A Career in Databases

by Kyle Y
So the quarter is coming to an end and you loved the class. I mean who wouldn’t? The practical uses of databases are endless and the need for people to manage them will only grow. The careers within CIS are among the top 5 growing jobs in the U.S. and this blog will tell you why. As mentioned in many other presentations about 80- 90 percent of data has been created within the last 2 years and database admins are the ones who are responsible for managing and turning that data into useful information. Throughout this post I will discuss how to become an admin, discuss salary, work environment, and its job outlook.

Becoming an administrator requires a bachelor degree in management information systems or a computer related field. Although according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Firms with large databases may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.” This means that companies that have the money to pay higher wages usually require applicants to have a higher degree than bachelors in order to make the big bucks. Database admins should have a solid understanding of structured query language (SQL, just in case you never figured that out during the course) and have to be familiar with a variety of them in order to fit the needs of the company.

 Four to five years ago having a degree in IS was enough to get you a steady job in the industry. With technology advancing and database skills becoming more common you need to be able to set yourself apart from the crowd. How you might ask? Well its simple, get certified! There is a plethora of certifications that can make you better than a competing applicant. I could go on for days about the different certifications, but I narrowed the important ones down to Oracle and Microsoft. If you’re an Oracle person the first level includes becoming an OCA (Oracle Certified Associate) which consists of passing two exams that are 90 minutes long, 70 questions, and you must answer 66% correct. For Microsoft, although not as popular a good stepping stone is obtaining a certification in MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist). The exam is not a multiple choice test, but instead similar to the quizzes we took for CIS 101 where the computer gives you a task and you must perform it in order to prove your competency. The test covers structuring databases, entering data, organizing data, and managing databases. Higher levels for oracle certifications include becoming a certified professional and then later becoming a master. On the Microsoft side you could become a technology associate, solutions associate, and a solutions expert. All these levels of certifications are higher than the ones previously mentioned and are definitely ways to increase your marketability and your salary when you get hired.

As I mentioned earlier database administrators hold the number 5 top growing job in America and it only plans on becoming bigger. The median pay according to CNN Money and The Bureau of Labor and Statistics claim it’s between 77k and 87k a year. In the next 5 years the job is expecting a growth of 15% which is huge to our major. All these past numbers were from 2012 so we are already seeing the increase in demand for our majors in the workforce. With this spike in demand for database administrators their salaries have obviously had to increase since the early 2000s. The graph below shows the mean salaries of the job since 2004. It has gone up a little less than 20k in the past 8 years. The almost 2 k increases in pay will most likely only increase in future years to come.  The highest paid percentile of the job gets paid about 120k a year while the lowest is at about 43k yearly. Finally another interesting fact is that we live close to the highest paid city of San Francisco for database admins followed by Trenton, NJ and Washington, D.C.

Finally, the work environment for admins is pretty standard based on everything I have read. A lot of articles say 40 hours a week with some overtime, but the only catch is that during the latter end of projects closer to the due date you can see a dramatic increase in overtime hours because of last minute problems and bug fixing. Another complaint I have read is that most admins are always on call because at any point in time a server can go down and you would be called in to fix it.

Database Administrators are only one part of information systems and is definitely not the only job you should consider. If you enjoyed the class and you are looking for a stable and growing job in the market a database admin might be a perfect fit for you.

            Works Cited


18 thoughts on “A Career in Databases

  • March 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I want to become a Database manger, and this article helped look at current job out look and also the outlook for the future. I like the amount of money that this being made in the field too, plus the information on the certificates really helped too.

  • March 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Nice to know the different types of Database careers out there and the pays. I guess it’s time to change my emphasis! It was also good to know that certifications are useful in the industry. Very informative presentation with data to back it up.

  • March 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I am also interesting in Database management. This article and presentation in the class were very helpful for me. The information about some certificates were very helpful to me also. I am going to try one of those certificates in this summer. Thank You

  • March 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I was very impressed of your presentation during class. It was very professional and clear. I did not know that career in Database is one of the highest pay in the IT industry. Like the above comments, thank you for reminding us of how useful/important the certificates are. Great job!(I love this Database class too)

  • March 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    This was one of my favorite presentations. It really opened mine and many other students eyes to the opportunities within databases. My favorite fact of the day was that certification is the way to set yourself above the rest but also no just any certifications. Although, its annoying to see my bank account break if I take one of those courses under my own financial support.

  • March 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I really like the different approach that you took, even though it was out of necessity. I think it’s good to know how this class relates to the field and the possible jobs that are out there. Also giving us information on the certifications that will help us stand out will help us reach that goal of employment after graduation. Additionally, the yearly salary information is also very helpful in future planning. Great presentation.

  • March 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for this presentation Kyle! This was one of the most enlightening presentations in this class. The topic you covered really helps in determining possible career paths and choices to take. Also I’m glad you addressed one of the most important topics which was salary. Overall, your article was very well written and informative!

  • March 18, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Pretty good pay considering all you need to do is get the different types of certification for database management. I didnt know that these jobs had these kinds of salaries. Informative presentation and blog post!

  • March 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Being a database manager definitely wasn’t in my sights, but you’ve persuaded me to do some research with your article! With as few people studying this area of work as there are, I definitely think that Information Systems is a great job industry to be in right now, when everything around us is becoming so technologically founded.

  • March 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I’m really glad that you presented on this topic, I was beginning to wonder if anyone would. While I think a career in database administration/management would be amazing (not to mention that it pays quite well), I don’t think this is the career for me. That being said, it was good to hear more information about the career and it seems that a lot of other students are more interested in this career because of you, so, well done!

  • March 18, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I really liked how this presentation focused on what we could do with our new knowledge of databases rather than just expanding on a specific area of this knowledge. It was really practical and it’s interesting and useful to know that there are applicable certifications out there that can help set us apart from others when it comes to applying for jobs. It was also interesting to gain a better understanding about where a career in this particular area could lead. I would have however been interested to know a little bit more about the impact the certifications you listed have on average on a person’s salary.

  • March 20, 2014 at 4:11 am

    This was a very interesting presentation because I have never even thought about pursuing a career in databases. My current CIS 305 class has introduced me to databases and I find the topic very interesting. It has many useful applications especially in the corporate side. I have never even thought about the fact that practically every company has a database which means that there is job security as a database manager.

  • March 20, 2014 at 7:56 am

    This presentation is very useful for a CIS student. As a CIS student, some people do not know or not sure what they want to do after they graduate. This provides a very great guide, and seems database would be a nice career.

  • March 20, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Very informative presentation. Very happy to hear that employment of database administrators is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022 as it is the career path I plan to follow.

  • March 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I always knew that Computer Information Systems was a very in-demand job, but I never knew that Database Administration specifically was that high in demand. Also the starting pay is much higher than I had expected, and will force me to at least think about a career in Database Administration.

  • March 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Very interesting. This article has made me want to explore obtaining certifications, especially in Oracle or even is Microsoft SQL server. Anything that would to become more competitive in an high-demand industry is great.

  • March 20, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I never thought about a career in database. After experiencing SQL in our class, I now understand why careers linked to this are in high demand. Working with databases requires technical skill (as seen by the current certification requirements). Personally, I wouldn’t want to pursue a career in databases, but I’m glad to see that it’s a possibility. Thank you for presenting this.

  • March 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    this topic is interesting even thought i don’t want to become a database specialized and this blog make me become a database specialized and work for one of those big SQL company. thank you for the information for our future database job.

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