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Data Architect – A Modern Visionary? Roles and Challenges of the Future

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18/08/2022 |

6 min read

Dominika Reszke,

Piotr Wawryka

Data architects may seem to be just one of the many data-related IT positions, while, in fact, it’s one of a kind. With responsibilities such as designing an end-to-end vision of the data’s flow within a company, data architects play a pivotal role in many data-driven organizations and environments.

This uniqueness is often reflected in the compensation level. Data architect, with the annual average salary nearing $124,000, is topping the data management roles remuneration comparison, being ahead of data scientist, data engineer, and BI engineer, not mentioning positions such as data modeler, database administrator, or simply data analyst.

But what exactly does being a data architect mean in practice in 2022? Is being a modern visionary one of the requirements for this position? And what challenges does the future hold for data architects? Let’s see.


Table of contents:

1. Data & business intelligence architecture at work

2. Data architect – key responsibilities

3. Data architects – challenges of the future

4. Data architect – a modern visionary?

Data & business intelligence architecture at work

Data-driven business transformation is still on the rise, and terms such as business intelligence architecture (that can be explained for example throughout a BI architecture diagram), or BI tools, as well as data warehouse architecture, data architecture diagrams, data marts, data lake, or enterprise data warehouse, are something that more and more people, not only business intelligence professionals, are getting accustomed to and increasingly aware of.

As for IT professionals, the knowledge of business intelligence architecture and tools may be a good starting point for the bright future of holding a position as a fully-fledged data architect. 

For instance, business intelligence data analysts, data scientists, and other IT department employees (e.g. a database architect, or a data center architect) with vast experience in performing an organization’s data analytics at least can give this transition a try. Profound knowledge of operational systems, database systems, systems analysis, and data management will probably be a must, however.

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A data architect is a responsible position that calls for both in-depth knowledge of data architecture and data management technologies as well as extensive experience in data and web technologies.

Data architect vs. data engineer

What’s worth noticing is that data architect and data engineer are not the same and the latter’s approach is a little bit more down-to-earth. If a data engineer may be called a builder of a data framework, then a data architect can be seen as a man with a vision to create blueprints for data management systems and an organization’s data architecture.

Data architect – key responsibilities

A data architect is a complex and demanding role that requires versatile skills, with the ability to switch between various data sources easily topping the list. In brief, data architects are “responsible for defining the policies, procedures, models, and technologies to be used in collecting, organizing, storing and accessing company information”. Developing specific data structures for particular end users within a given company is a part of this role.

Some of the more detailed responsibilities may include:

  • data mining
  • data collection
  • data profiling
  • data migration
  • data visualization
  • data management
  • data modeling
  • data integration
  • additional data analysis

Some of the basic requirements cover:

  • computer science or computer engineering degree
  • database management software fluency
  • application server software knowledge
  • design skills
  • analytical problem solving
  • predictive modeling
  • Agile methodologies

As data architect is a senior role, the number of required or desired technologies is much longer, though. Acting as a bridge between business operations and IT, data architects are to promote “clarity and efficiency in using data to drive decision-making” by delivering valuable actionable insights.

Data architects – challenges of the future

Data architects already have their hands full and the future may turn out to be even more demanding for them. The amount of market data to be analyzed is ever-increasing and more and more companies decide to make full use of them. However, tasks such as fixing data quality issues in order to get clean and consistent data as well as making sure users find relevant data may become more and more complex and difficult.

With a growing number of business users who want to gain a competitive edge thanks to transactional and operational data analyses, more and more profound knowledge, and proficiency in making in-depth analyses will be required to tip the scales and stand out among competitors.

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When we consider that the enormous amount of data that must be examined by a given business will only grow and that even greater competence in handling them appropriately will be required, the data architect role looks even more significant.

Also, new sources of data or methodologies to gather and analyze data will likely appear any time soon, so data architects should keep an eye on the recent developments in this area. And it is surely a fast-changing one, with some new data-centered roles and positions coming to the limelight on and on.

This, too, may modify what is expected from fully-fledged data architects but certainly, they will have to handle processing a huge influx of new data, and find a way of getting out of chaos or at least confusion in this regard. At the same time, a data architect will have to strive to maintain a high quality of the job done which may not be easy in such a hasty environment.

On top of that, data architects will be expected to make organizations they work for more agile, flexible, and adapted to changing circumstances – and deliver actionable insights that will let companies act accordingly. And the architects themselves should be ready that their range of duties will evolve over time, too.

Data architect – a modern visionary?

Database designing, implementing, and managing – a data architect’s basic responsibilities – make this role vital for any modern organization. The significance of this position’s duties also makes it stand out among other data-related fields and roles. Creating an overall vision of the data flow within a given organization may simply be a basis for other data-related actions to be taken.

A data architect is a responsible role that requires not only vast experience in data and web technologies, or profound expertise in data architecture and data management technologies. 

Having a vision regarding the overall design and handling of databases in a particular use case as well as big data architecture and BI architecture proficiency are also a must. However, in reality, in many organizations, more emphasis is put on immediate results than on a long-term plan or vision.

Anyway, due to the requirements associated with the role, a data architect may be called a modern visionary. This position is even more important if we take into consideration that a huge amount of data to be analyzed by a given organization will only get bigger and even greater proficiency in handling them correctly will be needed.

If you feel you’ve got what it takes to play the role of a fully-fledged data architect at Codete, check out our current job offers.

Rated: 5.0 / 1 opinions
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Dominika Reszke

IT Content Writer with 12 years of professional writing experience. Prefers facts and figures to any kind of fiction.

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Piotr Wawryka

Piotr has over 5 years of commercial experience writing Python applications. He is a software developer and data scientist at Codete since 2017 and a Ph.D. student at AGH University of Science Technology. His main field of interest is Neural Networks and their practical applications. He gives speeches at meetups and international conferences.

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