DBA Manager Job Description
DBA managers, also known as database administration managers, lead an organization’s data management, security, and migration initiatives while providing day-to-day direction for a team of database administrators and specialists. In this role, the DBA manager examines their organization’s current data management systems and identifies opportunities to enhance performance and prepare for growth.
This role balances technical leadership with the ability to understand how data management supports overall organizational goals. The DBA manager also plays a key role in crisis management and data recovery, both developing strategies to handle these events and working directly with database administration systems to resolve them.
DBA Manager Duties and Responsibilities
While the DBA manager’s responsibilities often depend on their specific organization, we identified several core duties in the job postings that we analyzed:
Develop Database Infrastructure
The primary responsibility of the DBA manager is to provide guidance and leadership on creating and maintaining organizational data. The DBA manager determines how to most effectively create and structure data storage systems, leveraging their familiarity with one or more database management systems to create and enact a data infrastructure system that’s robust and secure but that still provides necessary personnel with the access they need.
Direct Database Administration Teams
From day to day, DBA managers lead and oversee teams of data specialists to support their organization’s data storage and access needs. The DBA manager identifies projects and sets priorities, ensuring that team members provide excellent user support and adhere to best practices. In some cases, the DBA manager may work with administrators to handle escalations related to user access or data management issues.
Identify System Shortcomings
DBA managers identify potential shortcomings within an organization’s data infrastructure, including areas where there’s potential for data loss or unauthorized access. This can be a continuous process, as changes to the system can require examining other components of the database to prevent new vulnerabilities from appearing. DBA managers then work with their teams to develop short- and long-term solutions.
Resolve Database Issues
In most organizations, DBA managers play an active role in resolving database issues when they arise. This can range from discovering that data has been lost or corrupted to supporting recovery efforts after server failures. Working closely with their database administration team, DBA managers identify what actions are needed to prevent further loss and ensure reliable access to database systems that support organization-wide activities.
Support Data Backup Activities
DBA managers enact plans for data backup activities, including determining backup schedules and deciding when to remove obsolete data. In this aspect of the role, DBA managers must follow laws and guidelines for data retention, manage server space, and provide their organization with rapid access to business-critical data in the event of a crash.
Develop Reporting Protocols
Finally, DBA managers lead efforts in reporting and documentation related to database activities. This can involve monitoring daily activity and system logs and working with database administrators to prepare reports related to issues that arise while managing data. In some organizations, the DBA manager may also need to provide these reports to oversight agencies to ensure that they’re following guidelines for data management.
DBA Manager Skills and Qualifications
DBA managers provide big-picture guidance and day-to-day operational oversight for an organization’s data storage and security. Companies tend to hire candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, extensive database administration experience, and the following skills:
- Data management – DBA managers need extensive familiarity with the best practices and principles of data storage, and should be able to provide strategic direction for managing growing databases
- Data security – in this role, DBA managers make key decisions about data privacy and security, so they should be very knowledgeable about data security, particularly during backups and migration
- Team leadership – DBA managers work with teams of data specialists, so the ability to direct and coordinate team members to achieve department and organization goals is a necessity
- Communication skills – written and verbal communication are necessary in this role, since DBA managers must effectively communicate both with their teams and with stakeholders and personnel
- Problem-solving skills – DBA managers frequently develop and deploy creative and technical solutions to database-related issues, so the ability to assess issues and quickly create solutions is vital
Tools of the Trade
DBA managers tend to work in offices and should be familiar with standard office equipment and programs in addition to the following:
- Database administration programs (Oracle, Microsoft Access)
DBA Manager Education and Training
Typically, DBA managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as information technology, computer science, or engineering. However, many companies prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree in one of these fields. Most DBA managers also have extensive database administration experience and are familiar with one or more database systems, such as MySQL or Oracle. Achieving certification in database administration through Microsoft or Oracle can also improve employment prospects.
DBA Manager Salary and Outlook
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates for DBA managers, both Glassdoor and PayScale have gathered pay data for this role. According to Glassdoor, DBA managers earn an average annual salary of $103,803 based on 18,785 reported salaries. PayScale estimates that average yearly pay for DBA managers is $107,075 based on 374 salary reports.
The BLS doesn’t provide employment outlook information for DBA managers, but its findings indicate that employment for database administrators will increase at a faster-than-average rate of 11 percent through 2026.
We searched the web and found several resources if you’d like to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a DBA manager:
“5 Critical DBA Best Practices” – read this blog post to learn effective principles in database administration, including standardization, data backups, and proper security procedures
Database Administration: The Complete Guide to DBA Practices and Procedures – Craig S. Mullins’ book teaches best practices and the principles behind database administration across platforms and operating systems
“Behavioral Economics in Managing Database Administrators” – this blog post explores the personnel management side of a DBA manager’s role, including how to build and lead effective data management teams
Database Design, Application Development, and Administration – Michael Mannino’s essential textbook provides all the information database designers and administrators need to create and maintain enterprise-level databases
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