How to Become a Data Architect: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a data architect. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in data architecture. View article »

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  • 0:00 Becoming a Data Architect
  • 0:57 Career Requirements
  • 2:01 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:49 Step 2: Gain Work Experience
  • 3:18 Step 3: Get Certified

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Video Transcript

Becoming a Data Architect

So you think you might like to become a data architect…Data architects develop, analyze, and administer data for businesses, schools, and other organizations. They need sophisticated design and development skills to collect data and translate it for use in computer applications and systems. Data architects are like data ninjas who figure out how to create and manage data for companies in complex, creative, and innovative ways.

Most data and other computer network architects work in an office setting, and little physical activity is demanded of the job. While much of their work may be completed independently, some team collaboration may be required for certain projects. Data architects work full-time, with a possibility of overtime. Most data architects have a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT), as well as years of experience in the IT field.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or a related field
Certification Not required but can sometimes help with employment prospects and advancement
Experience 3-10 years of work experience in the IT field
Key Skills Communication; organizational; creativity; innovation; multi-tasking; leadership; ability work under pressure and time constraints; data modeling; computer programming and software skills with programs such as Microsoft Excel, Access, SQL, Business Objects software, XML, SOA, ETL, BI, ERP, and Agile
Median Salary* $106,769

Sources: Job postings from multiple employers (Dec. 2012), *,

What are the steps required to become a data architect?

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or a related field can help prepare students for future careers as data architects. An IT degree program may include coursework in database systems, data management, Web development, programming, operating systems, technology architecture, and systems analysis. These programs also could cover IT problem-solving skills.

Success Tip:

Complete an internship. Many years of experience are typically necessary to become a data architect. Building experience through a college internship may help students transition more smoothly into an entry-level position in the field.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Becoming a data architect may require 3 to 10 years of experience in the IT field. While there is no specific route to becoming a data architect, potential job candidates need extensive skills in database design, development, management, modeling, and warehousing. Entry-level IT jobs in programming or database administration can help aspiring data architects gain the experience needed for a job in data architecture.

Step 3: Get Certified

There are no certification requirements for data architects, but earning the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) distinction can help these professionals to stand out to prospective employers and advance their careers. Certification requirements include two years of work experience and a bachelor's degree. Additionally, candidates must pass the CDMP exam, offered by the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP). To renew CDMP certification, candidates are required to complete at least 120 hours of continuing education every three years.

Earn a bachelor's degree, gain some work experience, and get certified are the steps required to make the most of a career as a data architect.

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