Database managers help organizations manage mountains of data so information can be used more strategically to make business decisions and better serve customers.

In many organizations, the database manager role is responsible not only for the health of the database but also for managing a team of IT professionals who handle tasks such as configuring database systems or database programming.

An organization’s database manager may be required to collaborate with stakeholders in other business units to determine what data needs to be mined for customized reports, such as customer purchasing habits or inventory stocking trends. Database managers must apply robust technical expertise and strong leadership and communication skills necessary to coordinate efforts across departments efficiently and effectively.

Because the database manager role is so important, especially in large organizations that require management of voluminous amounts of data, companies tend to hire, train and then work hard to retain good database manager talent. “While the demand for database managers is currently not as strong as it is for other IT roles — such as network managers or mobile application developers — we do not see high turnover in the database manager role,” explains Chris Ferguson, Vice President of Technology Staffing Services and Legal Strategic Accounts for Robert Half Technology in Columbus, Ohio.

The salaries of database managers reflect the growing importance organizations place on mining data that can help them operate more efficiently, grow their market share and predict trends.

You can use the Robert Half Salary Guide to find database manager salary information specific to your city.

Database manager job description

So, what does it take to become a database manager? Here are some key qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher
  • At least five years of experience working with a database such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server or IBM DB2
  • Several years in a technical management position
  • Ability to think creatively and analytically
  • Leadership skills
  • Information system strategy planning skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively with senior IT managers

In terms of responsibilities, a database manager must maintain and support a company’s database environment and provide input to a chief technology officer or chief information officer regarding company data standards and practices. A database manager is also typically expected to make personnel decisions and team assignments; manage departmental budgets; and develop capacity planning, disaster recovery and performance analyses.

Becoming a database manager

“Even if they’re not the ones doing the actual data mining, database managers must stay apprised of current technology and methodologies in that area,” Ferguson says. “Staying close to the technologies your team is using is important for any database manager.” But he also notes that a database manager should have more than just IT skills. According to Ferguson, strong interpersonal skills and the ability to multitask effectively are must-haves.

You can help to strengthen your qualifications for the database manager role by seeking out opportunities that sharpen your business and managerial acumen. For example, taking part in in-house managerial training, volunteering to lead projects, or pursuing a master’s degree in information systems or business administration.