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How To Become A Data Architect: Skills and Responsibilities

How To Become a Data Architect

What is a Data Architect?

Let’s start with a quick overview of what a data architect does. A data architect is responsible for designing data architecture – the process of planning, designing, creating, and managing data. 

Similar to the design of a building, a data architecture aims to create the desired functionality and outcomes from the data. Data architectures are crucial for any business to succeed in the modern era.

The data architecture includes data modeling, data storage, and data transfer designs. Good data architectures are the foundation for any business and technology transformation.

Key responsibilities of a Data Architect

Let’s look at some of the key responsibilities of a data architect.

  • Designing the architecture – A data architect designs the data architecture for an organization. The architect has to decide on the relevant data, the methods of integrating it, and the tools used to access and process it. 
  • Placing data in an effective storage format – A data architect has to make sure that the data gets stored in an effective format. This is so because the data architect has to design the storage format and decide on the tools used to access and process it.
  • Working with big data – A data architect has to work with big data and understand how these data can be used for transforming legacy systems to be more efficient. This transformation can be done using data virtualization, data transformation, and/or data consolidation technologies. 
  • Understanding data privacy and compliance issues – A data architect has to understand data privacy and security issues. They have to make sure that the data architecture is compliant with the relevant regulations and data protection policies.

Roles in a Data Architecture Team

There are various roles in a data architecture team. Each person has a specific role, which has to be combined to create a comprehensive data architecture. Typically, the roles in a data architecture team are data engineers, data analysts, business analysts, data architects, and data scientists.

  • Data engineers – A data engineer is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining data pipelines. A data pipeline is a tool used to transform and load data. A data engineer has to understand the business data and model the data for the organization.
  • Data analysts – A data analyst is responsible for analyzing data and making sense of this data. The data analyst has to understand the data from the business and model it with data analytics tools and then make recommendations.
  • Business analysts – A business analyst focuses on understanding the business and modeling the data for the organization. They also have to understand the data engineering aspects, especially when it comes to storing and transferring data.

Things you’ll need to be a data architect

There is no typical path to becoming a data architect, as the role can be filled by individuals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. However, many data architects typically have a background in information technology, business administration, or computer science. 

Apart from the basics of software development, you’ll need to have the following skills, competencies, and experience to become a data architect.

  • Good design skills – This is crucial in a career as a data architect. A data architect has to understand the requirements, design, and implementation of the architecture. While implementing the architecture, a data architect has to have the design of the architecture in mind. 
  • Strong programming skills – While working as a data architect, you’ll have to be proficient in programming languages like Python and SQL. The data architecture tools you use have to be based on these languages. Besides these skills, you’ll also need to be comfortable working with big data and have excellent troubleshooting skills. 
  • Strong networking skills – This is very important, especially for implementing and managing big data technologies like Hadoop and Spark. Besides these technologies, you’ll also need to be good with networking technologies.

What Next?

Data architects design data-driven solutions that can be implemented practically by any team. They understand the intricacies of designing, implementing, and analyzing data-driven solutions. Data architects are the human faces of data.

They are the ones who see potential in every bit of information and make it useful. Data architects not only design data solutions but also understand how to implement these designs practically.

They have a keen eye for complex data structures, algorithms, and planning tools. They also have excellent troubleshooting skills, which are necessary when working with complex problems and technologies. The job of a data architect requires focus and analytical ability as well as software development skills.

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