Data architects are the blueprint designers of content management systems (CMS) and sometimes also the developers and managers. A CMS stores and organizes vast amounts of data. Because data may come from many sources, data architects are responsible for linking these data sources and determining the best way to make the data accessible so users can easily find the information they need.
As businesses face the ever-growing challenge of capturing, aggregating and organizing mountains of big data from multiple channels, the role of the data architect is becoming an increasingly visible and important one in today’s organizations.
Data Architect Job Opportunities
Data architects can be found in the corporate, education and nonprofit sectors. The role of a data architect may span different job titles and responsibilities including data architect, data modeler, information architect, senior data architect or senior enterprise architect.
Data architects may work alone but more commonly they collaborate with department managers, database administrators and data analysts to design systems that meet the needs of the whole organization. While the role of data architect shares some overlap with data engineers or data analysts, a data architect is the go-to person for data management and they have a focus on centralizing multiple data sources.
Starting a Data Architecture Career
The path to becoming a data architect usually involves obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree in data science such as computer engineering or information technology. Some larger companies may require job candidates to have a master’s in data science or a Ph.D.
Options for obtaining the required education and credentials include studying at a traditional college or university, or online programs that may suit their needs and lifestyles better by allowing them to study at their own pace and location.
Helpful Skills and Personality Traits
Data architects must understand how databases work and should possess strong computer programming, analytical and organizational skills. They should have experience in data modeling, data warehousing, ETL tools and software programs such as Oracle, Microsoft Excel, SQL, XML, Hive, Pig and Spark.
Since the smallest mistakes in database implementation can be disastrous and costly, the best data architects have a keen eye for detail and possess the ability work under pressure and time constraints. They must also have good communication skills as they are often required to explain technical issues to management and laypeople in the organization.
The job market for data architects continues to be robust. According to Recruiter.com, the demand for database architects is expected to increase by nearly 16 percent over the next few years (well above the national average for all other occupations), with an estimated 132,710 new jobs filled by 2018.
There’s no question that a data architect is a financially rewarding job. According to recent figures from Glassdoor, data architects can expect to earn an average of $113,000 annually, with a national salary range of $93,000 to $163,000 and up. Salaries will vary by company, location and the level of experience required.
A strong, secure and well-designed content management system is a key component of every successful business. If you’re considering a career as a data architect, explore these featured degree and certificate programs.
Note: Salary information collected in April 2017.