So, you want to be a Data Architect?
Considering a career as a Data Architect ? Not sure where to start? We break down exactly what working in Data Architecture entails and how to best get your foot into one of the most challenging data fields.
What does a Data Architect do?
Bridging business strategy with technical execution, it is the job of a Data Architect to articulate how data is “collected, stored, transformed, distributed and consumed”, as defined by the Harvard Business Review. It involves looking at the governing policies that detail what data a business collects and how this collected data is then stored.
The goal of a Data Architect is to align business strategies with a company’s data. They work to ensure this data is also accessible, correct and ready so it can then be used for strategic business purposes. This includes auditing current databases to ensure efficiency, defining a company’s entire database structure and working to improve a company’s database so it can run at peak level. If the database is not running at a peak, it falls on the Data Architect to propose a solution, which generally then entails building and implementing an entirely new database.
What skills does a Data Architect need to have?
Careers in Data Architecture are extremely challenging. Data Architects are expected to be data modelling experts with skills in using data modelling tools, data management tools and data visualisation tools. This includes experience in data warehousing, ETL tools, scripting languages, data administration, Big Data Analytics, application sever software, Microsoft SQL Sever or some form of data management system software, and data mining tools. Beyond the extensive skills required, Data Architects are also expected to organise data at a macro and micro level. Basically, Data Architects are expected to be data allrounders.
Beyond technical skills, those working in Data Architecture must be logical, meticulous and analytical. A level of innovation and creativity is also required along with confidence communicating and influencing stakeholders and senior management.
When considering the skills listed above, it is unsurprising that Data Architecture is a senior-level role that requires advanced education, skills and experience in business intelligence. A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Information Technology is a great starting point along with completing a master’s degree.
Five to seven years of data experience is expected by top employers, along with specific experience in performance and network management and application architecture. Whilst there is no specific pathway into Data Architecture, entry-level IT jobs are a great starting platform. Most mature into Data Architect roles from Data Engineering.
If looking to stand out to prospective employers, the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) certificate is worth consideration. This certification requires a Bachelor’s degree, two years of experience and passing the CDMP exam.
Data Architect Salaries
Data Architect jobs are well paid with the average base salary of an experienced professional £66,615 in the United Kingdom and $116,240 in the United States. As the demand for data experts continues to climb, the demand for Data Architects has unsurprisingly also grown. Beyond competitive salary packages, most companies also offer flexible working conditions and a myriad of other benefits.
If looking for a data career that continues to challenge, Data Architecture could be the perfect fit. With daily hurdles guaranteed along with the need to continually evolve, a career in Data Architecture is perfect for data experts wanting to provide business value.