Architects design structures. The structures designed by traditional architects include houses and other buildings. The structures designed by data architects aren't as tangible but are just as important. Data architects are responsible for the structure of data. Consider the applications and databases you've used. What you see on your computer screen is just a user interface. The data architect has to look deeper not only to see how data is used and stored, but also to find ways to make the best use of that data in the safest way possible. An enterprise data architect is responsible for all data types across a multidivisional enterprise or corporation.
An enterprise data architect's primary goal is to keep data easily accessible and accurate. To meet that goal, this architect reviews, refines and implements data standards. Examples of data standards include those that define how data is categorized or how alphanumeric codes are assigned to represent specific products, customers and other data types. After gathering information about data use in the workplace, this architect creates a blueprint or road map, showing processes and services that affect data use and data standards. The architect then works with project managers and business stakeholders to implement that design.
An enterprise data architect must be a good communicator. Much of her role involves listening to business users to understand their data needs. The architect must be able to talk directly with those users, speaking in terms they understand -- this means she should have good business knowledge and be able to explain technical concepts without using complex, technical terms. The enterprise data architect must also have excellent organizational skills and the ability to both recognize and present relationships between data, data types, and business processes by creating flowcharts and other diagrams.
Before becoming an enterprise data architect, a qualified candidate should have experience as a data architect and a track record working with teams to solve business data problems. From a technical standpoint, the enterprise architect must have hands-on knowledge of data modeling methods, databases, data warehouses, master data and metadata. From a business standpoint, she should have experience as a business analyst to address business process improvement with users in finance, purchasing, quality, human resources and other departments.
Education & Compensation
Most hiring companies will expect an enterprise data architect to have a bachelor's degree in computer science and a Master of Business Administration. Candidates should have at least 10 years of experience in database design, data warehousing and data modeling. Specialized training should include enterprise architecture, project management, Oracle, SQL, DB2 and data modeling software. According to Robert Half Technology, data architects could expect a starting salary between $104,250 and $143,500 in 2013.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.