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Database Systems (MSc)


Course Description

This course has been designed to enhance your professional abilities, and deepen your knowledge and understanding of emerging, state-of-the-art database technologies. It will equip you with the range of highly marketable, hands-on skills required in data modelling, and in designing, managing, monitoring and administering corporate database systems divisions, information centres and webenabled database applications.

The course combines academic study with Oracle certification training, and you will be encouraged to take the associated Oracle exams and become an Oracle Certified Associate. It is suitable for recent graduates who wish to study for a higher qualification and/or gain relevant technical and professional skills in database systems. It's also a strong course for practitioners looking to enhance their professional abilities, develop their careers, and update their technical skills, knowledge and understanding of state-of-the-art and emerging technologies.

Course content

The course addresses new technologies, and advanced theories and techniques, along with their application, implementation and integration with legacy systems. You will analyse new demands and the application of new technologies in the management of data and information resources, and examine emerging technologies shaping the way data is now processed, accessed, retrieved, structured and modelled.

Embedded into the course are these themes that will help you to develop skills in the use and application of specific area in the database discipline. One theme is related to database administration and the ability to deliver and administer web-enabled database solutions. A second theme is related to database application development, and the ability to deliver web-enabled information systems solutions. The third theme focuses on the role of data architect, and the skills and knowledge needed to organise and design data and manage projects in a way that harnesses potential emerging technologies.

Teaching methods include lectures, student-led activity and smaller, instructor-led groups. You are encouraged to gain greater understanding of topics through practical activity and the use of scaled down versions of real life scenarios. The Oracle training materials that we use will prepare you to take the Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) exams. Assessment usually involves a combination of exams and coursework, leading to a product such as a presentation, group investigation, technical solution, a piece of software or a research review. Exams are normally two hour long and take place at the end of the year.

Core modules:

BUSINESS INFORMATION SYSTEM POSTGRADUATE PROJECT MODULE
The project module plays a unifying role, and aims to encourage and reward your individual inventiveness and application of effort. It is an exercise that may take a variety of forms and which provides you with the experience of planning and bringing to fruition a major piece of individual work.

BUSINESS SYSTEMS PROGRAMMING
This is a hands-on module that uses Java to develop your programming skills and to give you a good practical understanding of object-oriented programming and concepts. Topics covered include data structures, GUI programming, applets, database connectivity, server-side programming (using JSP). As part of the module, you will learn the fundamentals of Java programming; how to handle events through programming; how to design and implement web-based applications communicating with a database and how object-orientation can enable you to re-use existing solutions and to facilitate new designs of software components.

DATA MANAGEMENT AND REPOSITORIES
You will learn about the theoretical and practical issues related to technologies employed for the persistent storage of data. This module discusses and evaluates the underlying technologies used in capturing, maintaining and modelling persistent data. Pursuing this, the evolution of Database Management Systems, their components and functionality will be discussed, along with some of the predominant and emerging data models.

DATABASE LANGUAGES
This is a hands-on module that develops your database skills for the definition and manipulation of data constructs. You will use Oracle's SQL to learn the features and constructs that contemporary ad hoc Database Query Languages offer; Oracle's PL/SQL is used to teach the procedural and object-relational aspects of Data Query Languages; issues related to the efficient use of client/server programming constructs are also addressed. You will be given access to Oracle courseware that can help you with your preparation for Oracle Certification Exams, whereas the exercises and teaching materials used in this module are based on Oracle University materials.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
This module will develop further your research and industry skills required for your professional development, future career and study. Among the skills that will be strengthened are those related to the awareness of the professional, legal and ethical issues, the critical evaluation, the collection and analysis of information, and the development and defence of a sound project proposal.

Option modules

DATA WAREHOUSING AND OLAP
The module focuses and addresses recent technological developments in integrating and analysing large amounts of business data that today's transactional/operational enterprise systems are capable of collecting. You will explore multi-dimensional modelling, the integration of multi-source data and analysis, aiming to support better business decision making. Most of the topics covered in lectures will be associated with a number of supervised, Oracle-supported, computer laboratory/workshop sessions. The exercises and study materials used in these sessions will utilise material and courseware drawn from Oracle documents and Oracle university courses.

DATABASE ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
The module provides you with extensive coverage of the principles of database administration, including transaction management and control, backup and recovery, availability and security. It aims to define the role of the database administrator, to provide an in-depth appreciation of the underlying technical issues involved in managing a database within an organisation, and to investigate the mechanisms that are available to handle the additional complexity that arises from managing distributed and replicated data. Lectures and tutorials will be complemented by special workshops covering issues related to concepts and technologies used to administer Oracle installations. The exercises and materials used in these workshops will be drawn from materials used in Oracle University courses.

DATA VISUALISATION AND DASH-BOARDING
This module covers the theoretical and practical aspects of data visualisation including graphical perception, dynamic dashboard visualisations, and static data 'infographics'. Tools such as R and Tableau are used.

ENTERPRISE UTILITY COMPUTING
You will focus on technologies and software delivery methods based on the utility computing model at the networked enterprise. The module gives you an overview of the underlying concepts of utility computing, such as its business and service provisioning model, outsourcing, and virtualisation. You will also examine how clusters, grids and clouds can be utilised for enterprise computing, and what new challenges are raised regarding quality of service, security, and ethical and legal issues.

IT BUSINESS MODELS
This module provides you with an overview of emerging IT business models in the context of e-business and enterprise computing. You will cover different e-business models (B2B, B2C, B2A), and analyse the relationship between e-business/e-commerce front-ends and enterprise resource planning systems. You will also examine emerging B2C and B2B business revenue models based on the e-enterprise from technological, business, legal and ethical perspectives.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
You will examine the role of the project manager, together with the techniques used for project planning, scheduling, monitoring and controlling projects throughout the project life cycle. The PRINCE2 project management method is used as a framework for understanding the key issues, providing you with practical experience in using a project management software tool for project scheduling.

REQUIREMENTS AND SYSTEM MODELLING
This module introduces you to the discipline of requirement analysis through requirements modelling in order to capture, validate, specify and manage requirements in Information Systems Development (ISD) projects. You will also focus on the analysis of risks and failures of ISD projects, with emphasis on the role of requirement analysis when building 'right' systems.

SEMANTIC AND COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
This module will provide you with skills in manipulating XML-based and semantic web technologies, for modelling, querying and reasoning about distributed and interoperable data over the internet. You will understand the general vision and impact of collaborative and semantic web technologies and their applications, and be able to describe web resources in RDF and RDF schemas for supporting semantic interoperability and defining vocabularies for web resources. You will also learn how to develop, validate and query metadata documents in XML-based technologies, engineer ontologies using semantic web languages, and query and reason about ontologies using formal and descriptive logics.

SYSTEMS INTEROPERABILITY
This module analyses the problem of interoperability in data centric applications and gives you an insight into different approaches that addressed the problem in the last decade. You will focus on the impact of internet technologies on the interoperability of current database systems, discuss standards for data interchange and address interoperability of distributed heterogeneous database applications using XML-based web services.

WEB-ENABLED DATABASE APPLICATIONS
This module introduces techniques sued to analyse, integrate and interpret web and social data for purposed of understanding and optimising web site usage. The aim of the module is to prepare for an analyst career in the area of web or social media marketing. You will learn how web and social media data can be utilised to determine a website's effectiveness to conveying information to its users; about the different sources of web and social media data (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Web Logs) and how such data can be used to learn about and target a specific web audience; and you will develop practical experience in using several different types of online analytical tools (e.g. Google analytical, Bing Webmaster Tools and AWstats.

Associated careers

Graduates can expect to find employment as business systems analysts and designers, data analysts, database administrators, database application developers, database systems consultants, information resources managers, systems designers and systems integrators. Recent graduates have joined a variety of organisations, including Bank of America, Vodaphone, the Metropolitan Police, CGI, Network Rail, Business & Decisions, JCC Payment System, Jacobs Engineering, Virgin Media, Accenture, Chevron and a number of local authorities and NHS trust.

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the British Computer Society for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional.

Employability

At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Database Systems (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You are expected to have a good Honours degree (at least a Lower Second) from a UK university (or overseas equivalent) in an IT or computing discipline, or in another discipline that either provides important underpinning for or insight into IT and computing, or it is closely related to it (eg sciences or engineering). If you do not have the required formal qualifications, but you are already in employment, you may be considered if your role involves use for support of modelling techniques and database technologies deployed in the course.

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