Data Manager Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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Data managers made a median annual salary of about $80,280. Is this salary worth the educational and training requirements for the job? Learn about job descriptions, important skills and current job postings to see if this career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Data Manager Career

Many businesses employ data managers to keep track of their information, so high demand is expected for these workers in upcoming years. Read on for more pros and cons to this career.

Pros of Being a Data Manager
An expected good employment growth (15% for the years 2012-2022)*
Relatively good pay (median annual income about $80,280)*
Employment opportunities in a variety of industries*
Specializations are available*

Cons of Being a Data Manager
A fourth of these managers worked overtime*
A bachelor's or a master's degree may be required*
Prior work experience in a technology field is often required*
Possibility of stressful situations, since data managers must be accurate and deal with sensitive information**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **ONet Online

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Data managers, or database administrators, help companies maintain and store all kinds of information. They make sure that the data is secure and cannot be compromised easily. Some of these workers help companies or clients set up adequate databases and systems. Some data managers specialize in the physical nature of a database, while other professionals work with specific applications like a customer service program.

These professionals help customers access their accounts or personal databases on behalf of a company. Workers may need to learn coding and database languages in order to modify systems, descriptions and databases.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projects that database administrators will enjoy a 15% employment growth for the years 2012-2022. This growth is considered faster than average for all careers. Because proper data storage is so important for all businesses, these workers have good job prospects.

According to the BLS, database administrators made median annual earnings of about $80,280 in May 2014. During that same time, the highest paid workers, those in the 90th percentile and above, made $123,780 and up. In July 2015, Payscale.com reported generally lower figures for data managers, with a median salary of $53,621, and most earning between $36,000 and $98,000.

Requirements for This Career

You will have to get a bachelor's degree in a field related to computers or information to work as a database manager. One specific major you can consider is in management information systems (MIS). Some employers may require applicants to have a master's degree, so that they can work with more complex databases or systems.

Many data managers must garner enough work experience in the field. The BLS mentions that you may have to work up to this job position. You might work as a data analyst, a database developer or a similar occupation with advancement opportunities.

Useful Skills

A strong affinity for technology and problem-solving skills are required for this career. All data managers should know the latest and most commonly used database systems and programming. According to the BLS, O*Net Online and several job postings, you should have these other qualities and skills:

  • Interest in technology and learning new things
  • Familiarity with database languages like SQL
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to analyze and solve technical problems
  • Attentive to detail
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to work on a team

Job Postings from Real Employers

You can find job postings for both data managers and data administrators from Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. Generally, job postings requested that applicants have a bachelor's degree and three years of work experience. While all applicants should have strong data management knowledge, some employers in a non-computer science field, like healthcare, also preferred applicants who had prior experience in the field. Here are some job postings from May 2012:

  • A biotechnology company in California asked for a data manager with a bachelor's degree and at least 2-4 years of work experience with clinical research. Applicants must be proficient in Adobe PDF Editor and Microsoft Office applications, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint. The employer preferred applicants who knew how to work with document management systems and Web design programs like MyTeams or Sharepoint.
  • A technical services corporation in Nevada sought a data manager with a high school diploma or an associate's degree. Applicants needed to have at least three years of work experience and the ability to receive security clearance. The data manager would manage military documents and work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • An information technology company in Virginia needed a data manager with a bachelor's degree and 8-10 years of experience with data security administration and security documentation like System Security Plan (SSP) and Security Readiness Traceability Matrix (SRTM). The employer greatly desired applicants who had the following certifications, Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) in GSEC, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
  • A healthcare company asked for a database administrator with a bachelor's degree in computer science or MIS. The employer asked applicants to have at least three years of work experience with SQL Server. They preferred applicants who knew how to work with Medicare and Medicaid. Applicants should be able to travel.

How to Stand Out in the Field

The BLS says that you could pursue certification from various vendors or other information technology (IT) companies. This process is voluntary, but many employers prefer to see this kind of designation. This is because certification suggests that the data manager has met an industry standard in both knowledge and experience. Most certifications must be maintained or renewed.

O*Net also lists some important technology that data managers should be familiar with while working. You could learn about software for backup, database management, metadata management and operating systems to improve your job marketability. Some examples include Microsoft programs, C++, Oracle DataGuard, MySQL, Perl and UNIX.

Alternative Careers

Software Developers

If you are looking for a creative career with fairly good salaries, then you can become a software developer. These workers think up new computer programs or systems based on customer needs. Workers usually have a bachelor's degree in the field of computer science.

According to the BLS, software developers of systems software made median annual earnings of about $97,000 in May 2011. During that same time, the BLS reports that software developers of applications made the median annual wage of about $89,000. The BLS also predicted a favorable expected employment growth of 30% for all software developers in the years 2010-2020. This favorable growth is due to the large demand for new and better computer programs or systems.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

If you were looking for a similar career to data managers, you can become a computer and information system manager. According to the BLS, these workers made a median annual wage of about $118,000 in May 2011. These workers usually have a bachelor's degree or a master's degree.

Professionals who work in the IT department must maintain the technological standards for a business. This may include installing new systems, directing the efforts of IT professionals and negotiating prices with vendors. The BLS projected 18% employment growth for these workers for the decade 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

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    1. Georgetown University

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    3. Colorado State University Global

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      • MS in Business Intelligence & Analytics
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Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • BSIT - Information Management
  • Associate: Information Technology

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Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

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Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Business Intelligence & Analytics

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Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

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Northcentral University

  • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

The Art Institutes

  • Visual & Game Programming (BS)
  • Visual & Game Programming (BA)

What is your highest level of education?