Before some of you say it is related to other posts, let me tell you that I am more interested about schooling and getting my Master's degree not necessary learn SQL and such.

I just graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computer Science and am now working in the automotive field. It's not too bad, but I'm just not fond of the automotive industry. I mainly got this job because I had experience with automotive software as an intern.

Anyway, one of the courses I had to take as an undergrad was Intro to Database Systems and I found it very interesting. I would like to get a master's degree in Database Administration or Architecture. Where I am currently located, I have very limited options. The university that is close to me is Oakland University, Michigan and here is the degree information and requirements.

My question is, this program doesn't really seem like it is geared towards a specific topic but rather a few general topics. It states that I need to take a total of 16 credits from the specialty group courses (which is in the link). I'm assuming Database Systems 1 and 2 is a must, but what other courses would benefit me? As I was saying, they have project planning, networking, and other courses which (to me) seem unrelated to what I need to get a job in this field in my future.

If someone experienced could briefly explain what their education was like that helped them get into the DBA field that would be great too and I would really appreciate it.

Thank you. (I apologize for not adding the correct tags because I'm not sure which one to use besides dba, so feel free to add more if necessary)

EDIT: Forgot to mention, if you can tell me the necessary certificates for this field as well that would be great!!


2 Answers 2


I've discovered my education as a DBA and as an IT professional came in three tiers.

  1. What I learned on my own. Basically from each job I was hired for, I learned how each shop operated, listened to business requirements and learned on my own how to complete the assignments. A lot of reading the manual (now Googling) and trial-and-error is involved but it's ultimately how we all learn.
  2. What I learned from certifications. One time I picked a textbook for my favorite programming language and discovered that I was only using a fraction of the techniques described on the job. I wanted to learn as many aspects as I could. In the back of the book they had mentioned the certification program for my language (Microsoft Certified Professional in this case). It's a structured way to learn all the major features of the platform you're focusing on for your employment. There's a lot of studying and practice involved (My MCSD took four tests and my MCDBA and MCITP:DBA were comparable). You'll learn about features you might not end up using on a particular job site, but being aware of their existence helps shape you decisions on how to tackle a business requirement.
  3. What I learned from the community. This by far, is the most valuable. You learn firsthand that you're not alone in your profession. You also learn what your peers have learned on the job and through their own research, and it's great to share what you've learned. You'll find your mentors here as well. There's a large of community of masters, MVPs and fellow DBAs who share their knowledge in-person, in print and online. Search for them in Google, attend a local user group, have your employee fund a trip to your favorite products' annual convention. I've seen at SQL PASS twice and the knowledge shared there is amazing.

One book that I've personally found best describes the calling of a DBA is DBA Survivor: Become a Rockstar DBA. It goes beyond the technical and talks about your relationship to your customers and your responsibilities to the tradecraft. It helped reaffirm my belief that the DBA profession is an essential one that is challenging, honorable and rewarding.


Best teaching is the school of hard knocks and the college of life. I have no formal qualifications, no degree of any kind. Academic qualifications in my view are no better than experience, probably less valuable than experience. You can take the relevant Microsoft or Oracle or whoever exams but it doesn't make you a good DBA, its a start but again it's just a start on the road.

Many DBA's start either in general support (desktop or server) or as a developer and then move onto Database Administration. I dont know of many DBAs that just start out in databases right away, normally we get hooked on it without us knowing!

  • 1
    Certifications main benefit is forced exposure to all aspects of the relevant platform.
    – Thronk
    Jul 16, 2015 at 21:34

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