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Do you have some challenges with data management, collection, storing, structuring, integration, and usage within your company? Or have you set an ambitious goal to expand your data infrastructure? Then, your company probably needs a data architect. Let’s take a look at what makes this job position special, what are the core data architect requirements, what competencies they should have, and what benefits a data architect will bring to your business.

What is a Data Architect?

In a nutshell, a data architect is an IT specialist who designs and visualizes the data management structure for a particular company in accordance with its business strategy and overall IT infrastructure. Also, this expert is responsible for creation and implementation of business-centric data standards and principles. 

At the same time, data architects are often confused with database architects, data engineers, and other data science specialists. Note that they play different roles in the company, as a data architect performs higher-level tasks, transforming the global business goals of a particular company into designing effective data infrastructures. 

For example, unlike data engineers who implement an already established vision and develop data architecture according to specifications, data architects create this vision and specifications, provide conceptualization and visualization of data frameworks, and build global data processing strategies. At the same time, not every company needs them—many can fill their needs with data engineers and database architects.

Key Responsibilities of a Data Architect

So, what does a data architect do? Below, we’ll find out the primary job responsibilities of this type of IT specialist (however, they may differ from each other from one company to another). 

Data architect: the one who will manage your data infrastructure

Transforming Business Goals into Data Infrastructure

The first and foremost role of a data architect lies in translating the business requirements of a particular company into the organization’s data infrastructure requirements. These specialists are also responsible for analyzing the existing infrastructure and looking for opportunities to optimize it—by replacing individual components or completely reorganizing it, for example, through migration.

Thus, the final goal of the data architect is to create a high-level data flow scheme with the tools and technologies to simplify processing of this data through its management, organization, retrievement, synchronization, and storing.

Data Infrastructure Monitoring and Optimization

Another example of data architect responsibilities is monitoring and optimizing the performance of the existing data infrastructure. In particular, this specialist takes care of certain metrics such as data consistency, data uniqueness, data completeness, average database availability, report production cycle time, total number of accounts serviced (among others) and, in case of their degradation or low values, identifies and fixes the problems that provoked them.

Data Security Policies Development and Providing Standard Compliance 

The data architect role is crucial for determining the degree of protection for individual data segments operated by a particular company. This applies both to generally accepted data security policies like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and to standards adopted within that company.

Data Governance Policies Development and Implementation

And finally, the data architect responsibilities include the development and implementation of internal corporate data use policies and standards if they don’t yet exist (or optimizes and/or extends those already adopted in a particular company). In fact, this specialist is responsible for creating documentation that will be accepted in all departments of the company that use the data.

Hard Skills

First, let’s define what technical skills that should be included in a list of data architect requirements. Usually, this profession implies developing and growing technical and business skills from data mining to analytical problem solving for the benefit of the companies Therefore, to become a data architect, a specialist has to have an extensive technological background.

Data architect: the one who will manage your data infrastructure

Knowledge of Architectural Principles for Building Data Systems and Typical Patterns

Lambda architecture, Kappa architecture, and microservice approaches are musts for a data architect—it’s on the basis of these patterns and approaches that the vast majority of data infrastructures are built.

Experience in Working with Cloud Environments

Data architects build cloud infrastructures from scratch, deal with pre-built infrastructures, or plan to migrate the company’s on-premise architecture into the cloud. Therefore, skills for cloud data infrastructure deployment and cloud migration, as well as knowledge of the main specifics of popular cloud providers, are essential for this specialist.


Some certificates of education can positively affect the resume of your candidate applying for the position of data architect. In particular, an education in computer science and data analysis, applied mathematics and computer science, business informatics, or related fields can be useful in the work of a data architect. But profile education, of course, isn’t a mandatory requirement for such an expert: often, they successfully replace diplomas of higher education that can be received in technical specialties at universities by certificates from private educational institutions. Here are the most demanded of them:

  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)
  • Arcitura Certified Big Data Architect
  • IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data
  • IBM Certified Solution Architect – Cloud Pak for Data v4.x
  • IBM Certified Solution Architect – Data Warehouse V1
  • Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
  • TOGAF 9 Certification Program

Programming Languages

It’s crucial for a data architect to perform programming in their direct job responsibilities. In particular, they have to analyze the company’s existing data infrastructure and create a plan to integrate existing systems with new tools and systems. They deal with the code to create a well-organized and secure environment for databases. Typically, a standard technology stack includes:

  • Java, a language often used to create big data solutions and data-driven solutions
  • Python, a high-performance language that is often used as a core for resource-intensive solutions based on artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning (you can learn more about the difference between all these three concepts in this article: “Artificial Intelligence vs. Machine Learning vs. Deep Learning: Explaining the Difference”)
  • SQL, a query language on which many database management systems (DBMS) are based
  • Hive, a query language with built-in functions for working with XML and JSON formats, support for non-scalar data types, and implementation of a wide range of aggregate functions
  • SPARK, a multi-paradigm language that’s characterized by higher security

The need to know other languages depends on the technology stack that supports the data infrastructure in a particular company.

Data-Related Technologies

The data architect role implies understanding principles such as ETL/ELT, as well as the nuances of working directly with SQL and NoSQL databases. 

In addition, most often, a data architect must have experience in working with advanced analytics tools such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau, as well as data modeling tools such as Enterprise Architect, Erwin, and PowerDesign.

Metadata Management Skills

Metadata (data about data) describes the information that a particular company uses to achieve its business goals. This may be the date the data was saved or its format, source, quality, etc. In turn, the data architect must be able to extract metadata and use it correctly. Here, experience with database lifecycle management (DLM) tools such as Git, Redgate, etc., as well as knowledge of DevOps practices and tools (like Kubernetes and Docker) will be useful.

Soft Skills

What about the cross-professional data architect skills that help them communicate effectively with other people and better cope with their work responsibilities? The most important ones are listed below.

Data architect: the one who will manage your data infrastructure


The role of a data architect always implies close interaction with data engineers and database architects. In addition, these specialists sometimes need to interact with company employees who aren’t directly related to the organization of the company’s data infrastructure but only use corporate data to solve tasks included in the list of their job responsibilities. 

One way or another, to make this interaction effective and fruitful, a data architect must be sociable, be able to explain complex things in simple words and be open to new ideas and suggestions from ordinary employees who experience problems using corporate data every day.


Sometimes, the problems faced by data architects (like work with a huge number of different types of data, poor data quality, a large number of disparate data sources, etc.) turn out to be too global, and it seems impossible to solve them effectively for the specific company. However, a really good specialist should take on new challenges positively and look for ways to help any organization that has some issues in the functioning of its data infrastructure.


In some cases, data architects must optimize several data infrastructures within the same company at once, and this can be difficult for those specialists who are used to performing their work tasks linearly. That’s why many companies insist that their ideal candidate for this position be a multi-tasker and not prone to panic as tasks pile up to be done.

Business-Focused Vision 

And, of course, it wouldn’t be out of place to mention the need for the data architect’s predisposition to synchronize the technical aspects of the data infrastructure inherent in a particular company with its business vision and goals that are planned to be achieved. In fact, this specialist must understand how to optimize costs for the future and current needs of the company and how updating its data infrastructure can positively affect its profits.

Analytic Thinking

In the course of the work, the data architect will have to constantly analyze the processes within the company and, in accordance with them, build the most effective corporate data business model. 

Perseverance and Attention to Detail

Data architects must pay close attention to every part of their data modeling project to be sure there are no flaws or errors in the design to avoid security breaches or other problems. At the same time, some data architecture tasks have repetitive and tedious aspects. 

Benefits for Business

So, what practical benefits can your company get after hiring such an expert? 

Well-Organized Data for Enhanced Workflows

Many companies have hundreds of resources at their disposal that regularly extract data to perform specific business tasks. However, usually, these companies don’t have a general idea of the potential and possibilities of this data. 

At the same time, the starting point for gaining this understanding will be the awareness of how their data flows are organized. This includes a description of the data collection tools, data sources, data storages, data owners, and ways to use this data. Providing all this information is included in the list of main data architect responsibilities.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Today, not all organizations use their data in full to obtain comprehensive analytics that can help them make effective decisions. This may apply both to processes related to working with customers and to global tasks related to choosing the most effective business development strategy. 

In turn, the data architect helps organize the company’s internal data infrastructure to help this company obtain detailed and up-to-date analytics.

Increased Efficiency of the Business Intelligence Department

Unlike employees working at the lower levels of the data infrastructure in a company, a data architect has a more global view of how this data is suitable for obtaining high-quality analytics. Thus, by optimizing the data infrastructure, for example, through the introduction of artificial intelligence or machine learning in the cloud, this specialist brings better business intelligence results to the company. Also, you can learn more about the difference between artificial intelligence and data science to make the right choice for the benefit of your company.

Improved Workflows within the Marketing Department

Marketing plays one of the key roles in ensuring the proper level of sales, so companies should definitely not neglect its effectiveness. To help optimize the work of the marketing department, a data architect provides simple and quick access to data about the company’s customers and, in particular, about their progress through the sales funnel.

How to Understand if You Need a Data Architect

Many companies hire data architects to open up new prospects for their business activities, but there are those for whom these specialists are vital. Let’s find out if your organization falls into the second category.

Data architect: the one who will manage your data infrastructure

Your Business is Data-Driven

Some companies are focused on using data. Data is involved both in daily operations within the company and in making important business decisions. In this case, at some point in your company’s growth, you may need to build a smarter data infrastructure compared to the old one and adapt it to further complexity and scale. And given the fact that each such company has its own unique requirements and processes, there is no standard solution for organizing such an infrastructure. This is where the data architect comes in handy.

Your Need Optimize Your Databases

You’ll need a data architect if databases in your company are not well-organized and need advanced management—for example, you face uncontrolled data growth or poor user request processing, data isn’t consolidated in multiple data storages, you have issues with data security, non-compliance with standards, problems with integrations, etc. It’s this specialist who will provide you with detailed recommendations on how to improve database structure, as well as determine whether you need to migrate to other environments.

You Have Some Problems with Data Management 

If your company has certain problems with data management (they are lost and/or not synchronized everywhere and outdated until they reach the endpoints), a data architect can come to the rescue. This specialist will provide a seamless and secure transition of data from storage to its places of use, organizing a scalable infrastructure that can be easily adapted to the changing needs of your company.

Your Ideas Work Slowly

You can have huge amounts of data at your disposal but still not be able to access much of it if your data infrastructure is not organized correctly. In addition, you may not be able to use it due to the need to comply with GDPR policies. To ensure that your valuable information assets are not idle, it makes sense for you to consider hiring a data architect who will create a reliable infrastructure that meets generally accepted standards.

You Have Problems with Data Silos

If you and your employees regularly encounter duplicate or incomplete records in your databases, this can not only lead to inconvenience in performing standard work tasks but also entail certain security problems. In turn, a data architect will help eliminate this problem and transform your data storage into a safe source of up-to-date information.

Your Data is of Poor Quality

When your data is in chaos, it becomes impossible to manage it effectively both in terms of financial costs and the speed of business operations. To maximize the potential of this business data and ensure it’s properly structured, used, and stored, you’ll need the help of a data architect to clean it up and create a solid foundation for further growth.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the data architect role is essential when it comes to bringing data-driven processes within your company to the next level and making them more accurate, faster, and cheaper. At the same time, finding a really good expert in this field may be a tough nut to crack. Therefore, if you want to get a data architect with extensive expertise and rich background in no time, please, contact us.

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