How to Become a Data Architect

As we all know, traditional architects often draw blueprints used to build houses and buildings. Likewise, data architects will design the blueprints used for their data management system.

Their job is often to draft a data management framework to meet business and technology requirements while complying with regulations and ensuring database security.

These architects can take on jobs in various industries, including technology, healthcare, entertainment finance, and even government. In general, career opportunities for this field are very wide open.

So, how to become a data architect. Keep reading to see more!

How to Become a Data Architect

Like most fields related to data science, various pathways allow you to become a potential architect in this field.

Generally, to be a potential candidate in any company and business, it is best to possess various skills.

Typically, a potential candidate will need a degree in IT, computer science, or a similar field. In addition, you should also arm yourself with hands-on experience through entry-level IT jobs in programming or database administration.

female data architect
It’s not easy to be an architect in this industry.

In addition, there are still many other things that you need to prepare before thinking of becoming an architect in this field.

So we will provide a simple six-step process that you will need to follow to improve your knowledge regarding the field.

1. Get A Undergraduate Degree 

You need to start with getting an undergraduate degree in information technology, computer engineering, computer science, or a similar field.

If you want to become an architect in this area, it is essential to have a solid background in systems development, information management, and application design. 

So we recommend good completion of coursework related to these topics, and web & operating system development, computer programming, systems analysis, technology architecture, and more.

2. Complete At Least One Internship 

Remember that the job you are aiming for is not an entry-level job in most cases. Hence, it is essential to gain experience as soon as possible.

You can get experience through internships in IT fields. That way, you will have skills in network management, performance management, application architecture, etc.

3. Get Work Experience in IT 

Your first job may not be a data architect. However, your target job may require 3 to 5 years of experience working on projects, depending on the success of those projects.

As a result, you’ll often get an entry-level job in a programming and database administration position. After that, you will need to continue honing database design, management, modeling, development, and archiving skills.

4. Become The Architect 

Once you’ve completed the necessary training and gained years of experience, it’s time to start your career in data architecture. You might consider landing a job in the following areas:

  • Large educational institutions,
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Health care company
  • Any business often has to deal with large amounts of customer data.

Also, it is possible to find job openings at software corporations or computer manufacturers.

5. Get Professional Certifications 

The most famous professional certification for this area is the CDMP. The Institute for Certified Computing Professionals (ICCP) offers this certification.

For this certification, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of work experience before taking the certification exam, at the “practitioner” and “mastery” levels. 

6. Pursue a Master’s Degree 

You’ll need a master’s degree if you want to rise to more senior positions in the field. The best options are a master’s degree in data science or computer science.

Who is a Data Architect?

A data architect is an IT professional who leverages computer science and design skills to review and analyze the organization’s data infrastructure, plan future databases and implement solutions to store and manage data for organizations and users. 

The fact is that most companies and businesses today use data. So engineers in this field can work in almost any profession, including:

  • Entertainment
  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Health care
  • Government
  • And more

What Are the Responsibilities of Data Architects?

As an architect in this area, you will need to perform a variety of tasks, including:

Extract Insights from Statistics 

You can help your business by presenting your stakeholders with valuable insights from your industry.

You will apply statistical analysis and basic management techniques to do it. Analytical skills in statistics are also helpful in identifying data trends, relationships, and weaknesses.

Train Members Of Your Team

Your team members will need you to keep them updated on database management processes, including data mining, organization, and evaluation.

In addition, your task may also be to teach your team members these technical skills to understand how to perform analysis in this area.

Create Detailed Reports 

Stakeholders in your company or business will need to monitor progress and updates on data. Hence, you will need to generate detailed reports periodically which reflect your final data findings, trends, and analysis.

After that, upper management will use your reports as the basis for many important decisions.

Salary & Outlook

Becoming an architect in this area can be a great option as the earning potential is very high, and there are various career development opportunities.

a happy worker
This profession usually pays very well.


Architects in this field are often very well paid. Architects with ten years or more experience can even expect higher salaries than average.

According to our research, in the United States, architects in this field earn an average of $139,946 each year. Besides, the highest salary for this job is $209,079.

The highest-paid architects are in Silicon Valley. Additionally, you can also expect to receive an above-average salary with this position in New York City or Washington, D.C.

Job Outlook

Most people in this industry report that their job satisfaction is high. One of the main reasons is that their role is increasingly important to most businesses, resulting in high salaries and career opportunities.

Their role will undoubtedly continue to be strengthened by the development of technology. These architects are the ones who benefit the most from updating new languages and systems.

The large amount of data generated by the minute will require many personnel in the field to deal with them. Therefore, there is no denying that the job opportunities of this profession are very open.

Skills Required for This Job

If you want to do well in this field, you will need to equip some soft and hard skills:

Technical Skills

We recommend familiarizing yourself with popular software and tools, such as:

  • Database management, data modeling, visualization, and architecture tools.
  • Application server software, such as Oracle.

You will also need to know some programming languages, such as C#, C++, Python, Java, etc.

Machine Learning 

If you have good machine learning skills, you can handle extensive database systems with high speed more simply and quickly.

It allows you to determine data quality, improve decision-making, and make predictions quickly and efficiently.

It is a great skill that you can rely on to design your databases, manage your systems, and optimize the results.

Data Visualization

For your businesses to create accurate, data-driven business strategies, you have to learn this skill.

It allows you to create charts, diagrams, graphs, or pictures to present your data and show how your businesses can benefit from it.

Analytical Thinking

After getting a job in this field, you will always solve problems at both the micro and macro levels. 

In particular, you must ensure the integrity of the smallest piece of data and ensure that massive systems and big data are secure, safe, and organized.

It would be best if you also detail-oriented and meticulous analysis of each task to identify a need and develop, implement, and troubleshoot the solution.

Communication Skills

To clarify your business’s needs, you will have to regularly communicate with marketing professionals, managers, and other IT professionals.

On the other hand, you will also need to explain your technical processes and solutions to those not in your field. 

So with good communication skills, you can ensure that you and your partner understand each other’s expectations and limitations.

Multitasking & Time-Management Skills

Last but not least, you also need to know how to prioritize your tasks. Thanks to that, you can stick to deadlines while still getting the job done.

Information technology is changing rapidly, requiring architects to carefully plan their time to complete all their tasks with excellence and on time.

How Long Does It Take to Become Data Architect?

It can take you five to ten years to become an architect in the field. You need to take the exam to get the relevant degrees and certifications during this time. 

Also, having technical experience is of the utmost importance. For example, if you have five years of experience, you can still land a job in this area even if you don’t have a degree.

If you do not have had job titles relating to this career, you should exhaust as many learning paths as possible to switch your career and become an architect in this area.

It is possible to complete a degree program and expand your skills via coding boot camps and online courses.

Work Environment Of The Architects

As an architect in this area, you will always work on-site at your company in most cases. Plus, you will usually work full-time during office hours. 

Here are some standard features that your work environment might have:

  • Sitting for most of the time working on the computer.
  • Creating reports 
  • Attending meetings
  • Performing data analysis 
  • Giving presentations
  • Occasionally working overtime to meet deadlines
  • Communicating with partners in IT or outside of the field

Here are some examples of areas where you can land a job: 

  • Technology 
  • Finance
  • Entertainment
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Government

The Certificates That You Should Consider

To get this job, you should gain some certifications that will help you demonstrate your expertise in various aspects related to the field.

Big Data

Even if you are already an architect in this field, you should own them if possible.

Certified Data Professional

The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) offers this certification.

If you apply for this certification, you can choose an area in which to specialize, including:

  • Data governance
  • Business analytics
  • Information systems
  • data stewardship
  • And more

Certified Data Management Profession (CDMP)

The Data Management Association offers CDMP certification. There is no denying that it is one of the well-known certifications you can earn.

This certification comes in four levels, including:

  • Associate
  • Practitioner
  • Master
  • Fellow

The associate requires at least six months of experience, the practitioner requires two to ten years, the master requires at least ten years, and the fellow requires more than 25 years of experience in this field. 

If you want to become a fellow, it is necessary to pass examinations related to the first three levels and receive a nomination from a DMA member.

IBM Certified Data Architect-Big Data

This certification focuses on some software, such as:

  • BigSQL
  • BigInsights
  • Hadoop
  • Cloudant (NoSQL). 

You can demonstrate your ability to work closely with your customers to translate their requirements into a big solution.

Big Data Hadoop Architect Master’s Program

If you are an architect looking to focus on Hadoop technologies, it will teach you mastery of real-time processing using Spark and NoSQL technology of Kafka, Storm, and Impala.

The Bottom Line

Generally, job opportunities in this field are very open. But of course, you usually don’t get it right at the entry level. So instead, you will need to gain knowledge & experience and get a certification first.

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