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This post answers a question submitted to [Ask IT Career Coach], a Career Advice Column that offers practical answers, help or solutions for your most challenging career situations.
A reader from Rockville, Maryland wants to become a database professional and is concerned about age-based preferences, discrimination, educational qualifications and entry level hiring requirements for database professional jobs!
What is your opinion regarding online it degrees? More specifically, Master's degrees in database technology?
Eons of time ago, I took a bunch of Y2K programming courses in college (Assembler, COBOL, PL/1 and the like) and almost became a computer programmer.
As life has it, I pursued a different career. Now towards the twilight of a profession that is in decline, I reconsider working in IT again.
My degrees are in Psychology, not computer science, but I am considering an online master's degree in database technology as an efficient way into a field with growth prospects.
My principal concern is regarding employers: 1) with multiple non-computer degrees in Psychology combined with a Master's degree in an IT field be seen as competitive against computer science graduates?
2) Is there a preference for younger, college graduates in entry level jobs rather than 2nd career baby boomers?
What Are Employers Looking For In Entry-Level Database Jobs?
The question is: "how do non-IT degrees compare to computer science degrees"?
My answer is that the primary concern of employers is not your number of IT degrees or non IT degrees but your practical ability to work with databases.
In other words, you are asking the wrong question because getting more database degrees does not satisfy employers. What satisfies hiring managers is practical database development or management skills.
Practical database development or management is not the core focus of computer science or information technology colleges. Because these institutions focus on teaching the abstract science or passing on the theoretical knowledge.
However employers are not hiring for theoretical knowledge because that is mostly relevant in the academic world!
What employers are hiring for is extensive hands-on practical skills and experience in modern database management software including MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server or Microsoft Access.
Your age can only stop you from getting hired if you are incompetent at what you do!
If you are just average, you will get a job regardless of your age. If you have excellent skills or hands-on experience, you will be able to market yourself at a high billing rate regardless of your age!
Besides, focusing on your age is a sure way to waste your time or energy because there is nothing that you can do about your age!
However, there is a lot that you can do about your skills or your level of competence and that should always be your primary focus!
Just so you know, the Information Technology (IT) Industry is a talent driven, performance hungry, skills intensive field.
In other words, your only concern should be to keep your skills relevant, sharp or marketable.
Just do these things and you will always be employable in the database or technology world!
In this post, I answered the question of what employers are looking for in entry-level database professional jobs.
If you have any question about this, be sure to post it as a comment on this page and I would answer it for you.