Data management is one of the biggest challenges for modern businesses. The more information that enters a company, the harder it is to stay on top of all of it. However, successful owners wouldn’t be where they are if they threw in the towel. They go out of their way to find a solution to solve this problem.
Enter database management systems (DBMSs). A database management system is a program that allows you to store and organize information more easily.
The importance of a DBMS can’t be overstressed. It can be a light at the end of the tunnel for many organizations. For example, it helps optimize performance across the board, increase productivity, and reduce cybersecurity risks.
This article will take a closer look at database management systems. We’ll explore the concept of database management systems, the basic principles of database management systems, and other essential aspects.
Types of Database Management Systems
We’ve defined a “database management system.” Next, it only seems natural to kick this introduction to database systems off with an examination of the types of software that address this issue.
Much of today’s world is about hierarchies. There are hierarchies in your family, in the sequence of actions when starting a car, and in many other aspects of life.
Hierarchy also permeates data in the form of hierarchical database management systems. These solutions typically use tree-like formats to organize data from top to bottom or from bottom to top. Each approach is characterized by “parent and children” information.
Regardless of the approach, one thing’s for sure – children can’t have multiple parents, but parents can have multiple children. The same rings true for data points, meaning they can’t have three or four “parents.”
A network database management system is similar to the hierarchical type. However, the two aren’t carbon copies of each other. The biggest difference is that “child” data can have more “parents” in a network DBMS. It allows IT professionals to accommodate complex information clusters.
The DBMS market is expected to soar to over $150 billion by 2030. You might think that such a valuable industry is only home to advanced solutions, but that’s not quite true.
Relational database management systems have a relatively simple premise – organizing data in columns and rows. In this respect, they work like Microsoft Excel and some other basic programs.
Object-oriented models use, well, models. They store all sorts of user information in structures known as classes.
Google and other internet giants process billions of terabytes of data daily. They need a robust database management solution that lets them stay on top of such vast quantities.
Salvation comes in the form of NoSQL. This system is incredibly scalable and flexible because it doesn’t require data set combinations. Therefore, it’s perfect for large-scale, big-data operations.
Finding a perfect database management system sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, it becomes an easier task if you have clear priorities. If you want a platform that combines the scalability of NoSQL and ACID compliance, check out NewSQL. It offers unrivaled data integrity, which also increases security.
Components of a Database Management System
Our introduction to database management systems has covered the DBMS definition, which answers the question “What is DBMS?” We’ve also explored various types of database management systems. Now let’s delve into the components of these solutions.
The engine of a database is like the foundation of a house. This core element processes every information and query that enters the system.
Data Definition Language (DDL)
You can’t have a house without a foundation, and you can’t build one without a roof either. That’s how important a DDL is to a database. It ensures pieces of information can interact with each other and facilitates data retrieval. It also allows you to modify certain parts of the structure.
Data Manipulation Language (DML)
The four basic operations of a database system are create, read, update, and delete. The DML is responsible for executing these tasks.
Data Control Language (DCL)
You’ve constructed the foundation of your house, but you need to keep intruders from entering with a door. A database also needs a door, and a DCL is the best solution. It determines who can access your system.
Internal transactions are common in all databases. A transaction management system controls them to ensure ACID compliance.
Database failure is like a devastating house fire that destroys everything – you don’t give up and do nothing. Instead, you rebuild the structure.
Database recovery works the same. It’s a set of tools that enables you to reconstruct your database from scratch.
Applications of Database Management Systems
A DBMS, especially a DBMS full form, has a wide range of applications. The technology is as versatile as a hybrid vehicle, meaning you can use it practically anywhere. Here’s where you can regularly find database management systems:
- Banking and finance – Financial institutions need a fully functional DBMS to process loan, account, and deposit information.
- Healthcare – Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have numerous patient records. Managing them is much easier with a DBMS.
- Telecommunications – Have you ever thought about how your cell phone carrier maintains your information and that of millions of others? The answer lies in a DBMS. It stores phone records and bills, among other crucial information.
- Education – If you’re a student, your school or college needs to keep track of your attendance, marks, and assignments. The best way to do so is to set up a database management system.
- E-commerce – How do various e-commerce platforms streamline your shopping experience? They implement a DBMS to recommend products and services, record your habits, and memorize your payment information.
- Government and public sector – The applications of database management systems for government are virtually endless. These include national security, voter registration, and social security.
Principles of Database Management Systems
Although there are numerous database management systems, they take the same approach to storing and organizing information. Each platform needs to follow these principles:
- Data independence – This principle is pretty self-explanatory. If you can change a piece of information in your database, your structure is independent.
- Data consistency – You might store the same folder in different locations on your computer for backup purposes. You should be able to do the same with data in your database without altering the information. If the data appears differently in various locations, it’s inconsistent.
- Data integrity – The last thing you want is to work with corrupt information. It can affect the rest of the database and grant unauthorized personnel access to your data. But none of this is an issue if your system has high data integrity.
- Data security – Data security is like home security – you don’t want invaders to steal your possessions. On the same note, you don’t want cyber criminals to tap into the system and compromise sensitive information.
- Data recovery – If your system shuts down unexpectedly, you need to be able to retrieve your information in its last saved state.
- Concurrency control – A database management system isn’t designed to perform just one operation. It can run numerous tasks simultaneously, which is why you need concurrency control to manage the execution of those operations.
Examples of Popular Database Management Systems
Here are some of the most common database management systems:
- Oracle database – A relational system that comes in two versions: cloud and on-premises.
- Microsoft SQL server – Another relational program, which is built on the SQL architecture.
- MySQL – Companies with large databases use MySQL to organize and control massive amounts of information.
- PostgreSQL – This is an object-relational database that complies with the SQL environment.
- MongoDB – A scalable and flexible system with optimized indexing and queries.
- IBM Db2 – If you’re looking for a platform developed by a tech giant, IBM Db2 is a great choice. It’s perfect for real-time information analysis.
Notes and Basics of Database Management Systems
To wrap up the discussion about database systems, we’ll cover the basics of database management systems and database management system notes:
- Importance of data modeling – Just as you tidy up your room to find clothes more easily, you want to model data to retrieve information effortlessly. The process eliminates redundant details for easier management.
- Database normalization – Another great way to reduce errors in a DBMS is to perform database normalization. It allows for accurate modifications and helps improve your workflow.
- Indexing and query optimization – By indexing the data in your system, you decrease the information your queries need to analyze. In turn, this leads to higher database efficiency.
- Backup and recovery strategies – IT professionals must have sound backup and recovery strategies in place. They reduce downtime associated with information loss after shutdowns or errors.
- Database administration and maintenance – A database administrator should formulate the overall strategy for the entire system. It simplifies maintenance and lowers the risk of errors.
The Concept of DBMS Demystified
Much of cutting-edge technology is an enigma, but hopefully, that’s no longer the case with database management systems. Hierarchical, network, relational, and other systems are instrumental in organizing information and making it more accessible. The onus is on IT professionals to master each solution applicable to their industry to improve their company’s workflows.
Future trends may put extra emphasis on this need. As most databases migrate to the cloud and organizations prioritize cyber security, IT experts will need to adapt their approach to database management.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.