Data Modeler: Job Description & Career Requirements

Learn more about what data modelers do. Get details about the education and skills required for employment. See what the career prospects are to decide if this career is right for you.

Career Definition for a Data Modeler

Data modeling is the process through which a mass of data is separated into a structure that makes it intelligible to the binary processes of computers and useful to a business or large institution. Often working on a team of data architects, data modelers are systems analysts engaged in translating business requirements into conceptual, logical, and physical data models, who may focus on issues such as reducing redundancy of data within an existing computer system or improving the way in which it moves from one system to another.

Education Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Desire to learn, good customer service, problem-solving, and time management skills
Median Salary (2015)* $85,800 (for all computer systems analysts)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 21% (for all computer systems analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Many jobs in data modeling require a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on computer or information science or applied mathematics; some employers seek those with graduate or postgraduate courses in business or information systems management. Courses recommended by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) include digital logic and data representation; computer architecture and organization; memory architecture and directions in computing. Some jobs can be obtained through a combination of practical experience and college courses in computer science.

Skills Required

Data modelers are enthusiastic learners, dedicated to customer service and quality control. They also have excellent problem-solving and time management skills.

Career and Economic Outlook

The median salary for all computer systems analysts, of which data modelers are a part, was $85,800 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs for computer systems analysts overall are projected to grow by 21% from 2014-2024, a rate faster than the national average, according to the BLS.

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Alternate Career Options

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An actuary applies statistical and modeling methods to data in an effort to predict the likelihood of an event. Actuaries use this information to advise businesses in their decision making so they can reduce risk in a given situation. Actuaries can specialize in the types of risk they calculate, from life insurance to health insurance to pensions.

Actuaries hold a bachelor's degree, usually in actuarial science, math, business or a related field. They typically pursue professional certification, which takes several years and passing scores on several exams. Those whose work involves pensions are required to enroll in the federal Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries.

The BLS predicts that jobs for actuaries will increase 18% from 2014-2024; however, competition for jobs is still expected to be strong. The median salary for this job was $97,070 in 2015, per the BLS.

Database Administrator

A database administrator develops, modifies, and tests databases that hold company information. He or she is responsible for keeping this information well-organized and accessible on the company side and inaccessible to anyone outside the company. Database administrators also migrate data from old databases to new ones and backup databases for security purposes.

While it's possible to get a job with a bachelor's degree in management information systems, some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree that incorporates database management topics. Previous relevant experience is also key to obtaining a job as a database administrator. Industry certifications are available; they may be vendor-specific.

According to the BLS, jobs for database administrators are expected to increase 11% from 2014-2024. Median pay was $81,710 in 2015 and varied by industry.

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