Data Architect Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for data architects. Get the facts about education, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Database Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Data Architect?

Data architects create and develop database systems for businesses and organizations. They maintain the data and make sure that it remains accurate and accessible to those who need it. Data architects must have highly developed analytical skills and be great at details. They must also be good at communicating effectively, especially relating complex computer information to lay people. They must be skilled at visualizing data mainframes and solutions to problems as well.

Get more information on this career in the table below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, may be substituted by relevant work experience
Education Field of Study Computer science
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Skills Communication, technical, analytical, logic
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% for database administrators*
Median Salary (2017) $111,384**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What Are the Duties of a Data Architect?

As a data architect, you analyze, design, structure and build data systems for businesses and organizations. In order to develop an understanding of a company's operations, you need to spend time meeting with clients and become familiar their existing database systems and business strategies.

To support the execution of these tasks, you need to issue a written status report to management regarding the database issues and risks at hand. Subsequently, if any problems arise during the installation of the database system, you need to be in contact with your client by providing additional troubleshooting and operational support.

What Skills Do I Need?

To work as a data architect, you must have a strong understanding of physical, logical, data and dimensional modeling. Additional responsibilities include performing complex data structuring procedures such as re-normalization, denormalization, installation and configuration. You also need experience with database computer languages such as SQL, RDBMS and PL/SQL.

It's important to know how to structure data in dimensional modeling programs, such as ERwin, and perform data profiling procedures. You also need to input data in desktop table organizational programs, like Microsoft Excel. emphasizes the importance of strong communication skills, experience with computer systems validation, and understanding of software quality assurance procedures.

How Can I Prepare for a Career in This Field?

A degree in computer science may not be required if you have a substantial amount of experience in the field. However, a degree is necessary if you are applying for an entry-level position and have little to no on-the-job experience. A degree in computer science teaches you the core principles of computer systems, programming and operational networks design. You also gain an in-depth analysis of programming languages, dimensional modeling programs, data structures and algorithms.

What is the Salary and Job Outlook?

According to, most data architects were earning a median salary between $72,925 to $153,911 per year by January 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median salary for database administrators was $81,710 per year in 2015 ( The BLS also predicts that employment for database professionals is going to increase 11% from 2014-2024. The growth is due to the increased importance of businesses to store and organize data.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you like the idea of engineering data mainframes, you might also consider a career as a data analyst or a Business Intelligence (BI) developer. Data analysts gather data using tools like mass surveys and then interpret that data and present it. They are skilled across different computer platforms (Microsoft Office, SQL, etc.), and you can get a bachelor's or master's in data analytics. BI developers tend to work in large corporations and they perform tasks like creating data models, writing code, and assisting in data architecture. A bachelor's degree in computer science or programming (like CIS or MIS), as well as several years of work experience, is usually required.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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