The world generates a lot of data — more than 2.5 quintillion bytes every day to be exact. And that number only continues to grow.
Nearly every organization relies on databases to wrangle, organize and utilize their growing collections of data. That’s where database developers come in.
Database developers help organizations harness the power of data, from intellectual property and customer information to accounting and payroll.
It’s a fast-growing field, and talented database developers are in high demand. Database administration and development is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026 — outpacing most occupations — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So how can you become a highly sought-after database developer?
In this post, we’ll tackle the skills, experience, IT training and certifications you need to help you build a successful database career.
What Is a Database Developer?
Database developers ensure that database management systems (DBMS) can handle massive quantities of data. Also called database programmers, developers usually work as part of a software development team.
The role of database developer often falls into three distinct areas:
- Modifying and editing databases
- Designing and developing new databases
- Troubleshooting database issues
What’s the Difference Between a Database Developer and Database Administrator?
There’s often confusion between database developers and database administrators (DBAs).
While the role can overlap depending on the organization, a DBA’s main priority is to ensure databases run smoothly. They work closely with users to maintain, configure and secure databases in an organization.
Developers are focused on creating new applications or expanding the capabilities of existing databases. They’re less concentrated on daily maintenance tasks and more focused on changing and improving how organizations use data.
Here are some examples of typical tasks that database developers perform:
- Design new databases to meet the needs of the customers and users
- Develop database code to perform specific tasks, such as extracting data for reports, making updates or deleting data
- Modify and upgrade existing databases
- Use databases to design business intelligence reports
- Ensure new IT and business projects meet database standards and requirements
- Create IT documentation for new and existing databases
How to Become a Database Developer
You could take many different paths to become a database developer, but these critical skill sets, programming abilities and IT certifications will help launch your career.
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Field Or Gain Foundational Training
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in database development, earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as applied mathematics or computer science is a good place to start.
While a degree is helpful, it’s not required — some database developers have also focused on building their skills through IT training courses and database certifications.
2. Seek Out Real-World Database Development Experience
Next, you’ll need to build your development and programming skills.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is the primary language that database developers use. SQL allows developers to communicate with the database and perform a variety of tasks.
In addition to SQL, most developer positions also require language programming skills in C, C++, C# or Java.
Different companies use different database management systems, but the majority are built on SQL. As a general rule of thumb, if you know you want to work in a larger company or government organization, you should learn:
- Oracle Database
- Microsoft SQL Server
If you plan to work on smaller projects, you should learn:
Not sure which platform you’ll be working on? Focus on honing your SQL and programming skills. Each system is created on the same standard of SQL, so the programming skills you learn are transferable.
Suggested Programming Training Courses:
3. Acquire IT Database Certifications
IT database certifications validate your expertise to an employer and solidify your professional experience. Here are a few of the top Microsoft and Oracle database certifications:
Microsoft Database Certifications
MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development
This certification demonstrates your skills related to developing both on-premises and cloud-based databases.
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014
Learn the skills to manage, develop and maintain advanced SQL Server information and database environments.
MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
Certify your SQL administration skills, including your ability to create enterprise data solutions and effectively use business intelligence data.
As a prerequisite, you’re required to earn a relevant MCSA certification before you can pursue this expert-level certification. The MCSA: SQL Server 2014/2014 and MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development both fulfill this requirement.
Browse SQL training courses.
Oracle Database Certifications
Database Design & Programming With SQL
Learn how to design and create data models, develop databases and analyze complex business scenarios. It’s an ideal certification for professionals interested in learning techniques to build, design and extract information from a database.
Previous experience with database applications is also recommended.
Suggested Training Courses:
Programming With PL/SQL
Certify your skills with PL/SQL, Oracle’s extension language for SQL and the Oracle relational database. This Oracle programming certification is ideal for professionals looking to develop techniques beyond Oracle and execute logic on a database.
Before you pursue this certification, Oracle recommends that you complete the Database Design and Programming With SQL certification.
Suggested Training Courses:
Browse Oracle training courses.
4. Build a Repertoire of Soft Skills
To advance your career as a database developer, you also need to build up an arsenal of soft skills.
Database developers consistently use critical thinking skills to translate business pain points into database solutions. They work closely with nontechnical users to ensure all databases are functioning as intended. They also routinely work with executives and management on IT projects and objectives.
In addition to technical skills, database developers need to demonstrate they have the critical thinking, communication and leadership skills to communicate technical projects in clear, concise language to the rest of the company.
Browse relevant IT service management training courses.
Database Developer Training With New Horizons
Whether you’re starting and want to learn the fundamentals of SQL or pursuing an advanced database certification, New Horizons has the training courses to help you achieve your career goals.
Browse our database training courses to get started today.