Data Architect Vs. Application Architect

These professionals may both use technology to help streamline the workflow of a company, but many of their duties are different. Keep exploring to learn more about the details, including the median salary and projected job growth of each career.

Comparing Data Architects to Application Architects

Both of these professionals may design databases. However, data architects are more involved with the security of data and connecting multiple databases, while application architects often focus on designing the software or programs to be used by businesses and the public. According to the table, below, significant differences also exist in the salaries and expected job growth.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Data Architects Bachelor's Degree $114,313 9% (Computer Occupations, All Other)
Application Architects Bachelor's Degree $107,891 24% (Software Developers)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Data Architects vs. Application Architects

Data and application architects often work to develop systems and software that relate to the business needs of the company, including what the technology will be used for and who will be using it. Data architects focus on making sense of complex sets of data, allowing companies to make key decisions after analyzing this information. On the other hand, application architects may create database-related applications, but they also develop a multitude of other programs. Professionals in both these careers spend the majority of their time in office settings, working on teams with engineers and programmers.

Data Architects

Data architects review any databases or systems related to record keeping. This gives them a sense of what will need to be modified as they create new data architecture. To keep the data organized and the workflow efficient, they also bring together any partial data that may be scattered across the computer network. Implementing data from partner companies into the architecture is another of their challenges. Additionally, these architects often define simple search parameters to make it easier for users to find the information they need.

Job responsibilities of a data architect include:

  • Establishing security for financial and customer information
  • Adding new users and setting their access permissions
  • Creating a data map or model that shows how the information flows across departments
  • Testing modifications and updates to the architecture

Application Architects

Application architects may create applications for computers, tablets, or phones, and they may tailor these programs to private companies or consumers. The software they develop allows people to do various things with their devices, such as type documents or organize images. When they are working on a project for an organization, they often lead the development team, along with a project manager. They also meet with company leaders to ensure they understand how the program works, as well as verify that the specifications meet the needs of the company.

Job responsibilities of an application architect include:

  • Meeting with stakeholders to determine the specific requirements for the project
  • Modeling the code to build an application, making it easier for programmers to do their job
  • Finishing the project within the deadline
  • Making sure people in the organization are using the program correctly by developing a guide

Related Careers

Because both professionals work with large amounts of information, you may want to look into a career as a data scientist if a job as a data architect interests you. Of course, since individuals in each of these careers focus on updating the technology of companies, you could research a career as a network architect if a job as an application architect seems fulfilling.


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