How to Become a Data Architect

By | February 11, 2024

With data architecture, you design and organize the data that your business relies on. You create tables, fields, and relationships to get your information where you need it. In other words, you create the structure that allows your data to be analyzed and used in a way that best suits your business needs. Data architects are essential in any company because they understand how to effectively use data to achieve their business goals.

What Does a Data Architect Do?

Learn About Being a Data Architect


Being a data architect is a key role in any organization. By understanding the data that makes up your business, you can better manage it and create efficient and effective systems. There are many different data architects, but this article is focused on data engineers. A data engineer is responsible for developing and maintaining the technology that stores, processes, and stores data for an organization.

What does a data architect do?

A data architect is a professional who helps design and deploy data solutions for organizations. They work with business stakeholders to create an efficient and effective data management system that meets the needs of the organization.
In addition to helping with the design and deployment of a data management system, a data architect may also be involved in the analysis and interpretation of data, as well as the construction of models and tools to help with analysis.

Data architects help companies manage, store and secure their data. They work with upper-level management, computer engineers and other relevant professionals to assess data needs and create systems that help a company optimize its data. Data architect duties include:

  • Evaluating current databases and architecture to plan what changes, upgrades and improvements they need to make

  • Creating models and plans for database structures

  • Coding and designing databases

  • Ensuring all data is secure

  • Ensuring data structures comply with all local, state, federal and industry standards and regulations

  • Monitoring database and setting up feedback systems to refine and constantly improve

  • Writing and establishing procedures for database management

  • Researching new techniques, software and products that could improve a company’s data-related functions

  • Working with marketing teams to create models before product launches

What is a data architect salary?

A data architect salary is a salary that is typically given to individuals who have special skills in designing, administering, and maintaining large-scale data systems. A data architect job may require a college degree in computer science or related field, as well as experience working with big data and data analysis tools. The median salary for a data architect is about $100,000 per year.

Average salary

Data architects are usually full-time employees, although some work on a part-time, freelance or contractual basis. Their salaries depend on their education level, experience and the size of the company for which they work.

Though there is not detailed salary information for a data architect, similar job titles provide an idea of what these professionals typically make:. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary for data warehouse architects in the U.S.: $131,930 per year

  • Common salary for senior solution architects in the U.S.: $152,658 per year

  • Common salary for software architects in the U.S.: $136,904 per year

  • Some salaries range from $49,000 to $273,000 per year.

Data architect requirements

Becoming a data architect has several requirements, including:


A bachelor’s degree is a requirement for data architects. Relevant fields include computer science, computer engineering or informational technology. Coursework that can be especially useful for a career in data architecture includes classes in database systems, data management, operating systems, technology architecture and systems analysis.

Many data architects, especially those seeking positions in leadership and larger corporations, also have master’s degrees in computer science or a data-related field. An advanced degree can also be an advantage when seeking a teaching or research position.


Much of a data architect’s training takes place while obtaining their education, whether by completing hands-on projects or during internships. Employers may train data architects in the specific systems and requirements of the company to understand how to apply their knowledge and skills to the specific environment. Data architects can also attend boot camps and workshops conducted by organizations, such as the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals, to gain additional knowledge about specific aspects of the job.

Many data architects have extensive experience in the information technology field before applying for positions. They may seek positions as data analysts, network or database administrators, or systems engineers to gain relevant experience.


Data architects can acquire several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in different aspects of their job. Most require self-study followed by an examination. In some cases, recertification within a certain period is necessary, but these requirements vary. Here are some examples:

Certified Data Management Profession

Offered by the Data Management Association, the CDMP is one of the well-known certifications data architects can earn. There are four levels of certification: associate, practitioner, master and fellow. Associates must have at least six months of experience, practitioners must have two to 10 years, a master must have at least 10 years and a fellow must have more than 25 years of experience in the field. To become a fellow, applicants need to pass examinations related to the first three levels and receive a nomination from a member of the DMA.

Certified Data Professional

Data architects can earn this certification from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals. Applicants for this certification can choose an area in which to specialize, including business analytics, data analytics and design, data governance, data integration and interoperability, data management, data warehousing, information systems, data stewardship, enterprise data architecture, and data and informational quality.

IBM Certified Data Architect-Big Data

This certification focuses on software such as BigInsights, BigSQL, Hadoop and Cloudant (NoSQL). Recipients of this certification can demonstrate their ability to work closely with customers to translate their requirements into a big data solution.

Big Data Hadoop Architect Master’s Program

For data architects looking to focus on Hadoop technologies, this certification will teach mastery of real-time processing using Spark and NoSQL technology as well as the use of Storm, Kafka and Impala.


Computer engineers need several soft and hard skills to help them do their job well, including:

Technical skills

Data architects should have a familiarity with a variety of software, including application server software like Oracle, database management, data modeling, visualization and architecture tools. They should also know programming languages, such as Python, C, C++ and Java.

Communication skills

Data architects communicate with managers, marketing professionals and other IT professionals to understand the scope of the organization’s data needs. They also explain their technical processes and solutions to others who may not be in a similar technical field. Clear and open communication ensures that each understands the other’s expectations and limitations.

Analytical thinking

A data architect is always problem-solving at both the micro and macro levels. Not only do they need to assure the integrity of the smallest piece of data, they also have to ensure that enormous systems and bulk data is safe, secure and organized. Identifying a need and developing, implementing and troubleshooting the solution requires a detail-oriented and meticulous analysis of each task.

Multitasking and time-management skills

Data architects should prioritize tasks, make and adhere to deadlines, and create timelines for work completion. Information technology is a fast-paced environment, and data architects should plan their time carefully to ensure they complete all of their duties.

Data architect work environment

Data architects almost always work on-site at their company. They often work full time during typical business hours. Here are some features their work environments have in common:

  • Sitting for extended periods while working on a computer

  • Attending meetings

  • Giving presentations

  • Performing data analysis

  • Creating reports

  • Communicating with others in IT and outside of the field

  • Working overtime occasionally to meet deadlines

Here are some examples of places where computer engineers can find work:

  • Technology

  • Government

  • Entertainment

  • Finance

  • Health care

  • Education

How to become a data architect

When it comes to data architecture, there are a few key skills you need in order to succeed. You need strong data engineering skills, as well as experience with database design and SQL. Additionally, you should be familiar with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). When it comes to data architecture, these skills will be essential for creating efficient and effective computer systems that can process large amounts of data.

Follow these steps to pursue a career as a data architect:

  1. Earn an education. A bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science, computer engineering or information technology is the basic entry-level requirement for a job as a data architect. A master’s degree can be useful if you’re seeking positions in leadership and larger corporations.

  2. Accumulate work experience. Obtaining an entry-level job as a data architect will require you to demonstrate some level of involvement in managing data and data systems. Internships, workshops and boot camps at which you created and maintained systems can be useful to list on your resume. You may also need to gain experience in other positions in IT before applying to jobs as a data architect.

  3. Earn certifications. You can choose to earn an array of software and data architecture program certifications from nonprofit agencies and the companies that make the software. Earning one or more certifications can show your extensive knowledge of the subject and dedication to the field.

  4. Create a resume. List your education, skills and job experience, with the most relevant and recent experience first, along with the names of the organizations and the length of time you worked there. You should also tailor your resume to the specific job for which you are applying.

Data architect job description example

Our company is seeking a data architect to lead a team that will design and implement solutions for our online networking platform. Proficiency in Hadoop and NoSQL is preferred. Minimum 5 years of experience, with three years in solution architecture and implementation needed. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is required, and a master’s degree is preferred. Responsibilities include:

  • Creating short- and long-term solutions for data management

  • Establishing procedures for data tracking and quality assurance

  • Offering recommendations for current processes to improve efficiency

  • Developing connections for data warehouse, services, management and applications

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Are you thinking about a career change? Or are you considering a career change but don’t know where to start? Here are some related careers that may be a good fit for you.


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