Data Science

How Much Do Data Architects Make? [2022]

How Much Do Data Architects Make? [2022]
Data architects often have data science backgrounds, meaning they usually know multiple programming languages that include Python, SQL, Java, and C++. Image from
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella November 23, 2022

The average data architect earns over $120,000 annually, with top professionals making over $200,000. Read on to learn how to set yourself apart from the field.

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According to a Barc Research study, nearly half of surveyed business managers believe their data warehousing practices fall below company standards. A shortage of qualified professionals to manage these essential digital assets helps explain this critical shortfall.

The problem may worsen as institutions’ reliance on data architecture, and big data in general, grows. According to Zippia, data architects “are one of the fastest-growing roles in technology, with fewer qualified people to perform the role than there are openings to hire.”

Because qualified professionals are scarce, data architects earn high salaries. Their average base salary is well over six figures, far above the national average. Total compensation figures (including healthcare and incentives) drive the number near $200,000 a year.

This article offers a more detailed answer to the question how much do data architects make? It also covers:

  • What does a data architect do?
  • How much do data architects make?
  • How to become a data architect

What does a data architect do?

Data architects collaborate with high-ranking officials in their organization (including the chief information officer) to marry business with IT. Their duties may include constructing databases, managing data flows, modeling data, improving data security, and explaining their findings with data visualization. Additionally, they work to create an overall data framework on which other data professionals build. Effective data architects craft unique solutions for each client and project.

Data architects often have data science backgrounds, meaning they usually know multiple programming languages that include Python, SQL, Java, and C++. As professionals in big-picture roles, however, they may utilize their technical skills sparingly. For instance, other IT professionals collect data using the frameworks and goals that architects help set. TechTarget says data architects focus on business intelligence (including data policy management). Data architects often manage teams of employees, meaning they need top-notch communication skills.

It’s easy to confuse data architects with data engineers, who employ similar skill sets to manage and build individual data collection systems. These professionals rely more on their technical skills including programming, cloud computing, and data processing. They often report to data architects.

The difference between data architects and database architects

Data architects and <database architects have similar job titles but their jobs differ in significant ways. Database architects work with individual databases, whereas data architects take a macro view. According to the federal occupational database O*Net, database architects handle security and overall workflow for their database; they are sometimes called information architects. Related job titles include IT architect, system engineer, database architect, consultant, programmer, and developer.

Database architects rely primarily on their technical skills. O*Net reports that they work with database user interface and query software (Apache Hive, Oracle JDBC, Transact-SQL), development environment software (Apache Ant, Apache Kafka, Common business oriented language COBOL), and metadata management software (CA Erwin Data Modeler, IBM Rational System Architect, SAP PowerDesigner). They also need excellent problem-solving and interpersonal skills to collaborate with coworkers and superiors in other fields.

Database architects typically come from computer science and information technology backgrounds. O*Net reports that the highest level of education for 58 percent is a bachelor’s degree; 29 percent have a master’s.


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How much do data architects make?

Data architects typically earn excellent salaries. PayScale sets the average data architect salary at $124,500, while Glassdoor reports total average pay at $160,143 per year.

Factors like years of experience can determine what data architects earn—even at the same company. The salary range for Amazon data architects runs between $178,000 and $288,000. Glassdoor lists the top-paying companies for data architects (and average annual total pay) as Informatica ($227,539), Amazon ($224,281), Intel Corporation ($223,524), Microsoft ($221,940), DataStax ($221,925), Cisco Systems ($220,590), Dell Technologies ($207,238), DoubleClick ($207,085), and DigitalBytes ($206,111).

ZipRecruiter offers data architect income data by state. The site identifies Nevada as the top-paying state ($179,000 salary), followed by Massachusetts ($177,000), Alaska ($171,000), Washington ($165,000), and New York ($161,000). Low-paying states include Louisiana ($112,000), Georgia ($114,000), Florida ($121,000), Mississippi ($124,000), and Alabama ($124,000).

How to become a data architect

Applicants for the most competitive data architect jobs, especially senior positions, bolster their resumes with education and experience. Becoming a data architect usually requires IT or data experience. Professionals commonly spend years as database engineers or administrators..

Data architects typically hold a STEM undergraduate degree, frequently in computer engineering or computer science. These programs help students develop skills in programming, systems analysis, technology architecture, and more. Degree programs also allow students to pursue an internship during school. Internships offer essential experience and can lead to entry-level positions, sometims at the company you intern with.

After college, the first role for many professionals is data analyst or data modeler. Then, they work up to data engineer or database administrator before jumping to data architect. Though there’s no universal work experience requirement, Indeed says three to five years of IT experience is typical.

Many IT professionals pursue certification to improve their resumes and skill sets. Two relevant options, per Indeed, include the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals’ Certified Data Professional and the Data Management Association International’s Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) certification. Earning one or both can increase your odds of becoming a data architect.

Earning a certification can also lead to a raise. A Skillsoft Global Knowledge report reports that IT professionals who completed a certification (or otherwise improved their skill set) earned between $12,000 and $13,000 more than average in 2020. The study also found earning more certifications leads to higher pay.

Earning a master’s degree is another way to become a data architect or improve your skill set; according to Indeed, a Master of Science in Data Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science are two top choices. Master’s programs offer a more well-rounded education than individual certifications. These programs can add credibility to your resume and help you pursue a niche focus. Career changers can pursue master’s degrees to learn necessary IT competencies and land their first jobs.

What you’ll study depends on the graduate program you choose. A Master of Science in IT may cover advanced programming, business intelligence, data management, data modeling, and SQL query design. A data science program may focus on algorithms, data management, data warehousing, information visualization, and visual analytics coursework. Many universities offer specialization opportunities through which students can pursue a niche focus. Students typically showcase their work in a capstone project during their final year, an excellent way to develop a work sample.

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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