What Does a Data Architect Do? A Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the role of a data architect, the skills needed, and what you can expect to earn.

[Featured image] Data analyst reviewing data

Much like traditional architects draw up blueprints for the framework used to create structures, data architects design the blueprints that organisations use for their data management systems. This includes drafting a data management framework to meet business and technology requirements while ensuring data security and compliance with regulations. Data architects work in various industries, including the technology sector, entertainment, health care, finance, and government.

Are you interested in launching your career in data architecture? Learn how to get started in this guide.

What is a data architect?

Data architects are IT professionals who leverage their computer science and design skills to review and analyse an organization's data infrastructure, plan future databases, and implement solutions to store and manage data for organisations and their users. 

Since almost every company uses data, data architects can work in nearly any industry, including technology, entertainment, health care, finance, and government. 

Data architect tasks and responsibilities

Typical responsibilities range from evaluating the current data architecture to keeping databases secure. Depending on your organisation and industry, your day-to-day tasks might include:

  • Translating business requirements into databases, data warehouses, and data streams.

  • Creating procedures to ensure data accuracy and accessibility.

  • Analysing, planning, and defining data architecture framework, including security, reference data, metadata, and master data.

  • Creating and implementing data management processes and procedures.

  • Collaborating with other teams within the organisation to devise and implement data strategies, build models, and assess shareholder needs and goals.

  • Researching data acquisition opportunities.

  • Developing application programming interfaces (APIs) to retrieve data.

Types of data architects

The volume of data that businesses and organisations deal with daily grows rapidly. It's critical for business leaders who rely on data to make sound decisions. It's also important to consumers who want to keep their data safe. 

As a data architect, you can use your skills in multiple ways and fill various roles. Examples include:

  • Data architects define an organisation's data vision and put it into practice.

  • Project managers oversee projects associated with the planning and building of data architecture.

  • Cloud architects employ company data in a cloud environment for optimal performance.

  • Security architects design and employ safeguards to ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

  • Machine learning architects design scalable systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Data architect salary

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for data architects in India is ₹22,74,542 [1]. Your salary will depend on factors like where you work, your level of experience, and the industry you work in, among others. 

Data architect skills 

To become a data architect, you’ll need a mix of job-specific and more general workplace skills that empower you to leverage data tools and technologies to help data drive business goals. Here are some of the valuable skills you’ll need: 

Technical data architect skills

  • Data mining to uncover patterns, anomalies, and correlations in large data sets

  • Data management to efficiently and cost-effectively collect, store, and use data

  • Coding languages like Python and Java to develop applications for data analysis

  • Machine learning to build scalable systems for handling big data

  • Structured query language (SQL) to manipulate data

  • Data modelling tools like ERWin or Visio to visualise metadata and database schema

Workplace skills

  • Communication skills to help you effectively collaborate with other departments.

  • Problem-solving and analytical skills to safeguard data integrity, security, and organisation.

  • Time management and the ability to multitask so that you can accomplish tasks and complete projects in a fast-paced environment.

Earn a career credential and match with employers

Thinking about a new career in the high-demand field of data analytics? Develop the skills leading employers seek by earning a Professional Certificate from a world-class company like Google or IBM.

 While earning your Professional Certificate, you can also demonstrate your job readiness and match with employers on Coursera Hiring Solutions, our skills-based platform.  

Once you start your Professional Certificate, complete your Skills Profile to showcase your credentials and projects, and get noticed for the roles you want.


How to become a data architect

Developing the right skills is a big part of becoming a data architect. If you’re interested in this advanced data career, here’s a quick guide on how to get started. 

Consider a degree in data or computer science

A bachelor’s degree is the most common entry-level requirement for data architects, according to Glassdoor [2]. Consider a computer science or data science degree to start building the skills you’ll need on the job. 

Courses in operating systems, technology architecture, data management, database systems, and systems analysis can give you a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that can translate to professional expertise. 

Read more: What Is the Difference Between a BA and a BSc Degree?

Build a foundation in data 

Many boot camps, workshops, and courses available online can sharpen your skills in specific areas of data management. If you’re new to the world of data, you might consider an introductory programme, like the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate. As you advance, consider classes in more advanced topics, like Python, SQL, or data warehousing. 

Start with an entry-level job in data

You can begin a career as an entry-level data architect after completing a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. You can then gain the experience to move into the next seniority level.

Earn a data-centric certification

Once you’ve gained experience, you might also pursue a professional credential to enhance your resume. These are some options you might consider. 

  • Certified Data Professional (CDP): This credential from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals allows applicants to choose from specialisations like data analytics and design, business analytics, data integration and interoperability, data warehousing, enterprise data architecture, and data management.

  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP): This widely-known data architecture certification is offered by the Data Management Association. It offers four certification levels depending on the amount of experience you have. 

Next steps

Having skills in data architecture can open professional possibilities across various industries. If you’re ready to take the first step towards a career in data, consider enrolling in the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate course. Build job-ready skills in less than six months as you learn at your own pace.

Article sources


Glassdoor. How to Become a Data Architect, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/how-to-become-data-architect_KO14,28.htmAccessed May 17, 2023.

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