A degree in information systems can open doors to numerous, high-level career paths for students and graduates, and put individuals on course to compete for in-demand employment opportunities. Some of the potential careers students can explore with the support of an information systems degree include computer network architect, computer systems analyst, software developer, and information systems manager, among others.
In addition, graduates with the skills earned through a program like the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems can consider a career in database administration. As big data and its associated analysis continue to be critical in nearly every industry today, more organizations in a wide array of sectors will require administrators to help organize and maintain advanced database systems.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at the database administrator career path, including what this position entails, potential database administrator salary and employment outlook, as well as how the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems can put students on the right track to excel in this field.
What is a database administrator?
Technology users and intelligent systems across the globe contribute to the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that are created every day, Forbes reports. With so much information available—both from internal tech assets and external sources—it’s no surprise that organizations in every sector are looking to gather, analyze, and leverage results to improve their businesses and their industries.
However, such processes require a strong database as a foundation to enable the different steps involved in big data collection and analysis. This is where database administrators—often called DBAs—come in. They are responsible for the use and maintenance of software-based database programs used to store and organize data.
As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, some of the processes that database administrators undertake include:
- Identifying and addressing needs for the creation and use of a database for information storage
- Supporting the efficient and accurate performance of database programs
- Ensuring that the database system and the data stored therein are kept secure and free from unauthorized access or other compromise
- Maintaining the database, including applying the proper updates and/or security patches in a timely manner to support performance, use, and data protection
- Adjusting database capabilities or usability features and testing these out to enable correct functionality
- Helping the organization make the transition from an older, legacy database program to a more advanced and updated system, including migrating data or merging old databases with new programs
- Backing up and storing database information in a separate system to prevent data loss from a breach, utility outage, or other issue
Overall, DBAs are responsible for nearly all tasks and elements associated with internal database systems. This includes deploying, maintaining, troubleshooting, and more. Their main goal is to support the proper and most beneficial use of the database system for data collection, storage, analysis, and beyond.
Career prerequisites: Skills, training, certification
To pursue a career as a DBA, students must have a deep understanding of not only popular database software solutions, but also the servers and other hardware required to support them. PayScale points out that a DBA will spend a considerable amount of time dealing with the underlying hardware elements, as well as with the front-end database software that users interact with.
In addition to technical expertise related to hardware and software, it is also up to the DBAs to support efficient access to the database while ensuring that stored information remains secure. Because organizations leverage their database systems for sensitive details, including financial information and customer profile data, maintaining secure access and installing other security measures are imperative to the DBA role.
Those looking to pursue a DBA career will need a bachelor’s degree in information systems, making the online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems offered by the University of Alabama at Birmingham an ideal option. The Balance points out that many employers also request that applicants have specialized database administrator certifications related to commonly used database systems. These specialized certifications ensure that professionals have the skills required to work within and properly manage the particular database system a company uses.
Employment and salary outlook
The BLS predicts strong growth for database administrator jobs from 2016 to 2026, forecasting an 11 percent expansion, which is faster than average across all occupations. When one takes into account the pace at which enterprises are looking to leverage their data assets for analysis, and the need for database deployment and management as a prerequisite, it’s no surprise that demand for information systems professionals with these skills is sharply rising.
In addition, the BLS notes that as database-as-a-service offerings—which enable professionals to carry out database management remotely—take off, new opportunities for DBAs will continue to emerge.
Making this potential career path even more attractive is the salary outlook. PayScale finds that while there is a wide range of salaries being paid to DBAs, the median database administrator salary is $72,000 annually, with the higher end of the spectrum reaching $107,000.
How UAB prepares students
Students looking to obtain careers as DBAs must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in information systems. The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems includes several key courses in its curriculum to help students expand their skills related to database management.
For example, IS 301: Introduction to Database Management Systems will teach students about different database models, designs, and their implementation within enterprise settings. In addition, elective course option IS 413: Information Security Management teaches the fundamentals of data protection, key skills for those maintaining and managing advanced database systems.
To find out more about a career as a database administrator, and how a degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham can put you on the right path, check out our website and connect with one of our enrollment advisors today.