As a database manager you’ll be working either in-house or for a range of clients to develop, manage and maintain a range of databases. The role comes with responsibility and you’ll be expected to oversee projects and ensure all members of your team are working on the right thing at the right time to keep databases in order.
Often, you’ll be expected to determine the best possible method of organising data, recording, then implementing it. The type of database and data you’ll deal with will depend on your employer or client. For example, you could be helping a gym maintain records of its members for example, or develop the most effective way for a commercial client to deal with its invoices.
Because so many businesses and sectors rely on technology, there is the opportunity to work alongside a wide range of organisations. This means as a database manager your work can involve a lot of variety and give you the chance to work in an industry you’re particularly interested in.
Your work will then help a number of people within an organisation, as well as assisting in the smooth operation of the business as a whole. For example, depending on their requirements, some companies may use the data for communications purposes, whereas some may use it for targeted marketing.
To help non-technical people understand how to use your system and ensure it’s used properly. You may also be writing reports and training manuals. You could also be involved in direct training, either of your own team or of employees that will use the system.
As a database manager, your daily tasks can also include:
- Overlooking database design
- Training and managing junior staff in your team
- Setting up and testing new database and data handling systems
- Monitoring database efficiency
- Designing and preparing reports for management
- Developing protocols for data processing
- Creating complex query definitions that allow data to be extracted
- Training colleagues in how to input and extract data
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At management level, you could progress to become a database specialist. This is becoming increasingly common due to the popularity of interactive, web-based databases. By becoming a specialist you have the option to work as a freelance consultant, which would offer you greater freedom. You’d have the option of picking projects and also working in gaps between projects to take a break from work.
With the management experience you’ll gain from a database manager role, you could also look to move towards another area of IT, like systems development or project management.
For a role in database management, employers will be looking for you to have the following:
- Strong analytical and organisational skills
- Eye for detail and accuracy
- Ability to understand business needs
- Strong leadership skills
- Understanding of structured query language (SQL)
- Knowledge of 'relational database management systems' (RDBMS), 'object oriented database management systems' (OODBMS) and XML database management systems
- Experience with their database software/web applications
- Up-to-date knowledge of technology
This is a high level position, and employers will expect you to have a relevant degree, such as computer science, statistics or demography. You’ll also need an advanced knowledge of programming in relevant languages and experience in a position of management or equivalent qualifications.
Much of the necessary experience can also be gained through a previous job in IT support, programming, web development or other IT roles. Alternatively, there are entry routes through graduate training programmes and apprenticeship schemes, allowing you to work your way up to database management.
Keeping up with the changes in the database technologies you use is often a pre-requisite, but you’ll also find you may have to stay up to date with technologies that link with the databases, such as skills in HTML if you’re managing information linked to an online database and office based software like Excel and Access, which will be used widely in the office.
Depending on your management experience, your employer may also send you on a number of management, communication or presentation courses to build up your skills.
Hours and environment
Your scheduled hours are likely to be 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but it's possible you'll be on call in case of any technical problems outside of these hours.
During large maintenance or development projects, there may also be some times when you need to work in the evening or weekends as you'll need to carry out the work with minimum disruption to the business.
If you work in-house you'll be based out of your office. If you work for a company that specialises in building databases for clients, then much of your time will be spent at the client's office.
The average database manager’s salary is around £38,000 to £39,000. With experience, this can be nearer to £42,000.
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