What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Database Management?

Database managers design, build and administer the information systems that control computerized data. Businesses in a wide array of sectors rely on databases and skilled database managers schooled in the latest tools and technologies to provide the solutions they need to thrive. An online master’s in database management provides the skills you need in data and information management to effectively pursue upper-level and managerial roles and align yourself for long-term career success as an expert in the field. A master’s program in database management offered completely online offers a convenient, flexible way to balance full-time employment with pursuit of your advanced education. To ensure the program matches your career goals, compare concentrations, curriculum and other course requirements.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Database Management

Database management is often a concentration within an online computer science, data science, information management or information systems master’s degree program. When database management is offered as its own master’s program, some programs offer concentrations similar to those offered in other computer science programs.

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION
Information Systems Security Focuses on the required technical skills to analyze security needs, navigate cybersecurity challenges and provide effective solutions. Information system security officer, information technology specialist, information security analyst, information assurance officer
Software Design and Programming Build skills in generating program code, creating database queries and designing and developing web-based applications and software for traditional client-server and contemporary cloud-based architectures. Programming manager, software developer, software development manager, software design architect
Telecommunications Technology Explore wireless data with insight into the leading standards and protocols and next generation technologies. Telecommunications specialist, IT manager, chief technology officer
Technology Management Provides knowledge and leadership skills you need to manage your team, department or technical organization. Technology manager, project manager, chief technology officer
Survey Methods Examine statistical analysis needed to understand big data, including using technology to frame questions, make interferences and extract data using advanced quantitative research methods. Data analyst, political data analyst
Social Networks Cover how social networks operate and how they’re shaping the ways people consume and disseminate information. Social database administrators

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Database Management

Programs for the master’s in database management vary by school and program. Some programs emphasize data management, others emphasize design or application development and still others emphasize software design. However, most programs include essential courses in data warehousing, data mining, data analytics and database architecture. Many programs require a capstone or research project to finish your degree. While every program is unique, expect fundamental classes in database design and management with core courses similar to the ones listed below.

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Database Administration Covers the primary roles, responsibilities, knowledge and skills needed to function as a database manager, including a focus on dominant global database platforms like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.
Database Design and Implementation Focus on the conceptual and physical phases of database design and development, concepts of database integrity, security schemes and emerging data warehouse technologies.
Data Warehousing Design Learn to build a viable decision-support environment by using various data warehouse concepts, including partitioning, metadata, data mitigation and integrations and methods for linking data sets to create complex searchable databases.
Data Mining Explore automated analytical search tools to detect patterns in large data sets with a focus on various data mining concepts and techniques.
Database Programming Students are equipped with procedural languages needed for programming in large-scale relational databases.
Information Security Management Examine managing security-related risk and risk mitigation applied to information systems analysis, design and operations.
Database Management Systems Review the principles and internal workings of database management systems.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Database Management?

Many programs require as little as 36-credit hours, but some require 50 or more. You may be able to shorten your degree completion time if you have eligible transfer credits to decrease the number of credit hours you need to graduate. Some schools even allow you to use credits obtained through a database-related certificate program to cancel out required hours or may waive introductory courses for passing graduate assessment exams or demonstrating relevant professional experience. Full-time students can usually complete their degree in 18 months to two years, but part-time students typically take three to four years to finish. Enrolling full-time in an accelerated program helps you finish quicker.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Database Management Prepares For

CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTION
Oracle Database Certifications Expand your database knowledge and gain an edge in a competitive marketplace through the Oracle database certification path, including MySQL Database Administration Certification.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Data Management and Analytics Demonstrate your skill set in SQL administration by using your online master’s in database management to prepare for MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification offered through Microsoft.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Database Management

Accreditation ensures you receive a quality education that’s recognized for professional certification and qualification for federal financial aid. Colleges and universities should be recognized by a regional accrediting agency that is itself accredited by the Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Vocational and technical schools and some distance learning schools receive national accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission or the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Academic departments may also seek specialized accreditation for individual degree programs. Currently, there aren’t any field-specific accrediting agencies for database management programs, so carefully investigate the quality of each program you’re considering.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Database Management Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Database managers are in demand in numerous industries with the need for skilled managers rising exponentially as these industries store an ever-increasing amount of information digitally. When you supplement your work experience with an online master’s in database management, you position yourself for greater advantages in job placement, career advancement and salary outlook. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, computer and information systems professionals with a bachelor’s degree earned a median salary of $69,000 in 2015, but those with a master’s earned $85,000.

Expected Salary

Database administrators typically begin their careers as data analysts or database developers and work their way up. Your online master’s degree in database management may help you climb the career ladder more swiftly. Your responsibilities increase with your job title, as does your salary, which is demonstrated by the following chart.

Source: PayScale.com

Annual earnings for master’s-degree-holders in database management vary based on location, employer and market conditions but mostly due to level of experience. Salaries for database administrators at varying levels in their careers are typically higher for those with increased professional experience, but some take a dip late in their careers, as illustrated below.

Source: PayScale.com

Career Opportunities

Demand for well-educated database managers continues to grow as companies in nearly every industry seek to effectively manage and secure databases of escalating complexity. The expected surge in employment growth, opportunities for advancement and median salary were big factors in database administration ranking fifth in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Top 10 Best Technology Jobs list and No. 48 on its overall 100 Best Jobs list.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Database Administrator Database administrators set up databases according to the needs of a specific company, organization or agency. They also ensure these databases operate efficiently by monitoring, performance-tuning, upgrading, merging and testing modifications as needed. DBAs backup and restore data to avoid data loss and make sure the stored data is easily accessed by approved users while being protected from unauthorized access. $87,020 per year 11%
Computer Systems Analyst Computer systems analysts use a variety of techniques to design new computer systems and improve the performance efficiency of existing computer systems after studying how the system currently operates. They also prepare flowcharts and other diagrams for use by programmers or engineers to build/update computer systems and may do some programming themselves. $88,270 per year 9%
Computer and Information Systems Managers Computer and information systems managers evaluate, plan, oversee, implement and supervise computer-related activities within a company or organization. They also help determine a company’s information technology goals and implement computer systems to meet these goals. $139,220 per year 12%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Network and computer systems administrators organize, install and manage a business’ computer systems, servers and desktop and mobile equipment and are responsible for the daily operation of the business’ networks, including data storage networks. $81,100 per year 6%

Professional Organizations

Database managers are continually challenged with ever-changing technology. Professional organizations provide members with the resources they need to stay on top of developments in the industry. They frequently offer numerous benefits, including networking, continuing education and professional certification opportunities. Whether you’re just starting your career in database management or you’ve been working in the field for years, check out the perks offered by respected organizations that cater to data management professionals.

Society for Clinical Data Management: SCDM is an international organization dedicated to database administrators and other data management professionals in the health care sector, including regulatory agencies. Some of the many membership benefits they offer include exclusive publications, professional development and networking opportunities, annual conferences, online courses, professional certification and resources exploring industry issues and trends.

Data Management Association International: DMAI is a global data management community with valuable resources including an online dictionary of data management terms, downloadable images, education and training programs, discounted pricing on books from approved publishers and discounted rates on endorsed conferences.

CompTIA Association of Information Technology Professionals: AITP is the go-to resource for professionals looking to start, grow and advance in their technology careers, including job postings, on-demand training, networking and leadership development opportunities, local chapters to connect with nearby professionals, career and research tools, industry updates, professional certification and members-only discounts.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Database Management

Studying online offers a flexible and often more affordable way to enhance your professional career. However, many students need help financing their higher education. There are numerous financial aid sources, but start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find federal financial aid opportunities. This form is also often required to confirm eligibility for financial assistance from the school you’re attending and some private scholarships offered by corporations, non-profits and industry associations. Explore the resources below to learn more about various forms of financial assistance.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Remote DBA “Experts to Students” Scholarship

Award: $1,000

Deadline: December

Eligibility: All current students pursuing a career in database administration, data management and data science through studies at an accredited college or university.

Google Lime Scholarship

Award: $10,000

Deadline: December

Eligibility: Disabled graduate students enrolled full-time in a master’s degree program in computer science or a closely related field.