Data architect vs. database architect
While data architects* and database architects are often mistaken for each other, they are different roles. Both are crucial to handling a company’s data, but their focus, responsibilities and associated industries differ.
Data architects take a bird’s-eye view of an organization’s needs and develop comprehensive data strategies. Their broad scope is concerned with how data flows through the entire organization, from initial collection to final analytics. Once final analytics are completed, data modelers then implement these strategies and solutions.
They typically work in technology companies, healthcare organizations, financial firms and government agencies. They often work closely with C-suite executives, business analysts, data scientists and other similar roles.
Database architects typically home in on the design and implementation of specific databases. Their specialty lies in database technology, and they often focus on resolving complex technical issues. They generally handle:
- Designing the structure of databases, including tables, relationships and indexes
- Fine-tuning databases for optimal performance
- Implementing security measures at the database level
- Handling data migration and database upgrades
Database architects often work with e-commerce platforms, companies with legacy systems needing database modernization, organizations with specialized database needs, or firms in retail, logistics or supply chain management, where database performance is critical. They’re usually part of a technical team and may report to IT managers, data architects or other technology leadership roles.
While these two positions may work closely together, they handle equally important but different aspects of data. However, those aspiring to pursue either role may share comparable educational backgrounds.
*University of Phoenix does not educationally prepare students to become a data architect; however, it does help prepare for roles as a database architect. Through the Bachelor of Science in Data Science program, students learn core skills such as data analytics, data management, data visualization and business intelligence.
Data architect job description
As with most jobs, a data architect’s daily duties may vary. So, depending on the employer, industry or specific project, the following responsibilities will change, but the general functions remain the same.
These professionals are responsible for:
- Turning high-level data model and management policies into specific applications, database models and more.
- Working with team leaders and managers. They often have a large hand in application design because of the correlation between business requirements, data and application.
- Working with CIOs and their staff. They need to communicate line organizational data collection and usage requirements. They work to align requirements with database and application technologies.
These are foundational to the role and provide valuable guidance for anyone considering this career path.