Becoming a Database Developer: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a database developer career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a database developer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Database Developer Career

Database developers are specialized software developers that create explicit and detailed software mapping for computer programmers to follow. Continue reading the pros and cons to find out if a database developer career is right for you.

Pros of a Database Developer Career
Faster than average job growth (22% between 2012 and 2022)*
High salary potential (application developers earned a median annual income of $96,000 and system software developers earned a median annual salary of $103,000 in 2014)*
Advances in technology may allow for telecommuting*
Careers available in nearly every field*

Cons of a Database Developer Career
Some positions may require overtime work*
Must understand additional computer programming techniques*
Software development may be a long process*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Database developers are responsible for the information capital of a company, the essential demographics of a government agency or the compounded research of an educational institution. They must place the data in an accessible, manageable database and ensure that the database's platform runs optimally. Database developers must create and implement security measures to protect a database from external threats and maintain information privileges internally.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the BLS, software developers are expected to see a rapid growth in positions of 22% between 2012 and 2022. A few factors leading to growth include system updates in healthcare establishments, database security concerns, an increased demand for mobile compatibility and lower software production costs. The BLS stated that system software developers earned a median annual salary of around $103,000 and application developers earned a median annual salary of about $96,000 in May 2014.

Education Requirements

Information management technology changes rapidly. Therefore, employers select database developers with the minimum of a bachelor's degree. The most common majors for prospective database developers to pursue are computer science, management information systems and information sciences. Students can gain an edge by working as an intern while studying or by pairing their information technology (IT) studies with practical business coursework as more employers seek business-minded IT professionals.

Useful Skills

Since multiple majors lead to this field, you may want to choose the program best suited to your personal goals. You'll want to focus most of your education on database development, but you may also have the potential to expand your understanding through computer programming, network development, data analysis, Web development, program design or language processing. The following skills may be required by employers:

  • Ability to work as a consultant on development issues
  • Ability to troubleshoot any situation
  • Knowledgeable in SQL and Oracle programming
  • Knowledge of the proper channels for data reporting

Job Postings from Real Employers

Database developer careers are found with many types of employers in various fields. You may find that an employer may require experience working with database systems in their particular field. While the following may not be a comprehensive look at every career, these examples are from a national job board sampling in April 2012:

  • A wireless developer in Seattle was looking for a developer that was able to conduct database-related research and correct performance issues.
  • A telecommunications company in Philadelphia was looking for someone with an understanding of data modeling and process automation.
  • A staffing firm in Maryland searched for a developer that was able to write extraction scripts and operate learning management systems.
  • A car sales company in Phoenix was searching for someone that was able to work with .Net applications and effectively review computer code.
  • A multimedia company located in Saint Paul advertised for someone that knew how to address quality assurance reports and ensure result progress reports.

How to Stand Out

You may want to look into earning Microsoft SQL Server Certification to show that you are a database development professional. To earn this certification, you have to complete five exams pertaining to information that you may learn in your degree programs or courses offered by Microsoft. Depending on your specialization, you may be able to focus your certification on data platforms or business intelligence.

Develop Related Skills

To help with database development proficiency, you may need to understand computer algorithms, how to use various operating systems, telecommunications, information risk management, project management and programming techniques. Some programs can also provide focus on additional fields, including technical writing, information security, Web operations, network foundations, wireless technologies and digital design techniques.

Alternative Career Paths

Computer Programmer

If you would like to start a career developing and coding the programs used in establishing database systems, you may be interested in a computer programming career. Programmers interpret software plans as presented by a developer. As a computer programmer, you may be responsible for using a variety of computer languages, reviewing programming code to ensure correct coding strands, modifying older programs to ensure they are up-to-date, providing program code instructions and debugging programs to ensure faultless execution. You may find that most employers require you to have a bachelor's degree, but some companies only require an associate's degree. As of May 2011, the BLS estimated that the median salary for computer programmers was $73,000.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

As a network and computer systems administrator, you create a means for databases to be accessed from remote and local computers. You may be responsible for installing and maintaining network systems, ensuring information security, promoting ease of access, making sure that clients understand how to correctly operate these networks and providing a place for data storage. A bachelor's degree is often preferred, but you may be able to find employment with a professional certificate or associate's degree. In May 2011, the BLS estimated that workers in this field earned a median salary of $71,000.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. The Art Institutes

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Visual & Game Programming (BS)
      • Visual & Game Programming (BA)
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

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    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
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    3. South University

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    Master's
      • Information Systems (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology (BS)
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Argosy University

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    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology (BS)
    Associate's
      • Information Technology (AS)
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    5. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MS in Information Technology - Business Intelligence and Analytics
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
    Bachelor's
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
    Associate's
      • Associate: Information Technology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
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    6. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Data Analytics
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      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
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    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
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    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
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    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
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      • Doctor of Philosophy in Data Science
    Master's
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
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  • Online Programs Available
    10. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management

Featured Schools

The Art Institutes

  • Visual & Game Programming (BS)
  • Visual & Game Programming (BA)

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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South University

  • Information Systems (MS)
  • Information Technology (BS)

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Argosy University

  • Information Technology (BS)
  • Information Technology (AS)

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Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • BSIT - Information Management
  • Associate: Information Technology

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Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA with an Emphasis in Data Analytics
  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

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