What Does a Data Architect Do? And How to Become One

Updated March 12, 2023

Data architects evaluate existing data infrastructure and design, and execute subsequent databases for businesses. Data architects typically require exceptional creative reasoning and design skills to accomplish their duties and projects efficiently. Understanding the professional path of a data architect can help you determine if it's a suitable profession for you. In this article, we answer the question "What does a data architect do?", define their role, explore requirements to excel in the role, discuss their work environment, and explain how to become one.

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What does a data architect do?

To answer the question "What does a data architect do?," it's crucial to understand their job role and responsibilities. A data architect is a senior-level information technology expert who applies their technical knowledge of computer design to create databases that enable the evaluation and acquisition of large datasets. Data architects are critical problem solvers who employ a range of computing technologies to create and build data management and storage solutions for businesses.

Data architects assist businesses in achieving their strategic data management objectives. They also collaborate with data engineers and software developers to create plans for incorporating new databases. These professionals also help enterprises organize, store, and safeguard their data. They communicate with senior management, software engineers, and other relevant experts to evaluate data requirements and develop solutions that help businesses optimize their data. Additionally, a data architect is responsible for the following:

  • assessing a firm's existing databases and data structures

  • preparing end-to-end models for evaluation and usage

  • coding data structure and integrating current databases

  • exploring new data collecting techniques

  • refining and supervising databases

  • keeping the database secure

  • developing database protocols to guarantee the database's integrity

  • meeting with senior management and investors to ascertain their requirements and objectives

  • making sure data architecture conforms with all government and industry laws and guidelines

  • monitoring the database and establishing feedback mechanisms allow for ongoing refinement and improvement.

  • creating and implementing database management processes

  • studying new methods, applications, and solutions that may enhance a corporation data-related features

  • collaborating with marketing departments to develop prototypes before product releases

Read more: What Is Enterprise Architecture? (With Goals and Benefits)

Average salary of data architects

The national average salary of a data warehouse architect is $122,834 per year. Data architects may work full-time, part-time, or on a contract basis. Their typical annual salary may differ according to their location, level of software knowledge, education, experience, and the sector in which they operate. Here are a few differences between professions similar to a data architect:

Data architect vs. data engineer

There's a close relationship between the data architect and data engineer positions. The data architect is, in some aspects, a more specialized data engineer. Data architects and data engineers collaborate to envision and develop a corporation's data management structure. Data architects conceptualize, design, and organize data within a structure that data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists can use for their builds. Data engineers work with data architects to develop a proper data search and recovery infrastructure.

Data architect vs. data scientist

The data architect and data scientist positions share some similarities. Data architects are responsible for converting business needs into technical specifications, establishing data protocols and guidelines, and developing structures for data scientists to employ while developing models. Data scientists are specialists at developing models through the integration of information science, arithmetic, and statistics.

Requirements for data architects

The following are the essential requirements for becoming a data architect:


Data architects typically possess a bachelor's degree. Relevant disciplines include computer science, systems engineering, or informational technology. Courses that can be particularly beneficial for a profession in data architecture include classes in database management systems, data processing, system software, technology architecture, and system design. Data architects, particularly those aspiring for executive roles in larger businesses, can benefit from getting a master's degree in computer science or a similar subject. Additionally, an advanced degree can be helpful when applying for academics or research opportunities.

Related: How to Become a Cloud Architect in 4 Steps (With Skills)


The primary training of a data architect typically occurs during their education, whether through practical learning projects or internships. Employers may educate data architects about the firm's unique technologies and needs so they can understand how to use their skills and expertise in that particular setting. Additionally, these architects can join boot camps and workshops offered by institutions such as the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals to acquire extensive knowledge about specific job functions.

Some data architects may prefer to gain considerable experience in the information technology sector before applying for jobs. To get relevant experience, they may seek roles as data analysts, network or system administrators, or systems engineers.


Data architects can obtain certifications that can help showcase their skills in various aspects of their work. Most certifications necessitate personal study followed by an assessment. In some situations, recertification within a specified timeframe is necessary, but these specifications may differ. The following are some examples:

  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP): The CDMP is a popular credential provided by the Data Management Association and is available at four levels, that is, associate, practitioner, master, and fellow. Associates require a minimum of six months of experience, practitioners require two to ten years, a master typically requires ten years, and a fellow requires over 25 years of experience in the industry to be eligible for this certification.

  • Certified Data Professional: The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals offers this qualification to data architects. For this credential, candidates can select their area of focus, such as business intelligence, data analytics and design, information management, and data warehousing.

  • IBM Certified Data Architect-Big Data: This qualification concentrates on software such as BigInsights, BigSQL, Hadoop, and Cloudant (NoSQL). It indicates the recipient's capacity to collaborate closely with clients to find solutions for their needs using big data.


Data architects require a variety of technical and soft skills to perform their duties effectively, including the following:

  • Technical skills: Data architects require an understanding of a server software like Oracle, database administration, data modelling, visual analytics, and architecture solutions. Additionally, they may also require proficiency in coding languages such as Python, C, C++, and Java.

  • Communication skills: Data architects collaborate with executives, marketers, and other IT experts to ascertain the extent of a company's data requirements. Additionally, they may communicate their technological procedures and solutions to individuals who may not be in a related technical discipline, which requires good communication skills.

  • Analytical reasoning skills: Data architects aim to guarantee the security of the simplest data set and make sure that bulk data remains protected, safe, and sorted. Recognizing an issue and creating, integrating, and debugging the solution requires a detail-oriented and thorough evaluation of each task.

  • Time management and multitasking skills: Data architects' roles require prioritizing assignments, complying with deadlines, and establishing timeframes for project completion. Is a fast-paced field such as information technology, data architects require organizing their time carefully to make sure they fulfill their responsibilities without any delay.

Related: How to Become a Software Architect (With Salary and Skills)

The work environment for data architects

Data architects usually operate on-site at their organization. They typically may work full-time or take up freelance projects. Below are a few features that may be common to their work environments:

  • sitting for prolonged periods when using a computer

  • participating in meetings

  • presenting at seminars

  • analyzing data

  • producing reports

  • interacting with other IT professionals and experts from other industries

  • working extra shifts to meet deadlines

Some sectors where data architects can work include technology, finance, health care, government, entertainment, and education.

Read more: How to Become a Data Architect (With Essential Skills)

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Tips for becoming a data architect

To begin a profession as a data architect, you can consider the following tips:

  • Obtain a degree. A bachelor's degree in a discipline such as systems engineering, computer science, or information technology is the minimum qualification for entry-level employment as a data architect. A master's degree can be advantageous if you're interested in executive positions or working for larger organizations.

  • Get work experience. Securing an entry-level position as a data architect may require you to showcase some level of experience in handling data and data structures. Internship programs, training courses and boot camps where you developed and maintained such structures can be valuable to mention on your resume.

  • Obtain certification. You can select from a variety of software and data architecture qualifications offered by nonprofit organizations and software companies for certification. Earning one or more credentials can help demonstrate your depth of knowledge and commitment to the profession.

  • Draft a resume. Include your educational background, abilities, skills, and professional experience. Start with your most current and relevant work experience and mentioned the names of the companies along with the duration of your employment.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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