Data is fast becoming the backbone of business strategy.
Today, businesses collect hundreds of thousands of data points which are used across the organization – from collecting real-time customer shopping habits to predicting employee turnover.
The emergence of Big Data and the need for efficient storage systems – as well as the development of functional systems to retrieve and analyze that data – will drive the continued need for educated, experienced data architects.
What is a Data Architect?
Companies hire data architects to build new structural computer systems for databases and to manage and improve current systems. Data architects must have the ability to analyze system requirements and implement data migration methods.
The exact nature of the role depends on the organization’s needs. In almost every case, the functionality of the database system is a priority. So is the ability to analyze the current system and determine the need for new software and applications, as well as expertise on the installation of both.
In jobs requiring the creation of a new database, data architects have the responsibility of safely migrating data from the old system to the new. Since the security of data is also always a priority, architects may be responsible for developing security measures.
Data visualization skills also are important in almost every data architect job. They typically are charged with delivering reports and showing data models to executives and department managers, particularly when setting up systems to track data for a specific new product or service launch.
Potential Salary & Job Growth
Careers within data administration, the category for which data architects fall under, are expected to grow 11% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data architects are employed within a variety of industries including private companies, government agencies and non-profit organizations and school systems.
According to 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide for Technology Professionals, the salary for data administrators ranged from $110,000-$184,000.
Salary potential and employment opportunities vary depending on specific job duties, industry, candidate’s education and experience and job market around the country.
Education Preparation and Other Qualifications
Landing a job as a data architect will require at least a bachelor’s degree, typically in a field related to information or computer science, the BLS reports.
A BS in Computer Information Systems can begin your career path by providing technical knowledge and best practices for database concepts, network theory and design, information systems management and more.
Larger companies may require candidate’s to hold a master’s degree due to duties and responsibilities of managing large-scale databases.
An MS in Information Technology with a Specialization in Database Administration provides industry-specific knowledge in database administration and management, including policies and procedures for database documentation.
That’s just part of the education, however. Data architects need an expert-level understanding of database languages. Most databases use Structured Query Language (SQL), or some variation of SQL.
In addition to technical skills, individuals in this role also need to possess soft skills including communication, problem-solving and analytical thinking.