According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of database administration is poised to grow by 11% over the next decade. This faster-than-average growth -- coupled with a median annual salary of over $87,000 -- means now is a terrific time to pursue a degree in the field. Database management combines information technology and organizational skills with careful metadata management and security.
Schools, organizations, and large-scale corporations all rely on database managers to maintain productivity and client privacy. As technology improves, companies require more managers on the ground to ensure smooth operations. A bachelor's degree in database management prepares graduates to excel in this expanding field, and make a positive difference in the public or private sectors.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Database Management?
A database management degree is ideal for detail-oriented students interested in technological innovation. Coursework explores relational databases in companies and organizations, as well as cutting-edge technologies promoted by the tech industry to streamline productivity. Students also learn how to design, implement, and improve their own database programs while gaining collaborative skills to meet client needs. Most programs train students in the two most popular software management systems: Oracle and Microsoft's Structured Query Language (SQL).
The field of database maintenance has grown so rapidly that potential students can find online and on-campus programs just about anywhere in the nation. On-campus programs offer a more traditional bachelor's degree experience, with students completing in-person classes and labs that introduce database administration and research.
For students with professional or personal commitments -- such as part- or full-time employment, or childcare or homecare needs -- an online or hybrid program offers the same educational foundations, but with flexible courses that students complete from the comfort of their homes. Courses, assignments, and exams can be completely entirely online or in a hybrid format that blends classroom and online learning.
Whether on campus or online, a database management degree provides substantial networking opportunities between classmates and instructors, internship opportunities, and job search assistance from school career offices and guidance counselors.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Database Management?
Graduates with a database management degree can pursue a variety of careers. For instance, an administrator or information technology systems manager operates, maintains, and protects sensitive information of company or institutional databases. Professionals in computer systems analysis or operations research analysis diagnose technological and organizational issues plaguing productivity. Regardless of the career you choose, these positions all require personal initiative and problem-solving skills. The following list details a few of the many careers open to graduates with a database administrator degree.
- Database Administrator
These professionals act as liaisons between computer systems and company or institutional employees. They update databases and software to ensure the privacy and security of employers and clientele, keep databases and search engines running smoothly, and solve problems with coding and system cleanses to maintain productivity.
Median Annual Salary: $87,020*
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
IT managers coordinate and direct technological upgrades and maintenance company-wide. Chief among their responsibilities is information security and organizational precision, but they may also consider cost-effective technological measures and individual personnel needs across the institution. This position also requires communication with colleagues and high-level management alike.
Median Annual Salary: $139,220*
- Computer Systems Analyst
Analysts stay current with the latest technological innovations. They must know the best software and hardware systems available to meet a client's needs, as well as the best methods of installation and implementation.
Median Annual Salary: $88,270*
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
A critical member of any professional organization or corporation, network administrators maintain the networking brain of the company by preserving standards of hardware and software, initiating upgrades as required, and training colleagues on how to productively interface with the system.
Median Annual Salary: $81,100*
- Operations Research Analyst
These individuals address technological and operational issues across a wide range of professional fields, including healthcare, business, school systems, federal and local government. They use statistical analysis software to project trends, hypothesize solutions, and demonstrate long-term effects. Analysts often work one-on-one with clients to achieve the best resolutions.
Median Annual Salary: $81,390*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Bachelor's Program in Database Management
Before you settle on a specific program or degree path, be sure to consider your lifestyle and career objectives. You should also review a program's length, potential degree specializations, and the overall cost of earning your degree.
A bachelor's degree takes an average of four years to complete and includes foundational courses in literature, science, mathematics, and history, along with major coursework in database management. Students can expedite their experience and complete the degree in as little as three years by taking on larger course loads (5-6 courses per term, for example, rather than the typical four). Of course, personal and professional time commitments may impact the speed at which a student completes a program. For students with part- or full-time jobs, an online or hybrid program provides increased scheduling flexibility to stay on track.
Given the variety of professions available to those with a degree in database management, school programs offer many specialized courses to shape a student's skillbase. Look carefully at the current course lists of your prospective school to ensure it offers the training you need to prepare for your intended career.
The financial realities of your degree are also just as important to keep in mind. Though on-campus and online degree programs typically cost the same amount, in-state programs tend to cost about half as much per term as out-of-state options. Consider your financial resources and limitations as you search for the ideal bachelor's program.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's Programs in Database Management
It is important to that any institution you attend is accredited. Accreditation is a seal of approval that indicates a program meets curricular standards recognized nationwide. With a diploma from an accredited school, your colleagues and employers will know the quality of your education.
All public institutions are accredited by regional accreditation bodies sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). For example, the Higher Learning Commission monitors schools in the central northern midwest, while the New England Association of Schools and Colleges covers institutions in the Northeast. To find out if your potential school is accredited, check out the ED's database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.
Bachelor's in Database Management Program Admissions
Once you decide to apply for a database management program, the next step is to prepare application materials. For students interested in an on-campus experience, applications are fairly straightforward and are usually submitted through the Common App. This application allows students to complete one application that is then sent to multiple schools, thus saving you time and increasing your number of possible schools. Online programs, by contrast, usually expect more detailed and personalized applications because the student body is entirely virtual. Check out your potential online programs for specific details.
Regardless of the type of program you choose, you will need to submit a complete application. The following prerequisites and admission materials are typical components to any program application. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to collect required materials; typically, students submit applications in the fall or winter in the year before the student's projected start date.
- Minimum GPA: Colleges and universities often require a minimum high school GPA of 2.3-2.5, though programs generally respond better to 3.0 GPAs or higher. If your grades are not as strong as you would like, consider taking courses relevant to database management or technology, or transferable classes at a local community college to demonstrate your capabilities.
- Application: All schools require a complete application, which details your general background, current contact information, and educational interests. If you plan to apply to four or more schools, consider completing a Common App to supply application materials to multiple schools at one time.
- Transcripts: A high school transcript details your final grades and general progress prior to your undergraduate education. Transcripts must be sent directly from your high school to each college to which you are applying. Note that a small processing fee for each request may apply.
- Letters of Recommendation: A letter of recommendation provides the human story behind the numbers on a transcript by conveying your interests, extracurricular activities, and personal skills. Students most commonly ask high school teachers to provide letters of support, though coaches, volunteer managers, and employers can also supply letters. Be sure to give your references at least one month to submit letters on your behalf.
- Test Scores: Colleges usually mandate scores from SAT or ACT exam, which gauge your general knowledge of literature, composition, and mathematics. For students with English as a second language, you may need to pass the TOEFL exam to prove your English aptitude (passing score minimums vary by institution).
- Application Fee: The application fee covers the cost of reviewing your application materials. In some cases, students can claim financial hardship and waive this fee. Check out your school's specific financial assistance options for details.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's Program in Database Management?
With so many digital languages and architectural technologies in operation, a database management degree can be tailored to your personal career objectives. Additionally, available courses depend on the institution and particular program. The following section explains some of the many concentrations offered in database management programs.
|Database Management||Students gain experience in leadership and software architectural languages. They also learn to help colleagues and employers access sensitive company database materials, and use metadata effectively.||Database administrator, clinical data manager, computer and information systems manager|
|Statistics||Students in this area operate, populate, and process statistical software. They explore probabilities, causation, and regression, as well as hypothesize and execute surveys to better comprehend statistical probability.||Computer systems analyst, network and computer systems administrator, operations research analyst|
|Business Data Analytics||Industry standards of information technology are the foundations of the field of database management. This course area focuses on information systems (IS), systems development, and business continuity.||Information security analyst, software developer, computer support specialist|
|Web Development||Learners study languages of web development (HTML, CSS), and create their own interactive platforms. Developers innovate pre-existing websites, and create new spaces to increase customer visibility.||Web developer, graphic designer, computer programmer|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Database Management Program
Database management degree programs offer a variety of coursework to introduce students to the many technological languages and architectural frameworks in current database development. Additionally, you can specialize your degree to focus on areas of personal interest, such as web development, information security systems, or project management. The following list details just a few of the common courses offered in a bachelor's in database management.
- Introduction to Information Systems
Students survey the many current information systems in companies and organizations, such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL. They also earn how the technological architecture of information systems shapes modern companies, and the potential opportunities and challenges facing digital managers today.
- Data Analysis
This course explores the fundamentals of exploratory data analysis by examining data sets to identify underlying organizational structures and discover hidden issues. Students also gameplan statistical methods and troubleshooting tests, and project probabilities in order to grasp the central objective of database management.
- Information Security Management
Learners review the foundations of computer networks (such as LAN, WLAN, VAN) and communication protocols, and learn the vulnerabilities of networks in order to patch and protect sensitive data. The course also covers standard policy procedures for information security, and various levels of management administration.
- Website Development
This course introduces the basics of web design in HTML and CSS. They review and emulate existing websites, and build innovations through coding to create increasingly interactive platforms. As more companies rely on online platforms to increase visibility, web development is an important skill for any digital manager.
- Project Management
In this course, students initiate, plan, monitor, and control ongoing multi-layered projects in a hypothetical corporation or institution. Risk management, productivity analysis, and troubleshooting diagnostics facilitate project success, and build student confidence and leadership skills. Regular project reporting and updates also instill communicative fundamentals.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Database Management?
The length of time it takes to complete a bachelor's degree in database management depends on multiple factors. A traditional bachelor's degree takes approximately four years to complete, though students who would like to expedite their degree can take more than the typical class load per term. For example, degree-seekers can take 5-6 classes per term -- rather than the usual 3-4 -- and complete the their degree in as little as three years. For students juggling professional or personal responsibilities, an online or hybrid program offers more flexibility, and lets them complete coursework when it best fits their schedules. It is important to remember, however, that a longer enrollment translates into higher tuition costs overall.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Database Management?
The cost of a bachelor's degree is a concern for just about every student. On average, in-state institutions offer more economical programs than those out-of-state, which typically cost twice as much as local options. Currently, in-state tuition at a public institution runs between $4,000-$6,000 per term, while out-of-state options cost $8,000-$12,000 each term. Online programs may also wave out-of-state tuition fees to encourage nationwide enrollment. On-campus room and board may run an additional $6,000-$8,000 each term, but students can save money with off-campus housing by sharing apartments or living at home.
Be sure to explore any hidden costs associated with your program. Regardless of whether you are enrolled on campus or online, software licensing costs and computer programs will be a necessary investment for any database management degree. Many programs also prepare graduates to sit for certification exams in relevant software technologies. Each exam costs money for preparatory coursework and exam review. See the following section for examples of typical exams and related fees.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Database Management Prepares For
- SQL Server Certification (Microsoft)
Though not a required certification, passing a specialized course in the Microsoft SQL server language will set you apart from colleagues with a general bachelor's degree. This professional credential qualifies you to enter directly into IT positions in companies and businesses operating with SQL. Currently, Microsoft charges $165 to enroll for SQL exams.
- Cognos Certification (IBM)
Like SQL training, Cognos certification is the IBM system equivalent that prepares graduates to work with the Cognos system. Validate your skills with this multi-level form of certification and recertification promoted and maintained by IBM. The fee is between $100-$200 per exam.
- Oracle Database Certification
Prized as an internationally recognized certification, Oracle University trains participants to work within complex technological architectural structures. Students also learn to manage and troubleshoot ongoing issues both expediently and cost-effectively. This international specialty certification can boost your job prospects and income potential. Oracle charges between $125-$245 per exam.
Resources for Database Management Students
Designed to introduce professionals to Microsoft SQL products and increase awareness of SQL innovations, MySQL unites product training and implementation with ongoing consumer research and feedback. Students can also access platforms to express issues and propose solutions.
For professionals looking for alternatives to the Microsoft platform, NoSQL provides web developers with different technological frameworks. Working primarily with document databases and data storage, this resource opens users to different opportunities in the field.
An SQL software troubleshooting website, this collaborative resource offers blog posts and queries on common and specific SQL language issues. As an open source project, Apache Drive brings professionals together to collaboratively solve software issues.
IBM's platform for certification and software support offers useful information on exams across the field. This program is accredited by the Information Technology Certification Council.
As a popular provider of certification and resources, Oracle University provides useful training courses and troubleshooting blogs, as well as software downloads to prepare individuals to sit for the Oracle database certification exams.
Professional Organizations in Database Management
Database management degrees rely on several online resources to stay up to date on the latest technological innovations. The following list details just a few of the multiple professional organizations that rely upon database management input. Members of a professional association build their network, access career services and job search engines, and present their own research or management innovations. Whether a student or a full-time professional, organization members are continuously updated on technological innovations.