Data Architect Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Data Architect, or Data Systems Architect, is responsible for designing data infrastructure to extract and organize data for authorized individuals to access. Their duties include identifying a company’s internal and external data sources, collaborating with department heads to determine their data storage and organizational needs and using the information to create and maintain data infrastructure for company employees.

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Data Architect duties and responsibilities

A Data Architect’s main duty is to design every aspect of a database. Other responsibilities for these professionals include:

  • Identifying installation solutions for new databases
  • Determining the requirements for a new database
  • Publishing and/or presenting design reports
  • Identifying areas for improvement in current systems
  • Coordinating with other team members to reach project milestones and deadlines
  • Auditing database regularly to maintain quality
  • Creating systems to keep data secure
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What does a Data Architect do?

Data Architects typically work for corporations across various industries, including retail, marketing finance, health care or insurance. They work closely with departments to update database storage, troubleshoot technical issues and create visual layouts to display data. Their job is to create code libraries and instructional materials for other data professionals to update data systems. They may also be responsible for assisting the marketing team in creating data tracking software for new products or services.

Data Architect skills and qualifications

The bulk of a Data Architect’s skills are in technical areas, but they also need a variety of soft skills. The most important skills and qualifications for a Data Architect include:

  • Math and computer science proficiency
  • The ability to analyze and present statistical information
  • Mastery of specific types of databases, such as relational or foundational databases
  • Experience with database management software
  • Data management skills
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to lead an IT team
  • Ability to explain complicated concepts in simple terms
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Multitasking ability

Data Architect salary expectations

A Data Architect makes an average of $138,764 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Data Architect education and training requirements

At a minimum, Data Architects must have a bachelor’s degree in an area like information systems, computer science or computer engineering. However, many candidates will have master’s degrees in these areas. Data Architects should also complete additional training in database management software and business analytics. Many Data Architects get practical training during internships in either their bachelor’s or master’s program. IBM, Google and Amazon all offer Data Architect certifications that demonstrate a candidate’s knowledge.

Data Architect experience requirements

Entry-level Data Architects should have at least five years of experience in information technology. Experience as a Database Administrator, Data Manager or Data Scientist is preferred, though experience in development or programming is also valuable. For mid- to senior-level roles, candidates should have at least 10 years of experience, but a master’s degree can serve as a substitute for some experience. 

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Frequently asked questions about Data Architects


What is the difference between a Data Architect and a Data Engineer?

Although both Data Architects and Data Engineers use coding to create databases and other types of data infrastructure, they have different areas of job focus. For example, Data Architects focus on coding visual aspects of a database, including display icons, buttons and other interactive components. They also create code that automates the data retrieval and storage process. In contrast, Data Engineers are responsible for creating and updating the framework of entire databases.


What are the daily duties of a Data Architect?

On a typical day, Data Architects review upcoming deadlines and plan their daily tasks in accordance with urgent project needs. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with the IT department or company executives to determine the best way to organize and display information in company databases. Data Architects use these meetings to discuss the progress of new systems, updates or technical defects. During downtime in their office, Data Architects create code strings, run tests and troubleshoot problems with company databases. They also collaborate with other Data Architects on certain projects to complete tasks within a set time frame.


What qualities make a good Data Architect?

A good Data Architect has expert coding knowledge that enables them to create front and back end code strings for data infrastructure. They also continuously look for ways to improve their coding skills by attending certification courses. They have excellent interpersonal communication that allows them to work with professionals from different departments and professional backgrounds. Further, a good Data Architect values constructive feedback and uses it to adjust their designs to maximize data collection and user experience. Data Architects have excellent time management that allows them to adhere to deadlines while working on more than one project at a time.


Who does a Data Architect report to?

In large corporations, a Data Architect typically reports to the Director of Data Architecture or the Director of Data Strategy and Data Architecture. Data Architects working for small businesses usually report to the IT Manager or Director of Information Technology.

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