Last fall, I went back to night school to teach. The teaching position for "CIS255: Introduction to Database Systems" was open at a small liberal arts school, and it looked like a good opportunity to see how data administration was being taught today. (My computer science degree was earned before relational databases became widely used and included only a "[flat] File Structures" course. Data management was definitely not on the syllabus.)

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The poorly named text devoted a full five chapters to data design and included conceptual and logical, as well as physical, modeling. Although a few students were honest enough to admit that their reason for taking the class was to pass so they could obtain their degrees, most were developers or business users who had seen the effects of bad data design and expected to apply what they learned to their day jobs. I was glad to see that a class focused on data management topics had achieved "required" status.

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