Woman managing a data centre

How to Become a Database Administrator

Data plays an important role in our lives today, and it’s the fuel of information systems around the world. The challenge of storing and managing huge amounts of data has prompted people to take database management courses or enroll in data science bootcamps to learn database management. 

Every organization requires a database administrator to keep their databases fast and secure. But how does one get into the field of database management?

What Is Database Management?

Database management refers to the techniques used to organize, retrieve, and store data in a database while making sure that the database remains fast, secure, well-maintained, and accessible to all of its users. 

What Are Database Management Systems?

Today’s huge databases must be managed with the use of software, called database management systems (DBMS). These systems consolidate all the tools and techniques required for database management in a convenient, user-accessible package. Database management systems make data accessible through the use of database models, data warehousing, and data integration. 

What Is Database Management Used For?

Database administrators use database management systems to ensure that databases remain robust and scalable. Below are some key uses of database management.

  • Data security. One of database administrators’ jobs is to ensure that the database is secured against cyber attacks. To do so, they can use the best private browser for their online activities to maintain a secure browsing environment or utilize a VPN. Database management involves keeping the database updated with the latest security standards.

  • Making the database responsive. Since databases are often used to fetch data for a client, database management must concern itself with keeping the database fast, scalable, and robust. A sluggish or faulty database can hamper productivity and degrade user experience.

  • Reducing costs. A responsive database is a cost-effective one. Database management systems reduce costs by offloading the work to automated scripts and are thus the cheapest means of storing and managing data.

Types of Database Management Systems

The four main types of DBMS that database administrators use are:

  • Hierarchical DBMS
  • Network DBMS
  • Relational DBMS
  • Object-oriented DBMS

Hierarchical Database Management Systems

Hierarchical databases are managed according to their tree-like structure. Like pedigrees, they are defined by parent-child relationships in which a parent can have multiple children, but a child cannot have multiple parents.

This is the simplest type of data management but usually requires a lot of planning, coordination, and effort. Some of the best examples of database management systems using this structure are IBM’s Information Management Systems, RDM Mobile, and Windows Registry.

Network Database Management System

Network database management is a more complex extension of hierarchical data management systems. Here a child can have multiple parents as well. This setup is advantageous because it reduces the strain on the hardware.

The added flexibility allows for the use of different types of data and hence more intricate relationships. Two of the most widely-used network DBMS are Integrated Data Stores and Raima Database Manager.

Relational Database Management System

In relational data management, the data is arranged in multiple tables based on logical relationships. Relational database administrators typically store and manipulate data using structured query language (SQL) on Microsoft SQL Server. 

Because relational databases can be so easily manipulated with SQL queries, they are considered more convenient and flexible than other types of databases. In addition to Microsoft SQL Server, administrators of relational databases can use Oracle Database.

Object-Oriented Database Management System

Object-oriented data management treats databases as a group of objects storing values and methods. They are compatible with Java, SQL, Delphi, and more. Object-oriented DBMS provide storage for objects, which means that objects created by a database administrator are saved as they enter the database and then are read and edited from within it.

Two popular examples of object-oriented data management systems are Cache and ConceptBased.

Learning Database Management

a person managing a database
Learning database management is a good idea if you want to go into business intelligence or database design.

For the successful study of databases and DBMS, you must understand not only the core concepts but also what you want to use them for. Whether you’re learning database management to grow your business or for some other application, we’re here to tell you what the learning process entails. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn Database Management?

Learning database management may take months to master because you need experience to get the hang of it. While you can learn coding in a few weeks, you may take longer to acquire the technical aptitude and mental discipline required for database management.

How to Learn Database Management: Step-by-Step

Let’s break down your plan to become a database administrator into five simple steps.

  1. Consult resources. You can start with books and YouTube tutorials on open-source databases like MySQL. This one-two punch is a fast and easy way to get theoretical and practical knowledge upfront, before embarking on formal education. 

  2. Seek formal training. Enrolling in a database management course will speed up your journey. 

  3. Practice with real databases. Look up ideas for projects and try building your own data model on an open-source database like MySQL. The more you practice, the better you will become, and the more fodder you will have for your resume.

  4. Get Certified. Doing a certification program can add polish to your resume and help you secure a good job in this field. To get a sense of your options, check the list of certifications below.

Database Management Certifications

Certification is a great way to validate your knowledge and experience as a professional. Below is a list of well-regarded certifications for database administrators. 

IBM Certified Database Administrator 

This certification is considered the gold standard for database administrators. As an IBM certified database administrator, a world of career opportunities in the database management field will be open to you.

You must pass the Certified Database Management exam to earn this certification. The exam format consists of two separate tests, one with sixty questions and the other with sixty-three questions. Each exam lasts ninety minutes and costs $200.

Microsoft SQL Server Database Certifications

Any of Microsoft’s certifications will provide you with a wide array of tools and expertise in a specific domain of database management. At $127, these are among the most affordable certification programs in the field. 

Oracle Certified Professional Database Administrator

Oracle University offers this well-known certification. Candidates are required to pass a single exam, which you need to have on-the-job experience and training before taking.

The exam itself costs $245, contains 75 multiple choice questions, and must be completed in two hours.

Best Database Management Resources

The Internet is a smorgasbord of resources. Some of the best online database management resources are listed below.

  • MongoDB. MongoDB is one of the largest online platforms for learning and managing databases. There are many SQL courses, as well as courses on Java and Python. These coding skills are sure to build a strong foundation for database management and data modeling.

  • YouTube. YouTube is home to hours and hours of video lectures on database management. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this is your go-to place for free video content, accessible with the push of a button. Some great Youtube channels on SQL include We Learn SQL, Programming with Mosh, Joey Blue’s SQL series, and Pinal Dave’s “SQL in 60 Seconds” series.

  • RazorSQL. RazorSQL is one of the most popular database management tools available on the internet. It contains common database management queries and is compatible with a large number of common databases. 

  • MySQL Workbench. MySQL has arguably the best database management tool of them all. Created by Oracle for the sole purpose of managing and fine-tuning databases, the Workbench’s tools help more than 15 million active users hone their database management skills.

Should You Study Database Management?

Database management is the backbone of all computer systems today, in technical and non-technical enterprises alike. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of database management is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2029, so there are many job prospects for aspiring database administrators. With minimal competition and great salaries, database management is well worth your time. 

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