What is this job like?
A degree in Information Technology could lead to jobs in several related fields. Two of these are Database Administration and Systems Analysis. A Database Administrator manages data. Enormous volumes of data are collected and stored today. The job of a data administrator is to collect data, organize it, store it, and retrieve it when called upon. Database integrity, security and backup are necessary for all data systems. Other tasks might include “data mining,” where databases are searched for information of interest which is then compiled and summarized into formal reports. Databases are typically designed using a special database language called Structured Query Language (SQL).
A System Analyst plans computing systems – both the hardware and software aspects – for an employer or customer. They would be familiar with popular varieties of programming languages, operating systems, and computer hardware. A project begins with collaboration between the end-user and System Analyst to outline the project and define the project’s scope. Specifications would be developed and computer hardware and software selected. Coding might be done by the system analyst. Alternately, he might work with software engineers and programmers to implement the system details. System Analysts also serve as liaisons between vendors, end-users and other information technology professionals. Therefore, project management is an important part of the System Analyst’s responsibility including: cost analysis, design considerations, and implementation time-lines.
Both Database Administrators and System Analysts typically work in an office environment. Most work at least 40 hours a week. There will be times when more hours would be required if a deadline is to be met or an emergency occurs.
How do you get ready?
The degree includes classes in several areas of information technology. There are hardware classes and networking classes. Course in programming languages (Visual Basic, C#, C++ or Java) are required through the expert level for this degree. Also required are several database classes, using databases implemented using the SQL programming language. Other classes include Web programming, math and physics.
Since Database engineers and System Analysts both work on projects in collaboration with end-users (both technical and non-technical), courses are required that develop communication and social skills, for example writing, team building, project management and oral communication.
Since the computer field is still evolving rapidly, Database engineers and System Analysts must continue to keep their skills current after their formal education by taking additional short-courses or otherwise learning the newest technologies.
What do jobs in Information Technology pay?
In May 2008, average yearly wages of Database Administrators were $72,900 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Again citing May 2008 BLS data, average yearly wages for computer System Analysts were $78,8301.
What are the job prospects?
In 2008, there were about 120,400 Database Administrators and there were 532,000 computer System Analysts. Many worked for computer consulting companies. Others were self-employed 1.
Database Administrators and System Analysts work in every sector of the economy. The largest number work in the computer systems design and related services industry. Many work for Internet service providers, Web search portals, and data-processing, hosting, and related services firms. For both database Administration and System Analysts, the number of jobs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018 1. This is because the Internet and e-commerce will continue to expand, resulting in a continuing need to build and maintain complex computer systems and databases. 1.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011.