Clinical Database Manager

Zaheer supervises a small team of programmers and designs the databases which are used to hold data for Clinical Trials. “Most data is received on paper forms, although some data are directly entered into the database via the web,” Zaheer explains. “My responsibility is the design, and then I’ll perform the maintenance support for those databases.”

Zaheer works with the Trial Manager, Data Managers, and Medical Statisticians to determine how best to design and store data. He then works with his team of programmers to build databases. On a day to day basis, Zaheer makes sure that the databases are maintained and updates to the database are implemented. He also works as an administrator, overseeing database passwords and user access.

While Zaheer now also manages other programmers, and presents his work to other sections of the research team in meetings, he says his favourite part of the job is, “engineering the database. It gave me a real satisfaction, actually when you’d write something and it appeared on the screen, that you’d see the output as a tangible thing.”

Database management is not Zaheer’s first career. “From electronics, in India, I changed my job to be a software developer,” he says. “I went to university and I did an MSc in Software Development, then I ended up here at this clinical research centre. That’s how I entered into the clinical side, and I’ve been here for the last fifteen years.”

For people who would like to become Clinical Database Managers, Zaheer offers this advice: “The important thing is to learn the basics of programming by gaining a qualification via college or university and then some actual job experience.”

Photo of Zaheer Islam, Clinical Database ManagerZaheer Islam, Clinical Database Manager