What is the Difference Between Database Management and Computer Programming?

The difference between database management and computer programming is not often well-understood. There are many tech terms thrown around and it can be confusing for prospective students to understand the difference between these two roles. The guide below will go over these two different disciplines and outline what each of them truly entails.

The Definition of Database Management

Database managers generally do not create new databases, although some do oversee new database creation. For the most part, however, they simply manage systems that are already there. This includes keeping them up to date and adding relevant software and hardware when it comes time to upgrade. Because their primary focus is on data, their main job duties include collecting data, ensuring data quality, backing up data to prevent loss and sometimes interpreting data. Database managers must be familiar with industry-standard software programs such as Oracle and strongly focused on data security measures. Instead of programming languages, they need to know database languages such as the Structured Query Language, or SQL.

Ranking: Top 5 Cheapest Online Database Management Degrees

The Definition of Computer Programming

Computer programmers use coding languages such as Java and C++ to write computer programs, operating systems and more. It can be beneficial for students looking to get into this career to specialize in certain programming languages. Computer programmers often work closely with software developers, who design the program before the computer programmer creates a code that allows that software to function. In some businesses, these two jobs may even overlap. This is a good career for people who prefer to work alone because much of the work is solitary. They spend their time writing code and then testing it. If the code does not work properly, they need to check it for errors to discover the problem. This means computer programmers need significant problem-solving skills to do their jobs well.

Required Education

A computer science degree, information technology degree or other degree related to computers and network infrastructures is usually necessary to work in either one of these occupations. Most tech degrees are offered as associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees. Specific software certifications may be useful or even required. Hands-on education that involves using databases, fixing programming errors and testing programs will be very beneficial. Computer programmers may be able to secure work with experience and skill, while database managers almost always require a degree to find work. There are advanced degrees specifically offered in database management.

Outlook Comparison

Unfortunately, computer programming careers are actually expected to decline by 7 percent over the next several years per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it one of the few tech jobs in decline. The reason for this decline is largely due to outsourcing. It is often cheaper for a company to outsource computer programming operations to cheaper laborers overseas. However, it is still possible for students to enjoy a successful career as a computer programmer by making the right connections and possessing a number of marketable skills, such as knowledge in a wide variety of programming languages and up to date knowledge of key programming tools. Raw, creative talent also plays a significant role. This is a major difference between database management and computer programming – database management is expected to grow faster than average.

While these two careers may sound similar, they are actually substantially different. Understanding the difference between database management and computer programming will help students select the career that is the best option for them.