Data architects are leading experts in data-focused professions. Acquiring the skills necessary to become a professional is like laying the bricks of a wall. If you proceed in a planned and meticulous manner, you will have a solid wall. Otherwise, without an expert opinion of data architecture, a business should be prepared against earthquakes.
An IT specialist known as a data architect outlines the rules, processes, models, and tools that will be utilized for gathering, organizing, storing, and accessing corporate data. It’s common to conflate this role with database architects and data engineers. However, although the previously described professionals apply such links and policies to the architecture of particular databases, data architects concentrate on high-level business intelligence linkages and policies.
In the middle of the big data boom, new organizational positions have evolved those assist businesses in everyday complicated data sourcing, processing, and assimilation from both within and outside the firm. In today’s data-driven environment, one such role that is extremely relevant is data architect or big data architect.
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What do data architects do?
The designs for an organization’s data management systems are created by data architects, just like traditional architects.
Data architects develop the blueprints that businesses use to create their data management systems, much like traditional architects create blueprints for the framework needed to make structures. This involves creating a data management framework that satisfies technological and business needs while maintaining data security and legal compliance. Data architects are employed across various sectors, such as technology, entertainment, healthcare, finance, and government.
What exactly is data architecture?
The process of standardizing an organization’s data collection, storage, transformation, distribution, and use is known as data architecture. The objective is to provide pertinent information to those who require it at the appropriate time and assist them in making sense of it.
For many years, an organization’s business strategist had to ask IT for access to certain data. The data engineer would hand-code a specific SQL query to give the solution after receiving a sometimes hazy explanation of what was needed. This was a laborious, time-consuming process that frequently produced something that didn’t satisfy the initial requestor’s requirements or expectations. Accessing the appropriate data at the appropriate time was significantly more challenging in this environment because the bandwidth constrained the business strategy that IT could provide.
Business strategists now demand more and quicker insights from data to make critical decisions due to the availability and increase of real-time data from both internal and external data sources. In this new context, the outdated method of one-off specialized solutions simply won’t work.
Modern data architecture design makes the promise that a well-designed process will bring business strategists with domain knowledge and data engineers with technical knowledge together at the same table. Together, they may decide what data is required to advance the company, how to obtain it, and how to disseminate it so that decision-makers have access to useful information.
The new data stars, the data architects, are the visionaries who see beyond the company’s needs and are always looking for methods to advance the IT infrastructure’s handling of data to keep up with the surge in data demand.
The expanding importance of the cloud, which offers the kind of quick, simple, and affordable scalability that contemporary data architecture requires has propelled big data into the real world. A common data lake or data warehouse, where ideally, just one master version of the data is accessible to those who need it, is another cloud feature that enables enterprises to pool most or all of their data.
Three levels of data architecture
Experts section three main data architecture levels: physical, conceptual, and external.
The three-level architecture’s lowest level is this one. The actual method of data storage in the database is described at the physical level. This data is initially saved as bits on external hard drives, and it is then stated to be stored as files and folders at a slightly higher level. Techniques for compression and encryption are also covered at the physical level.
The conceptual level explains the layout of the database for the users as well as the connections between different data tables. How the data is actually kept in the database is unimportant at the conceptual level.
In the three-level architecture, this is the highest and closest to the user. The view level is another name for it. The rest of the data is hidden at the external level, which only presents users with views of the pertinent database content. As a result, various users can see the information in various ways depending on their specific needs.
The roles and responsibilities of data architects
The link between business operations and IT is provided by data architects. Within the company’s technology architecture, business activities gather and use the data, and IT obtains, saves, and retrieves that data from database resources. The data architect is primarily a planner and designer, as is typical of IT positions with the title architect. They frequently conduct business across the entire organization.
Data architects are hands-on practitioners who understand how to construct and optimize the data architecture, facilitating seamless data flow among all users.
Data architects collaborate with a variety of other positions and divisions within the company, including the following:
Data architects frequently communicate with important team leaders and managers. Because of the connection between business requirements, applications, and data, they play a significant role in application design in many organizations.
Chief information officers
In order to express the line organizational data collection and usage requirements and to connect these requirements with the available database and application technologies, data architects will collaborate with CIOs and their employees.
Other data-focused professions
Data engineers, database developers and specialists, database administrators, and application development teams translate high-level data models and management policies into specific applications, database models, and implementations.
The required skills to become one of the best data architects out there
A combination of business and technical abilities is needed for data architects. The main competencies needed are those for converting company needs and operational procedures into data management and gathering procedures. It is especially beneficial to have business architecture experience. Some businesses stretch the term “data architect” to the more inclusive “solutions architect,” signifying a deeper affiliation with EA in those businesses.
Data architect skills
The following are a few essential data architect skills:
- Understanding of system development, including the system development life cycle, project management strategies, and requirements
- Data modeling and design, as well as SQL development and database administration
- Understanding of machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive modeling technologies
- Understanding of the fundamentals of columnar and NoSQL databases, data visualization, unstructured data, and predictive analytics, as well as the ability to integrate common data management and reporting tools.
- Skills in machine learning, visualization, and data mining
- Python, C/C++, Java, and Perl
- Besides, a data architect needs to coordinate and collaborate with users, system designers, and developers in their day-to-day functions. As such, soft skills like effective communication, team management, problem-solving, and leadership are highly desirable traits of a data architect.
Are there data architect courses?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related discipline is the ideal place to start if you want to become a data architect. Data management, programming, big data advances, systems analysis, and technological architectures should all be covered in the coursework. A master’s degree is frequently preferred for senior roles.
Data architects offer principles for managing data from its initial collection in source systems through business users’ information consumption.
Your experience may be the most important component of your job application. Top employers probably anticipate that job applicants will have knowledge of application architecture, network administration, and performance management.
How to join a data architect certification program?
Those who want to become data architects might enroll in several informative certification programs offered by Udacity. You may also select the following programs:
- 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
- Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)
- Arcitura Certified Big Data Architect
- TOGAF 9 Certification Program
You’ll plan, build, and implement enterprise data infrastructure solutions as well as draft the specifications for a company’s data management system in these data architect certification programs. You’ll develop a scalable data lake architecture that satisfies the requirements of big data, a relational database using PostgreSQL, and an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) data model to establish a cloud-based data warehouse. Finally, you’ll discover how to use the data management system of a business in accordance with the principles of data governance.
How much do data architects earn?
Let’s review the potential pay for a data architect: according to Payscale, the typical salary for a data architect in Europe is 76,165 euros ($80,306) each year. Similar to how US-based businesses frequently pay slightly more for data scientists and engineers: According to Builtin, the starting wage is an average of 143,573 US dollars.
Data architect salary
If you want more information, you may look at the data architect salaries on Glassdoor in-depth. Informatica, Amazon, and Intel are the organizations that pay professional data architects the highest salaries, according to statistics given by Glassdoor.
The differences between “data professionals”
Make sure you are familiar with the various duties of data architects, data scientists, data engineers, and solution architects before applying to one of these open positions.
Data architects vs. data scientists
The data architect is educated in both statistics and software engineering. Conceptualizing and visualizing data frameworks is part of their responsibility. They also offer information and advice on how to handle different data sources from different databases. While data scientist has a background in statistics, their job entails cleaning and analyzing data before using it to produce metrics and provide answers to questions in order to address business issues.
Data scientists are a new breed of analytical data experts with the technical know-how to address complicated issues and the inquisitiveness to investigate what issues are at stake.
Data architects offer a framework for creating and implementing data governance.
They have elements of mathematicians, computer scientists, and trend-spotters. Additionally, they are in high demand and well-paid due to their ability to bridge the IT and business sectors.
Data architects vs. data engineers
Although there are many overlaps between data science and data architecture, the data architect is more of an expert in hardware technologies than the data scientist is in mathematics, statistics, or software technologies. The data architect creates the model-development framework, which also develops data standards and principles and converts business needs into technical specifications. Data scientists use mathematical, statistical, and computer science techniques to create models.
An enterprise data architecture has multiple layers, often starting at the “information delivery layer” and going all the way up to the data-source layer. A complicated data architecture, which encompasses the underlying hardware, operating system, data storage, and data warehouse, may therefore be designed by various experts.
The modern data architect is frequently a multi-skilled professional with knowledge of data warehouses, relational databases, NoSQL, streaming data flows, containers, serverless, and micro-services. Vendors of technology are still waiting for their products to be widely adopted by businesses, despite the fact that newer technologies are appearing on the data-technology landscape every day. Check out our article, “Data is the new gold and the industry demands goldsmiths” if you want to learn more about data engineers.
Data architects vs solution architects
Both data architects and solution architects work in fields that require technological expertise. The ability to leverage their expertise in database design principles to construct effective databases is a requirement for data architects.
Additionally, they must be able to view the data structures they design using modeling tools. Strong technical abilities are also necessary for solution architects since they must comprehend the inner workings of the systems they are developing and be proficient in a variety of programming languages.
Strong problem-solving abilities are necessary for both solution and data architects. Data architects must be able to recognize problems with current databases and provide solutions to solve those problems. Solution architects must be able to take a project’s needs and create a solution that will satisfy them.
Data architects support privacy and security enforcement with their agile problem-solving capabilities.
While solution architects work with more tangible concepts, data architects often work with abstract concepts. Solution architects must be able to think logically in order to create systems that are effective and efficient, while data architects must be able to think swiftly in order to come up with innovative ways to organize data.
Organizations are guided in the proper direction by the capacity to strengthen and enable every corporate decision-making process through a perceptive data-driven approach. The business is evolving quickly; thus agile, more specialized, and targeted data change management that is supplied in close to real-time has replaced the idea of waiting weeks or months for the pending changes in data architecture to enable the release of new software versions.
The development team is under tremendous stress, and the internal data production floor faces daily obstacles due to the ever-increasing demand for adjustments and modifications to data structures and database schemas.
Data architects create and maintain a company’s database by locating structural and installation solutions. They collaborate with database administrators and analysts to ensure simple access to corporate data. Among the responsibilities are making database solutions, assessing needs, and writing design reports.