How does my bank keep my checking account information safe online? What does it take for me to have access to my order status 24 hours a day? Why do I see a correct balance when I check my credit card statement online?
Though answering these questions might sound difficult, the retort to all of them is the same: A database administrator somewhere has done his or her job. Because of their important roles tackling challenges like these and other critical functions, database administrators are among the tech elite in most organizations.
Though joining these prestigious ranks takes know-how and experience, database administration training can help IT professionals make a difference in a variety of organizations.
What does it take to be a database administrator?
Database administrators, also known as DBAs, are responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining systems that organize data and make information accessible. According to information from TechTarget, a DBA "directs or performs all activities related to maintaining a successful database environment." This can include storing, organizing, analyzing, using and sharing data and information.
It's a big job to fill, and it takes someone with formal training. According to career information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many organizations prefer to hire DBAs with bachelors' degrees. BLS data suggests common majors include computer science, information science and management information systems, but certifications are also considered valuable sources of database administration training. In fact, the BLS report indicated that earning the right certs will enhance employment opportunities.
Database administration courses and industry standards
Though BLS data suggest that vendor accreditation is the industry standard for database administration training, IT pros really drive the point home.
Craig Thorstead has more than 14 years of hands-on experience working as a DBA. He recently told Certification Magazine that accreditation is necessary for both entry- and advanced-level database administrators.
"I think in today's world, [certs are] becoming more critical," he said.
Thorstead specifically recommends that those just getting started in database administration training go for CIW Database Design Specialist accreditation. This course provides general introductory training to database specialization while remaining vendor-neutral, making it a good way to prepare for further training, according to CIW information.
The Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) cert is also a good option for those seeking entry-level database administration training. The vendor suggests that this cert is best for "users that know the basics, but have not yet obtained the experience gained by professional MySQL DBAs or Developers." This database administration course includes several exams, including one about SQL and another covering basic database management. There are also a number of more advanced Oracle certs for database administrators, ranging from the mid-level Oracle Certified Master (OCM) and Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) to Oracle Certified Expert (OCE).
Software giant Microsoft is also part of the DBA scene, with Microsoft SQL Server database administration courses and accreditation available ranging from Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) to the terminal Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) certifications.
Additionally, the Certification Magazine report shows that database administration training and certifications are also available for MySQL. Offerings include the entry-level Associate and more advanced DBA and Cluster DBA.
The time is right for database administration training
The BLS has signified career opportunities for database administrators are definitely on the rise, and estimates that nearly 80,000 DBA jobs will be created between 2008 and 2018, which represents a 20 percent change in a single decade. This rate of growth likely stems from the critical role these esteemed IT pros play within the organizations they serve and expanding use of technology across businesses in all sectors. Take the first steps toward joining these growing ranks by getting started with database administration training today.