Data Architect Job Description

Data architects build databases based on structural requirements and in-depth analysis. They also thoroughly test and maintain those databases to ensure their longevity and overall efficiency. This is a full-time role that requires advanced skills and education. Data architects mostly work at a computer in a traditional office setting, and they typically report directly to a project manager. Successful data architects are analytical and logical in everything they do.


Data Architect Duties and Responsibilities

The data architect’s duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the industry in which they work. Based our research of current job listings, most data architects perform the following core tasks:

Evaluate Current Data Systems

Data architects are responsible for evaluating the current state of the company’s databases and other data systems. They analyze these databases and identify new solutions to increase efficiency and performance.

Define Database Structure

Data architects define the overall database structure, including recovery, security, backup, and capability specifications. This definition provides a way for data architects to determine overall requirements for database structure.

Propose Solutions

After analyzing, evaluating, and defining current database structures, data architects create and propose solutions to upper management and stakeholders. This often includes designing a new database and presenting it to interested parties.

Implement Database Solutions

Data architects are responsible for implementing the database solutions they propose. This entire process includes developing process flows, coordinating with data engineers and analysts, and documenting the installation process.

Train New Users

Since data architects are the experts in the new database solutions they design and implement, they make the perfect trainers for new users. They may also be responsible for training new data analysts and data engineers.


Data Architect Skills and Qualifications

Data architects should use logical and analytical thinking to come up with creative and innovative database solutions. Employers look for candidates who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer engineering and at least five years of experience in a data analysis position. Successful data architect candidates also demonstrate the following skills and qualifications:

  • Data analytics – data architects are experts in everything data related. They know exactly how data is collected, analyzed, and delivered. They’re also familiar with both the technical and user-facing sides of databases
  • Scripting languages – data architects should be familiar with scripting languages such as PHP, C, and SQL
  • Project management experience – the data architect is responsible for each phase of new database implementation. As such, they should be experienced project managers who know how to meet deadlines and create efficient solutions that involve multiple teams
  • Attention to detail – successful data architects pay meticulous attention to details and have a deep understanding of how even the smallest details fit into the big picture
  • Critical thinking – data architects tackle problems by first evaluating them and thinking of several different potential solutions. They use their critical thinking skills to deliver the most efficient solution based on database structure and requirements


Tools of the Trade

Data architects often use the following tools in their daily workflow:

  • Database management tools (Microsoft SQL Server, phpMyAdmin)
  • Data modeling tools (Oracle SQL Developer, Database Workbench, ER/Studio)
  • Data visualization tools (Excel, Tableau)


Data Architect Education and Training

Data architects should have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering before they land a job. However, most employers prefer to hire data architects with master’s degree and at least five to seven years of experience in data analysis and management. Additional certification in project management may also be required depending on the employer.


Data Architect Salary and Outlook

According to PayScale, the median annual salary for data architects is $112,825. This salary increases depending on experience and advanced education. The top 10 percent of data architects make as much as $153,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent make as little as $74,463. Data architects are also eligible to receive extensive benefits through their employers, such as health insurance with premiums fully paid and unlimited time off. They may also receive incentive-based bonuses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that database administrators, a field very similar to data architects, will experience growth of 11 percent in the next decade. Database-as-a-service is growing in popularity, which only increases the need for more data architects as companies expand.


Helpful Resources

Read through some of these helpful resources to learn more about being a data architect:

Database Journal – one of the most popular and helpful websites for database professionals, Database Journal contains a wealth of information on a huge number of topics, such as MySQL, Oracle, and PHP, and provides tips, tutorials, and articles that help you better manage your databases

Oracle Database Insider – Oracle is one of the biggest names in the database game, and its blog contains a ton of useful information, including posts that help you update and modernize your databases

r/Database – this subreddit has over 16,000 subscribers and provides a forum where you can ask questions or read through posts to glean more information. The subscribers here are helpful and friendly, so don’t hesitate to get involved

Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design – this book shows you how to design structurally sound databases that make sense. Topics covered in the book include database models, the purpose of good database design, and database analysis

Data and Reality: A Timeless Perspective on Perceiving and Managing Information in Our Imprecise World – this book was written in 1978 but still manages to maintain its timeless perspective in today’s world. It gives you significant insights into the world of data processing that are still relevant to today’s databases, and the third edition has been updated with examples that make sense with technological advances


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