Database Systems Technology: Master's Degrees at a Glance
A degree in database systems technology can lead to a career as a database administrator. These administrators review an organization's database needs and create database systems that fit those needs. They also merge old and new databases, modify existing databases when necessary and ensure that operating databases function properly. Many of these workers have a bachelor's degree in a computer science-related field, but some employer's prefer individuals who have a graduate degree.
|Master's Degree in Database Systems Technology|
|Who Is This Degree For?||Individuals interested in managing databases used by large companies or firms*|
|Common Career Path (with 2011 approximate mean annual salary)||- Database administrator ($77,350)*|
|Time to Completion||About two years|
|Common Graduation Requirements|| - Coursework |
- Capstone course, final project or thesis
|Prerequisites|| - Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, perhaps with a minimum 3.0 GPA |
- Some schools may require two or more years of work experience
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Master's Degree Programs in Database Systems
Master's degree programs in database systems can be offered in multiple formats, such as a program in database technologies, or a program in either computer science or information technology with a specialization or certificate option in database systems technology. These programs could be offered under the titles of Master of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in database systems, Master of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in database systems technology, or Master of Science in Information Technology with a certificate in database management systems.
Pros and Cons
- Degree may make graduates eligible for higher-level positions in database administration
- Online programs are readily available, making it possible to work while earning the degree
- Job opportunities for database administrators are expected to grow 31% nationally from 2010-2020*
- Master's degree is not required to work as a database administrator; therefore, graduates may compete with bachelor's degree holders for jobs
- Even when a master's degree is preferred by employers, a Master of Business Administration holder may be sought over a master's degree in database systems technology
- Degree programs focusing specifically on database systems technology are rare
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Courses and Requirements
These master's degree programs typically require approximately 30 credit hours of study. Classes in the core curriculum commonly cover topics like modern networking, database systems, information systems concepts and architecture, database architecture and software project management. Courses in the concentration or certificate include data warehouse, database design, distributed databases, systems development process, information technology infrastructure, database backup and recovery, middleware architecture and Oracle database administration. Most programs also require students to write a thesis, complete a project or take a capstone course prior to graduation.
Online Degree Options
Master's degree programs related to database systems technologies are readily available online. These programs often include the same curriculum and requirements as their on-campus counterparts. Online programs can be useful for individuals who are currently working and are interested in gaining additional knowledge or skills while remaining employed. You will need to possess the appropriate computer equipment to complete these graduate programs.
Stand Out with This Degree
To stand out with your degree, consider completing a final project in which you create a database system. Being able to show a database that you constructed to employers may increase your chances of being hired. Additionally, earning certification is commonly a way that professionals in the information technology field demonstrate competency to potential employers. There may not be an industry standard certification for database professionals as of October 2012, but many software and product vendors offer certification for the use of individual computer products.
Alternative Degree Options
As an alternative to a computer science, information technology or database technology master's degree program, you may consider earning a master's degree in business if you're interested in administrative positions working with computers. Both aspiring database administrators and computer and information systems managers may benefit from earning an MBA, especially if they already hold an undergraduate degree in a computer science-related field or choose to major in management information systems at the master's degree level. Management information systems programs typically focus both on information technology concepts and business concepts, such as finance and organizational behavior.
As of May 2011, the BLS reported that computer and information systems managers earned a mean annual salary of about $126,000. From 2010-2020, these professionals were expected to see an 18% growth in employment according to the BLS, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.