This page introduces key aspects of earning a database management degree online. Below, you can learn about admission requirements and accrediting agencies for database management programs. This guide also describes common courses, typical curriculum, and popular focus areas in database management programs. In addition, you can explore popular career paths and salary expectations for database management graduates.
Online database management programs attract many types of students, especially those looking to earn a flexible, IT-focused degree. Our comprehensive overview will help you pick a top school and decide whether an online database management degree is right for you.
Overview of Database Management Degrees
The database management field, sometimes called database administration, involves the storage, organization, and protection of data and information. Organizations use databases to store sensitive financial information, medical records, employee files, and other crucial data. Database administrators and managers maintain these systems while working to secure, organize, and back up information. They also regulate access to a database, making sure only authorized employees can obtain classified information. Attending database management programs online prepares students with the essential programming, data analysis, and problem-solving skills they need to enter the exciting database management field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database management degree graduates will see growth in job opportunities in the coming years. BLS projects an 11% increase in jobs for database administrators from 2016 to 2026, leading to nearly 14,000 new positions. BLS attributes this growth to to an increased need for big data and cloud computing across many sectors of the economy. In addition, information security analysts will experience a 28% growth rate over the same period, resulting in over 28,000 new jobs.
To apply for bachelor's programs in database management, prospective students need to submit several key materials. The application process for database management programs resembles the process for other types of undergraduate degrees.
Most colleges require official transcripts so they can assess an applicant's academic standing and potential. Students can obtain transcripts from their high schools for a small fee. Applicants looking to transfer credits from previous college coursework need to submit college transcripts. Each university expects different high school or college grades, and minimum GPA requirements usually range from 2.0 to 3.5. Additionally, most colleges require SAT or ACT scores.
Many schools require additional materials to consider each applicant's personality and interests. Applicants may need to submit letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, or supervisors. In addition, they might need to write a short essay or personal statement. Some colleges require applicants to sit for an interview with a student, alum, or admissions officer. Applicants can also expect to pay an application fee, which typically ranges from $40-$100.
What Will I Learn?
Database management programs explore various concepts and principles that apply to many professions. Students often explore mathematics topics including linear algebra, calculus, and statistics. They also learn about the fundamentals of computing, coding, and operating systems. Since database management relates closely to information technology, many programs cover areas like networking, web development, technical communication, and software engineering. In their data-specific coursework, students explore concepts of database design and data analytics. Some database management programs also introduce business-oriented topics like electronic commerce, business technologies, and business intelligence.
Undergraduate programs in database management typically require between 120 and 130 credits. Students take 40-50 credits of major-specific courses and earn the rest of their credits through electives and general education classes. Below, you can explore common courses found in database management programs. Though specific titles and course offerings vary by school, these sample courses provide a general overview of what to expect in a database management curriculum.
Introduction to Information Systems
This survey course introduces the business applications of information systems. Students explore emerging technologies and study both the challenges and opportunities that new tools present. They also examine the overall role of information technology in an organization and learn about subdisciplines like security, networking, and scripting.
Big Data Analytics
This course teaches students to analyze large sets of data in order to make predictions and develop theories. Students explore many applications of data analysis, including climate modeling, healthcare, social media analysis, and biology. The course also covers machine learning, data mining, and other major statistical methods.
A strong knowledge of machine learning and artificial intelligence can prove essential for data analysts, database managers, and computer scientists. Machine learning courses teach students methods for analyzing data sets through machine learning tools. Students become familiar with common machine learning algorithms, and they learn to evaluate algorithms for their effectiveness.
Database Management and Design
This course covers the basics of electronic database management systems. Students learn about database structure, types of information, and popular database platforms. They also explore the roles and responsibilities of database managers, administrators, and other IT professionals. Students gain experience writing commands in Structured Query Language.
Data analytics and database management professionals greatly benefit from a strong knowledge of data visualization methods. In this course, students explore techniques for visually representing data and insights. The course covers design basics, color theory, human perception, and visual storytelling. Students also learn about popular data visualization tools.
Introduction to Programming
Many database management programs, especially those housed within computer science degrees, include programming courses. These courses prepare students to work with databases by teaching them the basic principles of programming. Students explore fundamental principles like logic and flow charting, and they learn to use programming languages including C++ and Java.
What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor's Degree in Database Management?
Below, you can learn more about what to expect after earning your database management degree online. The following sections discuss common learning outcomes and career expectations for database management graduates. These sections also discuss some fundamental abilities that database management students gain through their coursework. Then you can explore how these skills ready students for careers in database administration, data analytics, and information technology.
Database management programs foster valuable critical thinking and problem-solving skills that apply to various IT-related jobs and positions outside the field. They learn to program basic applications using languages like C++, C#, Java, and HTML. Students also examine more advanced programming areas like artificial intelligence and coding for mobile devices. Through coursework in technical communication, students learn to effectively convey complex concepts both orally and in written form.
In addition, database management students gain specialized skills related directly to database administration, data security, and data analysis. They receive hands-on experience with popular data management platforms and often gain the skills needed to earn credentials from industry leaders like Oracle. Students devote a considerable amount of time to learning Structured Query Language, which is a language that database specialists use to communicate with a system. Many programs also incorporate data analysis into the curriculum. Students learn to analyze extensive data sets and draw conclusions. They also explore methods for presenting their findings through charts, graphs, maps, and other visual aids.
Potential Careers & Salaries
Database management programs ready students for a variety of technology-related professions. Due to a broad reliance on information systems, database management graduates can work in many settings. Graduates can apply their skills toward work in the government, nonprofit, or private sectors. Likewise, they may choose to work for a small startup or a multinational corporation.
Graduates of bachelor's programs or online database management certificate programs can find work as database administrators who organize and maintain important data. They can also pursue a job in the data science space, where they may analyze large sets of data and generate insights for upper management. Graduates might decide to pursue a specialized field such as information security or geographic information systems. Below, you can explore common roles, duties, and salaries for database management degree holders.
Annual Mean Salary: $53,048
Implementation specialists work in software and hardware companies. They install and customize hardware and software systems for clients. These professionals determine a client's needs, add features, and train users. They then monitor the systems and address any questions or technical concerns.
Information Security Engineer
Annual Mean Salary: $92,076
Information security engineers protect an organization's networks, systems, and data. They install firewalls, data encryption programs, and other tools to secure sensitive information and protect a company from hackers. They also monitor their organization's systems and perform regular tests.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst
Annual Mean Salary: $52,770
GIS analysts process large data sets and transform them into graphics, charts, and maps. GIS analysts need a strong knowledge of industry-specific tools such as ArcGis. They also benefit from a basic knowledge of Python and HTML coding languages.
Business Objects Administrator
Annual Mean Salary: $98,044
These information technology professionals oversee an organization's use of the BusinessObjects data management platform. They monitor servers, enhance performance, and regularly back up information. They also regulate access to the system and field questions from users.
Oracle Database Administrator (DBA)
Annual Mean Salary: $91,943
Oracle DBAs manage their organization's Oracle servers. They upgrade the server and applications, allocate storage, and monitor user access to the database. Oracle DBAs also schedule backups and ensure system security. They often share responsibilities with a team of administrators.
Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Database Management?
A bachelor's degree prepares graduates for many entry-level jobs, but students interested in more advanced roles should consider earning a graduate degree. Many upper-level IT managers hold master's degrees in business, information systems, or software engineering. A graduate education can also help young professionals enter specialized IT areas, such as cybersecurity or information assurance. In addition, database management graduates looking to teach at the college level usually need a doctorate in the field. Bachelor's degree holders might consider pursuing a degree in computer science, information technology, or computer engineering to land a teaching position.
Bachelor's degree holders, however, can still advance in the profession without earning a higher degree. Through industry certification programs, database management professionals can demonstrate proficiency in a particular area and earn promotions. Certification can also help IT professionals enter a new line of work. For instance, applying for certification in networking can open up new job opportunities.
Accreditation for Database Management Bachelor's Programs
Be sure to consider accreditation status when choosing an online database management bachelor's program. Accreditation signifies that a school meets high academic standards, but the benefits of attending an accredited school go beyond academics. The U.S. government only offers financial aid to students attending accredited institutions. Many private scholarships and grant programs also require candidates to enroll in an accredited school. In addition, enrolling at an accredited college makes it easier to transfer schools and apply to graduate programs.
Research any programs that hold accreditation from a technology-specific accrediting body such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Not all programs hold subject-specific designations. You should also make sure that any school you apply to holds institutional accreditation from a national or regional accrediting organization. Accrediting bodies include the Higher Learning Commission and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Database Management Professional Organizations
Professional organizations offer valuable resources to database management students and recent graduates. In terms of career development, professional associations offer resume assistance, job boards, and industry certifications. In addition, early-career professionals can attend networking conferences to make connections and get advice from seasoned database managers. Professional associations help members stay up-to-date with the field through journals, magazines, and academic studies. Many professional organizations also provide scholarships that can make database management programs significantly more affordable.
DAMA supports database management professionals through a central organization and local chapters. Members can make use of the organization's dictionary of data management terms, workshops, and other member resources. Members also receive discounts on certain training programs, books, and industry conferences.
CompTIA Association of Information Technology Professionals
CompTIA AITP provides industry news, networking opportunities, and continuing education to IT workers. Members can build their careers through an IT-specific job search site, soft skills training seminars, and local networking events. The association also provides IT research reports and discounts on industry certifications.
IEEE Computer Society
The IEEE Computer Society serves more than 60,000 technology professionals including IT specialists, software engineers, researchers, and educators. The association offers trade magazines and online continuing education courses. Additionally, members can take advantage of more than 200 technical conferences and 17 scholarly journals.