Database administration programs prepare people to create and manage databases. Students learn to design and construct specific types of databases. They also learn how to link groups of related data into a searchable format.
It's no newsflash that many everyday tasks can now be done online. You can check your bank account, see if that book is in at the library, or even buy groceries. With the click of a mouse, you can pay bills, reserve the book, and schedule delivery of milk, bread, and eggs. It all seems so simple. When everything is working well, it usually is. But there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Your bank, library, and online grocery store (among others) must make all the information available to you on the web. This usually means that they must create and manage very large databases. These databases contain information from product pictures to inventory to your address. And of course, someone has to create and oversee the database in the first place. Enter database administrators.
Database administrators are people who manage databases, data storage, and data retrieval networks and systems. They make sure that the links among computers, information, servers, and people are working properly.
Programs in database administration are usually offered through community colleges, technical institutes, or vocational schools. Some programs are offered through online courses or proprietary schools. These programs vary in length from a few weeks to a year or more. However, most programs last one year. In most cases, you receive a certificate or an associate degree.
Database administration is often a concentration within a larger information technology or computer science program. Very few colleges and universities offer four-year programs in database administration. As the demand for database technology grows, this may become more common.
Your courses will concentrate on the specific databases and networks you wish to specialize in. You study how to design original databases or work with existing, or "legacy", databases. You learn to troubleshoot database and network setups. This means you learn how to test them for errors before they go live. You also learn how to use "structured query language," or SQL. This allows you to get specific information and run reports. You learn other basic programming languages, including HTML. This allows you to incorporate Internet technology into databases. In addition, you learn how to run data backups and recovery. You also learn how to keep databases running, safe from hackers, and how to fix them when problems arise.
Depending on your interests, you can concentrate on Internet applications, data security, or data storage. For example, you can focus on e-commerce systems for companies that use the Internet to sell products or services. This could mean that you would develop a database of images, prices, and product descriptions accessible to web site visitors.
It's also possible to specialize in a specific type of database or area of database administration by becoming certified. Because technology is constantly changing, many professionals opt for this route after they have received their degree in the field. Specialized certificate programs in database administration are usually offered through community colleges, technical institutes, or vocational schools. Some programs are offered through online courses or proprietary schools. These programs vary in length from a few weeks to a year or more. Like regular database administration programs, your courses will concentrate on the specific databases and networks you wish to specialize in. Common certifications are for IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Prosoft, and Sybase.
Most people with a degree or certificate in database administration work as – you guessed it – database administrators. You can also work as a database programmer, designer, or security administrator. Overall, you can work anywhere databases are used, from local businesses to large corporations. You can work for banks, catalog retail companies, software developers, nonprofit groups – the possibilities are endless.