet education requirements for all professions.

Identifying your career goals early can help you determine which type of degree is most appropriate. It’s always a good idea to research your intended profession carefully prior to enrolling in any particular program. Additionally, depending on your job preferences, it may be beneficial to opt for programs in computer science or other related fields instead.

While there are many academic options available, most database administration professionals will require, at minimum, bachelor’s degrees. In general, this is the academic standard for the field and what most employers expect when reviewing applications.

Online Associate Degree in Database Administration (AS)

Online associate degrees in database administration typically consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately two years to complete. As undergraduate degrees, they are usually comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. Students can expect to gain a strong foundation for future higher education as well as a broad overview of the field. Curriculums vary, but instruction is likely to cover the various methods of assessing, organizing, and storing information in database servers. Those enrolled may also learn about database theory, server platforms configuration, Linux, networking concepts, and basic computer repair.

This type of degree is ideal for those who do not want to commit the time or money to a traditional four-year program but would like to begin working professionally as soon as possible. While most jobs related to database administration require either bachelor’s or master’s degrees, graduates with associate degrees can still qualify for some entry-level jobs. Some examples of employment that might be available include database coordinator, programmer analyst, and database analyst.

Alternatively, associate degrees in database administration can serve as excellent foundations for future learning. Graduates often have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed academically at the bachelor’s level. It’s also important to note that many colleges and universities accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions, allowing those with associate degrees to enter with some requirements already completed. Most schools allow students to transfer in between 60 and 90 credit hours, which is the difference between entering as a freshman and a junior.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Database Administration (BS)

Online bachelor’s degrees in database administration and related fields generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. As undergraduate degrees, they are usually comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. Students should expect to receive a more expansive exploration of the field, with opportunities to specialize in certain topics if desired. While curriculums vary, instruction often focuses on the foundational concepts related to information technology, as well as analysis and design, database management, programming languages, and relevant legal issues. Some institutions may also teach Python and Java programming.

Prospective online students must be aware that a limited number of colleges and universities actually offer degrees in database administration. Many institutions require enrollment in an information technology or computer science program, but allow database administration to be added as a concentration. Notably, online database administration degrees are much more readily available.

This type of online degree is ideal for those seeking entry- to mid-level database administration jobs. The mass majority of professionals in this field possess, at minimum, bachelor’s degrees. Graduates typically have the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in many workplaces, making them qualified to apply for jobs as database administrators, database specialists, application developers, and network engineers.

Alternatively, graduates can continue their education by enrolling in graduate school programs. Many colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in database administration, computer science, and related fields. Those interested in this level of higher education should, however, anticipate meeting the minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test score standards set by their institutions.

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

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. Accelerated options do exist, which may take far less time to finish, though these programs may make it difficult or impossible to work while you finish your education. As graduate degrees, they no longer require general liberal arts classes, although some do have established prerequisites that must be met prior to admittance. Instead, programs at this level focus solely on major content. Students can expect to receive instruction on topics highly relevant to computer science and information systems. Coursework is also far more advanced.

This type of degree is ideal for those seeking management and supervisory roles in the field, especially at larger companies and organizations. Graduates are often considered highly qualified and, as such, typically enjoy more promotion opportunities and higher pay. Some of the most prominent jobs available to those with this level of education include network administrator, computer and information systems manager, computer network architect, and computer systems analyst.

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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. As graduate degrees, they continue to focus solely on important, major-specific topics. Students can typically expect to receive traditional instruction for the first few years of study as they learn to collect, analyze, and convert data for various scientific, business, financial, and marketing purposes. Later, those enrolled are likely to perform independent research and writing that culminates in the defense of dissertations before academic boards in order to graduate.

This type of online degree is most appropriate for those interested in jobs in research and higher education. While most professions in the field do not require doctorates, high-level researchers and colleges professors do. It’s important to note, however, that very few institutions offer database administration doctoral degrees. Instead, prospective students may benefit from studying management information systems, information studies, and business administration.

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Become a Database Administrator in Texas

Becoming a database administration professional in Texas starts with identifying your ultimate career goals. With many career options available, it’s important to determine which profession(s) interest you the most. Once you know which type of job you are pursuing, it becomes much easier to select an appropriate academic program. This ensures you complete the necessary education, training, and work experience.

However, a degree in database administration is not recommended for all information technology professions. For some occupations, computer science may be the better option. This is yet another reason why it is so important to determine your employment preferences early.

Once you have completed the necessary education requirements, you will have the option to pursue various professional certifications. While not always required by employers, possessing one or more related credentials can be beneficial. Certifications can make you more competitive when applying for jobs, may qualify you for promotions, and can lead to higher pay.

Some of the most prominent options in the field 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

Those who possess degrees in database administration will have many employment opportunities in Texas. Notably, job titles, responsibilities, and pay will vary based on education level, with graduates with more advanced degrees and at least one certification experiencing the best prospects. Some of the most common career options in the state include the following.

  • Computer Network Architect
    Computer network architects design and maintain computer networks, assessing system integrity and monitoring progress. They are generally responsible for establishing network requirements and capabilities, as well as testing, introducing, and observing the implementation of new technology. These professionals may also escalate issues to administrators or supervisors when necessary. 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 are often responsible for ensuring that all data is secured and that software is utilized correctly by others. These professionals also optimize system performance, troubleshoot issues as they arise, and set user privileges so that workers have access to any necessary information. According to PayScale, database administrators make an average base salary of $73,350 per year.
  • Data Analyst
    Data analysts conduct data assessments, examining and evaluating the results before developing detailed reports for their employers. The surveys performed are often extensive and the findings complex. These professionals are also responsible for formatting information into simplified charts and online databases for others. According to PayScale, data analysts make an average base salary of $61,750 per year.

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  • Director of Operations
    Directors of operations oversee employee productivity in an assigned area. They are often responsible for defining staff goals, tracking progress, and recommending procedural improvements as needed. These professionals may also conduct negotiations with vendors and sellers when making company purchases. According to PayScale, directors of operation make an average base salary of $93,050 per year.
  • Information Technology Manager
    Information technology managers oversee computer infrastructures by helping to develop efficient data storage systems. They are often responsible for assessing the effectiveness of various information technology rules and regulations, providing feedback to leadership when issues arise. Additionally, it’s common for information technology managers to supervise other network and security specialists. According to PayScale, information technology managers make an average base salary of $88,950 per year.
  • Marketing Manager
    Marketing managers design and implement advertisement campaigns for products, product lines, brands, and/or entire companies. They are often responsible for coordinating all associated details and plans, working closely with other professionals involved in the process. In addition to ensuring campaigns are executed correctly, these professionals also regularly pitch new project ideas to leadership. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,300 per year.
  • Quality Manager
    Quality managers ensure products meet consumer demands by establishing quality control standards and overseeing the production process. They are typically responsible for creating procedures for correcting mistakes, tracking warranties, performing audits, and managing customer feedback. According to PayScale, quality managers make an average base salary of $82,050 per year.
  • Web Developer
    Web developers use computer code to create and manage websites for employers. They are often responsible for making the end results easier to use by writing, modifying, and debugging related software. These professionals may also address issues find ways to ensure other employees have easy access to certain databases. According to PayScale, web developers make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.

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