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Learn how to better manage data for your organization. Enroll in online database schema courses delivered through edX.

What is a database schema?

Data drives everything we do. From the first tweet read in the morning to a last-minute GPS reroute due to an obstruction, so many facets of our lives revolve around the availability and usage of data that’s often completely invisible to us. But, with so much information traveling from databases to phones, computers, vehicles, and smart screens, how do technologists manage to efficiently store and access all this data from a database management system, instantaneously?

That’s where database schemas come in. A database schema is used to define how data gets added to, stored, and accessed from a relational database management system (RDBMS). When a database schema is implemented in a database, both external users and applications must format data to conform to the schema specifications before it can be added. That way, all data that lives inside any database management system (DBMS) is clean, uniform, and highly secure.

There are many benefits to completing a database schema tutorial and learning how to build and deploy a schema to a database management system, including:

  • Simplicity: Users and applications alike can more easily understand and verify the integrity of added data with a database schema. Internal collaboration on, and external communication of a database’s data is streamlined when a schema is implemented.

  • Security: When building a database schema, database administrators can set database permissions to ensure data is only accessible to users with the correct credentials.

  • Integrity: Database schemas help validate that added data hasn’t been altered on its way to the database.Footnote 1

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Database schema course curriculum

In a course that covers database schemas, learners could be introduced to a variety of technical topics, such as:

  • Relational algebra: the algebraic query language core to the SQL database query language.

  • Relational design theory: a theoretical framework for developing relational database schemas that covers dependency theory and normal forms.

  • Unified Modeling Language (UML): a language used for visualizing a system’s design. Courses covering this topic might unpack UML’s data-modeling component and show how UML diagrams get translated to relational database schemas.

  • Cryptography: the use and development of encryption algorithms and systems to conceal private data and protect personal autonomy. Database schemas often check inputted data for encryption before permitting entry into the database.

  • Big data: a major database schema topic, since schemas are invaluable for properly fielding and managing large data sets on proprietary and customer information.

edX offers a variety of technical classes and programs that include database schema training for both new and experienced developers.

Explore database schema jobs

Once you’ve learned about database schemas and why they’re important in data science, you may want to begin exploring a variety of technical roles in which you can apply your knowledge. Those roles may include:

  • Information security analyst: crafts and enacts security plans to defend their organization from cyberattacks. This role can involve the development, deployment, and maintenance of database schemas.Footnote 2

  • Data engineer: builds data storage architecture such as DBMSs and RDBMSs. Their coding skills equip them to develop database schemas using query languages.

  • Database administrator: builds and organizes data storage systems that benefit from the increased security and organization a database schema enables.Footnote 3

  • Software engineer: in any industry should understand how to build proper database schemas to organize and protect their organization’s database.Footnote 4

Learning about database schemas, and their importance to a RDBMS, does not automatically qualify you for the roles listed above. Research the potential careers you hope to pursue to better understand the skills and educational requirements a prospective employer may expect from applicants. edX offers a variety of educational pathways, including boot camps as well as bachelor's degree programs and even master’s degree programs, for learners interested in advancing their knowledge in a variety of subjects. 

How to learn about database schemas

To master building database schemas for a DBMS, you’ll need knowledge of a variety of technical topics. Some of those topics include:

  • Database query languages, like SQL and GraphQL, are important for managing and analyzing encrypted and decrypted data that lives in RDBMSs. They can create and deploy database schemas to databases, then check or format inputted data to comply with the schema.Footnote 5

  • Data technologies, like structures, file formats, and sources, need to be streamlined and made uniform to conform to database schemas.

  • Data collection processes help users properly collate data in a way that meets a database schema’s requirements.

  • Spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, is commonly used to prepare data for insertion into a database while conforming to database schemas.

If you are interested in adding new skills to your resume, explore how online learning opportunities, such as a data analytics boot camp or pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science can help you build the expertise and experience you need to pursue roles in this field. Start your learning journey with edX today.