What does a database manager do? (Plus salary and duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 September 2022

Published 30 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Almost all industries collect, store and use huge volumes of data every day. A database manager's role is to manage this data, ensuring that it's safe, stored efficiently and easily accessible when necessary. This involves understanding the technology behind databases, keeping up to date with advances in relevant tech and installing new software and features to keep an organisation's database up to contemporary standards. In this article, we explore the role of a database manager, answer the question, 'What does a database manager do?' and describe the duties.

What does a database manager do?

If you're wondering, 'What does a database manager do?', it's important to understand the purpose of a database manager's role. A database manager handles databases. This involves tracking information on elements such as inventory, supplies, equipment and policies within the business. A key part of the role is to ensure data accuracy by analysing current processes and developing future strategies to improve business efficiency. A database manager's role can be highly technical.

The main duties of a database manager are to design, implement, support and maintain databases for an organisation. It's likely that you require an IT background or specialised training before you can apply for this job. This usually entails at least three years of experience in systems analysis or computer programming, plus knowledge of relevant technologies. You also have good interpersonal skills, business acumen and the ability to manage projects independently.

Related: 10 jobs you can pursue with computer degrees (plus salary info)

Responsibilities of a database manager

The job of a database manager varies depending on what kind of business they're in. For example, large businesses often have their own dedicated department that handles all aspects of managing their databases whereas small organisations may employ one or more individuals to cover several roles that relate to databases. These are just some examples of tasks carried out by a database manager:

  • Maintain electronic files for easy access.

  • Organise data into different categories, for example, product lines.

  • Implement policies relating to the storage of data.

  • Review processes in place to handle databases, identifying opportunities for improvement.

  • Provide technical support when necessary.

  • Instal software to enhance databases.

  • Build new databases.

  • Implement strategies to keep data safe.

  • Liaise with stakeholders to manage expectations and understand organisational goals.

Related: A step-by-step guide to writing a database manager CV

What is it like to be a database manager?

As a database manager, most of your work is office-based. You spend most of your time working at a desk and your core office hours are generally 9am to 5pm, although you may work overtime occasionally when a deadline is coming up. Database managers work with other members of the IT department, plus coworkers in other departments, which requires spending a lot of your day working around other people. As a database manager, you rarely travel away from the office or stay away overnight.

How much does a database manager earn?

The national average salary of a database manager is £37,229 per year. Your salary as a database manager depends on how much experience you have and where you work. The highest paying cities for database managers are Leeds, Cambridge, Manchester and London. Big cities, often home to larger companies and businesses, are most likely to have the most opportunities for aspiring database managers.

Database managers work in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, law, insurance, healthcare and retail. There are a variety of work environments that a database manager can enter, from working for a small company to large enterprise organisations or even contracting. Your salary as a database manager may depend on which industry you work in, plus whether you choose to work as an employed member of staff or freelance.

What skills does a database manager have?

If you're considering a role as a database manager, it's important to understand what skills database managers use daily. Alongside having strong technical skills in IT systems and databases, database managers remain organised and are strong communicators. As a database manager, it's important that you keep your knowledge of database technology up to date so that you can constantly update and improve your organisation's databases to meet contemporary standards. The most important skills include:

Knowledge of database systems

Database systems consist of programmes that enable organisations to collect, store and organise data. Knowledge of database systems is a fundamental requirement for virtually any job in the sector. Depending on the size of your organisation or role within it, you could work with relational databases, object-oriented databases, flat file databases or web-based databases. Technical knowledge of IT systems and some coding skills are also important.

Good communication skills

It's important that database managers are good communicators because they spend much of their time liaising with other departments within the company, such as marketing and sales. Database managers require strong communication skills because they often present ideas or feedback on how to improve databases for senior members of the business. This, in particular, requires strong verbal communication skills and confidence.

Related: 12 ways to improve your manager communication skills

Problem-solving abilities

Database managers know how to solve complex problems in creative ways. The job entails research and analysis of data, which means it's important you're able to think analytically and draw conclusions from the data in front of you. Database managers also use their problem-solving skills to develop plans that increase the efficiency of database systems in the workplace. For example, you might explore new technologies or processes to enable the database to work faster and more efficiently.

The ability to work under pressure

The job of a database manager can often involve working under pressure and meeting tight deadlines. This calls for the ability to work well in an environment where time frames are short, clients have high expectations and you're required to carry out several tasks simultaneously. For this reason, it's important that database managers remain calm in highly stressful situations and can cope with the pressure.

Collaborative skills

Good team-working abilities are essential because database managers often work closely with other members of their department and even members of other departments, such as marketing or sales. This is because employees across the entire company use the databases that you're managing for your organisation. Collaborating with others entails using effective communication, negotiation and decision-making skills to achieve your organisational goals and work with other people effectively.

What qualifications do database managers have?

Now that you know the answer to 'What does a database manager do?', it's important to understand what qualifications you require that you demonstrate your knowledge of databases and your skills in IT. Most database managers have at least an undergraduate degree, but many have further qualifications that reveal their expertise with databases. Below is a list of some qualifications you can study to gain the skills and knowledge you might use in a career as a database manager:

Undergraduate degree

Most database managers have a relevant undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering, IT, statistics or another relevant subject. During your degree, you can opt to choose modules in database technology to increase your knowledge in this field, alongside studying other relevant skills, including programming and IT support. An undergraduate degree equips you with the knowledge and skills you require to secure an entry-level position in database administration, from which you can work your way up to becoming a database manager.

Related: What is a computer science degree? (With skills and careers)

Postgraduate degree

You can increase your chances of securing a role as a database manager or speed up your career progression by studying for a postgraduate degree such as a Master's. Postgraduate degrees in subjects relevant to the field of database management include computer science and software engineering degrees, plus some business degrees, including an MBA. This could improve your soft skills, such as communication and organisational skills, plus your business acumen. A postgraduate degree in a relevant subject is also important if your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated field.

Industry certifications

You can also work towards industry qualifications during your career as a database manager. As a database manager, it's important to keep your knowledge of database technology contemporary at all times. Studying for new industry certifications can help you keep your knowledge up to date and show employers you're on top of the most recent developments in database technology. Sometimes, your employer may sponsor you to take courses that help you keep your knowledge current.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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