The problem is, that asking for too much will turn away many many candidates. As will probably a too high salary, as people wrongly will think they are not worthy of it.
That is not to say you should lower the salary. Sometimes it's better not to write it or put a range, so you can capture more people.
Is ARK the place down in Holborn ? Where @bringmoredata works..? That Tableau tool looks cool. Something to keep an eye on from DfE
I agree with @LosOjos - and was think about blogging on the subject - Excel skillz should be the most highly regarded. SQL experience is desirable.
I don't care if anyone knows about Word, everyone says they do, and then fails miserably. Just make sure they can spell and have good grammar, anyone worth their salt at Excel will be a good all rounder.
I would ask for someone with an aptitude for playing around with numbers, spreadsheets and data, someone that wants to put data to good use. Imagine the type of person you want and what they like to do rather than a set of skills, so the applicant can identify if they are that type of person. Then list desirable and essential skills, and i think you'd get away with a much lower set of skills. I think describing a person is better particularly for a DM role as they are always so varied. Saying you want someone who understands SQL + BI etc. is good, but if you get someone techy who enjoys that sort of thing, they'll learn it rapidly. It sounds like you may well want SQL and some other stuff, but if that is what you need, experience of the MIS won't matter much.
If you did implement the above, you will probably end up with way more applicants, and the onus is on your to filter them, but that's better than not getting enough or missing out on someone good who wouldn't have otherwise applied.
To get some high calibre candidates, it's worth talking to ESP - Education Support Professionals @Will_Townsend knows a lot of good DMs - he placed me out here many moons ago.
Hi. Experienced data manager here and I actually noticed the job advert and considered it, but I didn't apply due to not being sure if you were industry-side or school-side. I'm also rather happy where I am since I too was poached.
But yes, school management teams seem to prefer spreadsheets and particular database packages specific to schools (SIMS is the largest in the sector and denies direct SQL access) so if you are dead set on a school data manager you might want to be ready to give them some refresher SQL training which is the cost of someone who knows the DfE Minefields (and make it desired instead of essential). Of course, you may get someone who knows SQL and that would be a great bonus! This is actually one of my bug bears about the role, keeping SQL skills up is hard as the only thing I have at the moment to toy with SQL is the obscure MSQUERY application in Office that screams Windows 3.11 era.
bringmoredata and I work in the same team at ARK Schools, which is a charity running schools in England. We currently have 27 schools and are growing every year. We care A LOT about data. We are not just another academy sponsor. We do things differently to improve the life chances of our students.
The problem we have is that, for this role, we need someone who knows SIMS because we took onboard two schools with SIMS last summer (all the others using CMIS) and we lack SIMS expertise at the central team to be able to support them in an intelligent manner. This is the core skill we are looking for and everything else is secondary. For this particular role, we originally thought that it would be helpful to hire someone who already knew SIMS as it would be odd to hire someone who knows less than the schools they would be supporting. SQL, CMIS and everything else is secondary, what we look for is someone techy and with the intellectual curiosity to pick up those things quickly. We are an expanding team with very big plans, and we want to find the closest fit.
You are asking for a lot of the person you want in the role, and offering less than what said person would be worth.
Qualified to A-Level standard or equivalent - Not much of an issue here, reasonable ask
A degree from a technical background is preferable - What sort of technical background? Applied Physics is technical, as is Engineering. You leave this open to interpretation way too much.
Appropriate and relevant professional qualification - OK, so what exactly? ITIL? FITS? Prince2? BCS?
Right to work in the UK. - Fair enough
Experience working with SIMS.net. - Fair enough, though tandemed with CMIS will be difficult to find
SQL Server 2005 / 2008 / 2012 experience - Fair enough, but not many MIS systems allow you to go and fiddle with the SQL
The role of data in an education context - Fair enough
Some experience in CMIS Facility - Tandemed with the SIMS you will have a tough time!
Experience in a client facing role. - Fair enouhg.
I think 30-35k is pretty decent.
There are a lot of techs in Education with a degree, and are earning far less than that.
I fit most of that criteria, but it's too cold in the UK for me
Those of you with SIMS, but wanting to keep up SQL practise, it's actually a good place to have a look around. If you try to get your head around SIMS, then your SQL skills will really develop en route.
Obviously don't mess with the live system, make a backup and stick it on a test server. Then you can have a play and see what's around, if you have the time and inclination. Particularly when you end up saying to a user, ah, well SIMS can't do that....
e.g. here's an old script i knocked together because somebody in the admin office wanted to know how many documents they had linked manually to the student records.
Code:use sims select dm.attachment_name, dm.last_modification_date, dm.last_modified_by, dm.note, dm.summary, dm.entity_id, dm.created_by_id, per.surname, per.forename, stud.latest_adno from sims.stud_student stud join sims.dm_document_710 dm on dm.entity_id = stud.person_id join sims.sims_person per on dm.entity_id = per.person_id where dm.attachment_name IS NOT NULL AND dm.last_modification_date > '2010-09-30 00:00:00' AND dm.created_by_id = '9'
CAM (6th March 2014)
I'm surprised you aren't a consultant yet Vik!
I know plenty (well, at least 5) of people here 'up North' who fulfil all the criteria (& more besides, with many years experience), but... everyone I know with these levels of experience (myself included) are mid30s to mid40s with families / working partners / mortgage, getting paid almost what you're offering to fulfil DM role in a SINGLE school, who adapted into that role many years ago and have no particularly relevant qualifications beyond O-Level/GCSE & ECDL. Add in to the equation  it's London, and  you'd be asking them to support up to 27 establishments - the money wouldn't be enough. Asking for a Degree and SQL Server experience is too limiting. A knowledge of SQL query language, yes. A knowledge of SQL Server? No - IT Support's dept.
If no locally suitable candidates are making themselves apparent, up the cash, or reduce the Experience & wage and just look for SIMS experience imo.
JDiaz (6th March 2014)
@JDiaz - get on to LinkedIn, Capita have a group where you could advertise, i think that's allowed.
Also, if you ask nicely they might let you advertise on SupportNet too.
That's a sure fire way to get the SIMS experience you want which seems like your strongest requirement.
The only people I know who fit this criteria are all living in the north on the same salary. I can speak from recent experience having met the team at Ark and say that it would be an amazing opportunity for someone, but I do maintain that for the kind of skilled professional you're looking for, considering the location, you're in the wrong salary range for attracting anyone who isn't currently in London, and that limits you a fair amount.
I thought about it - but for me, the transport costs to London would eat up any raise in pay, and have longer commute/hours.
I have seen a few Data Manager jobs around London on LinkedIn. If only there were a few around the S West. I'm itching to move away from the LA and seriously considering moving away from SIMS and schools.
I will be forever grateful that my current employer decided to take a punt on an Oracle DBA who was looking for a change.
Schools are weird places with strange ways and the education sector has many quirks and requires some specialist knowledge, but it can be learned. My advice would be to focus on what the person can bring to the school and their ability to learn, innovate and work hard. Don't get too hung up on prior knowledge of particular MIS systems, even relatively inexperienced IT professionals will have used dozens of different systems in their careers.
Pity its not more local to me as i have SIMs, CMIS & Progresso experience . My background started as an Information Assistant working for the local county council (spreadsheets, Access, basic SQL), this progressed into a more senior role within data management, got a DM job back in 2006 when they were relatively new, moved back to council to be an MIS trainer, moved to ACS as a Progresso trainer, now back in a large secondary school as a DM & Exams manager. Plenty of places to poach people, i would start with the councils information teams, especially as some teams within councils provide a service to schools that support their MIS.
For reference i saw a CMIS Consultant advertised in London a few months ago for £50k, that was an academy group but i can remember which one
In my opinion you will need someone with
essential 3+ years data management experience, excellent excel/access skills,
Preferable knowledge of educational reforms, SIMS/CMIS (not a deal breaker imo as i got my role as a sims manager with no sims exp[erience at all!), SQL is a bonus.
Last edited by mark80; 13th March 2014 at 01:15 PM.
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