What does a Database Manager do?

Andrew Kirmayer

A database manager works with database management software and makes modifications based on how an organization needs to organize its data. This process involves communicating with employees in the company to decide on what the requirements are, and then creating an actual electronic database based on these needs. The database manager must also be able to test any modifications that are made during this process, to ensure the system is working properly and according to how it needs to be. Also known as a database administrator, this position also involves constant monitoring of the system, as well as its security protocols.

A database manager works with database management software and makes modifications based on how an organization needs to organize its data.
A database manager works with database management software and makes modifications based on how an organization needs to organize its data.

Any database must be able to identify and specify privileges to users. New users can be added, and it is the responsibility of the database manager to ensure it does this properly. If there are any errors, the manager needs to be able to correct them and make modifications, often times on the code level, so programming knowledge or the ability to communicate with a programmer on the project is necessary. An ability to coordinate development is also required, as the scope of the project often has to be determined. It is not uncommon for this person to operate as a database project manager.

Security is an important component of database management. Computer files must be protected, similar to how anti-virus and access control systems work. Passwords and security codes may have to be set, based on who has the privileges to see what information. For example, the database manager has the authority to view and modify what other users have access to. This job also entails the scheduling, planning, and supervision of all changes made to the database or computers on the network, and the review of changes asked to be made to gauge how long they will take and what they will cost.

A database manager is tasked with training others how to use the system, and should be available as much as possible in case employees have questions. In a way, the manager is also the technical support person. This job involves being comfortable working with computers as well as people, and constantly processing information from both. It is important to keep accurate records of what people request and of system information, such as errors and potential security risks, for later referral. A database manager also acts as a consultant to technical departments in the company as well as to management.

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Discussion Comments


@SkyWhisperer - I’ve noticed, however, that the database management system software has become quite user friendly.

At my work I have a SQL client application and it lets me perform basic queries and even run scripts. Of course I don’t think that this is the full scope of what a DBA would do, but it’s good to know that the process is not as esoteric as it once was.

Some companies get by without a DBA because their developers or system administrator can perform DBA level duties, at least well enough to meet the needs of their users.


@miriam98 - They’re definitely in high demand, at least from what I can tell – and they have permanent job security.

In some sense the DBA is the guardian of the company’s vital data. It does require administrative and programming skills but it is more suited to people who like the administrative rather the programming side of IT.

Our DBA also likes to work remotely, logging in from home as the need arises, to get his work done. You definitely need to have a certain profile to enjoy working in this kind of environment.


At our workplace we have a SQL Server DBA. The SQL database management involves backups of the database, new installs of SQL Server client software and of course granting permissions.

It seems like this guy is working constantly. I think he puts in work after hours and even on weekends too. Today we were at a conference and instead of listening to the speaker the DBA was on his laptop doing something, putting out a fire of some sorts.

It’s a high stress position. It pays very well of course but you do have a heavy workload. If the server crashes or you lose the data it’s all on your shoulders. As for me I’d rather just stick with programming.

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