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Learn about relational database management systems with online courses

Relational database management systems (RDBMS) are used for managing structured data. The relational model defines how data elements are connected and who can access them. Learn how to use RDBMS software tools with courses delivered through edX.

What are relational database management systems?

Relational database management systems (RDBMS) are software tools widely used to manage and manipulate large and complex databases that follow the relational data model. Relational databases use tables to define how one piece of data connects to another within the database. 

With RDBMS, database administrators and programmers can quickly and efficiently handle data storage, retrieval, and security management tasks. Some popular databases managed by RDBMS software include: Oracle Database, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB.Footnote 1

By using relational database management systems, data professionals can better understand relationships between data points that can lead to more informed business decisions.

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Relational database management systems course curriculum

If you want to learn about relational database management systems, it can help to have a basic understanding of computer science theory and programming. You can then move on to an introductory RDBMS course, where you might have lessons on:

  • Fundamentals of databases and relational databases: An overview of databases can teach about their importance to modern organizations. This may cover different relational database models and the basics of relational databases, such as the genealogy of relational database management systems.

  • Database schema design: Schema design influences the efficiency of your database. You might learn about data normalization, creating database tables, managing database users, and defining constraints.

  • SQL query design programming: Structured Query Language (SQL) is the standard query language for relational database management systems. You may learn how to write and design an SQL query to be able to manipulate data in a database.

At the intermediate level, relational database administration, advanced SQL design, and hands-on RDBMS implementation may be covered. Advanced RDBMS course curricula may include topics such as:

  • Complex data structures: Build complex data structures, compare object-relational database management systems (ORDBMS), and design advanced relational tables for specific business use cases.

  • Cloud databases and big data: Become fluent in cloud databases, a type of database used by many organizations. Expand your knowledge of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), for example.

  • Advanced database security: Learn about advanced security measures, including encryption, intrusion detection, and security auditing.

Start building the knowledge you need to work with databases with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree, there are many different learning formats available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can even take advantage of executive education courses tailored to those in leadership and management positions. Find the right course for you.

Explore jobs that use RDBMS

Many businesses in industries such as e-commerce, banking, and entertainment rely on relational database management systems (RDBMS) for efficient data management. Firsthand experience building and managing a database can provide the necessary skills for an entry-level job in different industries. However, further experience and education may be required for career advancement. 

Here are some careers that can benefit from knowledge of relational database management systems:

  • Database administrator: Applies their advanced knowledge of designing, managing, securing, and auditing data using relational database management systems.Footnote 2

  • Software developer: Uses programming languages and relational database management systems to create software. They may also use object-relational database management systems to know which type of database suits their software.Footnote 3

  • Cryptographer: Applies encryption to secure sensitive data such as private emails, health records, and credit card information. They may also apply advanced mathematics and programming to create new security systems or to decipher coded data.Footnote 4

  • Data scientist: Studies complex and large data sets to find trends and patterns. They also manipulate data using statistical and machine learning techniques, which may be stored in relational databases.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skill requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant programming skills in a coding boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a higher level degree in data science or computer science. Research potential roles you would like to pursue before deciding on which learning path will align with your professional aspirations.

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