Study Database Design: Bachelors, Associates & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associates or bachelor's degree in database design? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and database design training programs.
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Database Design Associates and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

Companies, medical facilities, and financial organizations collect massive amounts of data about customers and patients. Database design professionals understand the relationship between the smallest component of raw data and employers' business goals, regulatory practices, and database technologies. Specialists in the industry use this knowledge to design database applications, ensure data integrity, and develop information security measures. Employers seek job candidates who possess strong analytical and technical skills.

The associate's degree program delivers the foundational knowledge required for entry-level positions in a range of industries. The bachelor's degree program provides a broad education that offers advanced courses in data management and administration. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that positions in the industry offer average to faster-than-average job growth (www.bls.gov). Database administrators might see a 31% increase in jobs over the 2010-2020 decade. Computer programmers could expect a 12% increase, reports the BLS.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People seeking technical support, programming, or data management careers in a range of industries Individuals seeking database administrator or computer information management opportunities
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Computer support specialist ($52,000)
- Computer programmer ($76,000)*
- Database administrator ($77,000)*
- Computer and information systems manager ($126,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 60 credits - Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Computer Information Systems

Schools generally offer the associate's degree program through an information technology or information systems curriculum. Programs emphasize application development and database analysis concepts. You'll gain an understanding of computer networks, productivity software, and operating systems in addition to the creation of database tables, queries, and reports. The program balances general education coursework in mathematics, communications, and the humanities with field of study courses in database theory and administration.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Computer programmers earned relatively competitive mean annual salaries of $76,000*
  • Program curricula develop strong technical skills, which might make positions in other industries available to you
  • General business experience or education might make computer systems management positions available to you with the appropriate experience

Cons

  • Bachelor's degree holders will likely experience the best job prospects for computer programming opportunities
  • Outsourcing might have an influence on job prospects; employers practice overseas hiring to minimize expenditures
  • Pursuing certification will require additional financial resources and time

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

Programs are designed to provide the technical expertise required for entry-level database administration, design, and analysis positions. You'll take programming courses, such as structured query language (SQL), to develop your skills in data extraction and reporting techniques. In addition, technical writing courses provide the foundation necessary to document databases and provide training for company personnel. Following are some courses commonly offered by associate's degree programs:

  • Advanced spreadsheet applications
  • Web programming
  • ORACLE
  • Database recovery
  • Database management fundamentals
  • Network hardware configuration
  • Database design process

Online Degree Info

The online associate's degree program delivers coursework similar to the campus-based options. Keep in mind that some schools offer their courses once every two years; this could influence the length of time required to complete the program. You'll take courses in database modeling, LINUX/UNIX, and data warehousing. Some programs offer concentrations in database development and programming.

Stand Out with This Degree

Competing against bachelor's degree holders for database design, analysis, and administration opportunities might present a challenge. Certification can help improve your job prospects. The Certified Internet Web Professional (CIW), a professional certifying agency, offers a course that prepares people who take it for the CIW Database Design Specialist certification. The certification will validate your skills in relational database planning, design methodology, and security. In addition to certification, gaining hands-on experience in design provides real-world exposure. Consider participating in group projects or internships if your selected program offers them.

Bachelor's in Information Systems

The bachelor's degree program offers a broader range of technical skills in programming, database design, and information management. This is typically an offering of a school's college of information technology or similar division. You might find deeper areas of specialization, including healthcare informatics or systems analysis. High-level mathematics courses, such as calculus, set the foundation for learning algorithms and relational mathematics. Some programs recommend an internship, which might require up to 200 hours of work-related experience.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Computer and information systems managers earned competitive mean annual salaries of $126,000*
  • Technical training can make positions in multiple industries available to you
  • Employers are looking for job candidates with higher education

Cons

  • Associate's degree holders earned comparable salaries; computer programmers reported mean annual earnings of $76,000, while database administrators earned $77,000*
  • Some employers seek candidates who possess master's degrees
  • Overseas hiring might influence employment growth for computer and information systems managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program delivers in-depth training in various programming languages, database security, and project management principles. You'll learn the important components of the information systems field through courses in mathematics and the sciences, technology, and business. You can expect to take courses in data structures, information architecture, distributed systems, artificial intelligence, data communications, network design, and Visual BASIC programming. In addition, some programs require a passing grade in information technology foundation courses, such as software and hardware concepts.

Online Degree Info

Schools design their online bachelor's degree programs to meet the needs of working professionals. Some programs deliver training for people who are already immersed in the field as database administrators or information technology professionals. The online program might offer training in emerging technologies, such as geographic information systems.

Stand Out with This Degree

Certification and diverse knowledge of programming languages and emerging technologies might improve job prospects. In addition, experience in a related discipline might improve job prospects. Consider taking advantage of multiple courses in different programming languages during your studies. In addition, inquire about courses or programs that might prepare you for industry-standard certifications. An internship program can provide a practical approach to gaining experience early in your career. Finally, consider inquiring about or participating in classroom projects that provide hands-on experience developing, designing, and implementing databases.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Data Management
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
      • BS - IT - Security
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Software Application Programming
      • BS - IT - Web Development
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    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
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    4. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Campus Locations:
    6. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Management Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Information Technologies w/conc in Database Administration
      • BS Computer Science
      • BS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting & Fraud Examination
      • BS Business Studies in Computer Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science Information Technologies - Des
      • BS in Data Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Information Technology [Without Concentration]
      • BS in Technology (Computer Technologies)
      • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management (Information Technology)
      • BS in Cybersecurity (Operations)
      • BS in Cybersecurity [Without Concentration]
      • BS in Information Technology (Cybersecurity)
  • Cambridge, MA

    Harvard University

  • Philadelphia, PA

    University of Pennsylvania

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • Bachelor: Information Technology
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Data Management
  • BS - Business Administration - IT

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Herzing University

  • 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

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Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

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Utica College

  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

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Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Management Information Systems

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS Information Technologies w/conc in Database Administration
  • BS Computer Science
  • BS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting & Fraud Examination

What is your highest level of education?

Excelsior College

  • BS in Information Technology [Without Concentration]
  • BS in Technology (Computer Technologies)
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Technology Management (Information Technology)

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