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Data Architect Interview Questions

Last Updated on:

23 November 2022
Data Architect Interview Questions

Data is the currency of the modern world. Each day, vast amounts of data are being recorded and generated worldwide. There's a good reason for that. Because almost everything we do revolves around data, data has become so crucial that it is often the deciding factor for the success or failure of a business, research, or even staying in control. 

With this increasing amount of data, the need for individuals to handle the data is also increasing. This is one of the main reasons why the demand for skilled data workers is growing every day. 

Companies and industries try to gain an advantage over their competitors, so they realize the importance of data and handling data. This also means employers are always looking for skilled and talented data analysts and engineers. This is where data architecture and data architects come in, as they both are significant parts of data management.

Suppose you want to focus on building a career as a data architect. In that case, you will need proper guidelines regarding this field, where you can learn about a data architect’s job, responsibilities, duties, and salary. Moreover, you must know about the skills that the data architecture field requires and the recent and future market for data architecture.

So, here is the guideline that shows you the path to being a data architect in this tech-savvy world. In addition, you will get some Data Architect Interview Questions and tips that you may face on the interview board as a bonus! 

So, Let’s begin! 

What Does a Data Architect Do?

Data architecture is a part of the IT sector that deals with a network's data management systems and technologies. Data architecture is similar to construction architecture; a construction architect draws blueprints of a framework to create a structure, whereas a data architect designs blueprints for the framework of a data management system. 

Data architects' main job is to create a network between a company’s IT sector and the rest of the departments, including necessary changes, and manage all data according to the business requirements.   

A data architect deals with the data infrastructure of an industry, where they review and analyze the data management network, design future databases, and devise solutions to manage data for the company and their user. In addition, they work on creating policies and procedures and implementing models and technologies to handle a company’s necessary information.

Their main objective is reconciling business needs and technical requirements by defining data policies and standards. 

Data architects work in the data management sector of a company. Therefore, they need expertise in NoSQL databases. In addition, they must be experts in programming languages like Python, Java, and PHP to handle NoSQL databases. Also, they need to be familiar with column store, document, and graph databases to completely handle data management. 

Data architects typically work with a team consisting of data miners, engineers, analysts, and scientists. Therefore, they work with data storage, data collection, data system access, and security. They focus on building a top-level relationship and data policies, while the other team members handle the applications and approaches to designing a specific database.

Responsibilities and Duties

A data architect is a responsible position for a company as they need to handle its overall data management system. They are like the manager of a data project. They have to collaborate with other team members in data science and data engineering so that the team can use the database effectively. 

Data architects also need to work as a bridge between business operations and IT. The information data collected and used by business operations are stored, acquired, and retrieved by IT from database resources. Data architects monitor and analyze this process within the technology architecture. 

This wide range of work requires data architects to perform some of the most important organizational responsibilities. These responsibilities are: 

  • Set the organization’s data standards and principles.
  • Design the data architecture and construct or further develop the model in the organizations. 
  • Devise and implement concepts for efficient data flow in the organization.
  • Data organizations and data classification.
  • Provide specifications for data quality.
  • Monitor and analyze data sources using database and data warehousing tools.
  • Design schemes for accelerating the workflow of the organization. 
  • Generate practical forms of ideological concepts.
  • Control regulations for data protection.
  • Create a vision for secure storage.
  • Cooperate with system designers and programmers.
  • Train staff members.
  • Test and troubleshoot bugs.
  • Bring new ideas to improve further or previous database systems.

Basic Skills Needed for a Data Architecture Job 

A data architect must be an expert in both business and technical skills. The translation of business requirements and business operations processes into data collection and management policies is one of their required primary skills. Moreover, enterprise architecture (EA) is also a relevant skill in this sector as the concept of "solution architect" is now bringing together data architecture and general architecture to represent a close tie to EA in those companies.

A practical data architect’s skill involves expertise in data modeling, database administration and management systems, information management, and SQL. Also, they must know about data law and visualization and have the tendency to work efficiently in a distributed system. 

Besides personal skills, a data architect should also have educational qualifications that can help to pursue working in the data architecture industry. 

In terms of soft skills, a data architect must understand high levels of emotional intelligence to sustain practical ideas. They must also know how to collaborate with other team members and have strong communication skills. 

1. Data Architect Skills (Must have)

  • Ability to create data models, from conception to optimization
  • Ability to deal with complex problems
  • Ability to work decisively on solutions 
  • Expertise in data modeling, database management, and information
  • Expert knowledge in SQL and data administration
  • Knowledge of data law and data visualization
  • Knowledge of data visualization tools
  • Expert in programming
  • Ability to work in distributed systems
  • High emotional intelligence
  • Team player skills
  • Strong communication skills

2. Educational Qualification

Every multinational and domestic organization hires employees based on their educational qualifications. Most well-paying jobs include a primary academic degree in a relevant field. You must have a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and business administration to be a company's data architect. Besides, a master’s degree in a relevant field is also considered a bonus skill in this sector. 

3. Bonus Skills

  • Data mining to uncover patterns, anomalies, and correlations in large data sets
  • Machine learning to build scalable systems for handling big data 
  • The ability to work as the key team leader for line organizations
  • Collaborating with CIOs and their staff to communicate withline organizations
  • Analytical problem-solving skills

Common Questions Asked in the Interview for a Data Architect Job

Data architecture is a simple term that indicates organizing and storing data for easier use. If you want to be hired as a company's data architect, you must ensure that you are eligible for the post to handle data and database management.   

In terms of potential, you must face the interview board, where employers will check your potential to work for their company. Most of the interview questions are about whether you are fit for the job or not. So, sometimes you can face difficulties answering those questions if you don’t prepare for an interview.

Here are some sample interview questions for the data architect position you may face on an interview board. With these questions, employers mainly check your strategic, primary, and systematic knowledge as a data architect. 

Question#1: As a data architect, you should be familiar with some main components of data architecture. Can you explain those main components in short? 

(This question is typically asked to check your basic knowledge of data architecture. So you have to be specific and also precise in answering this question.)

Sample Answer: Data architecture has three main components: data, software, and hardware. 

Data architecture is the blueprint for data structure and data management. It defines the behavior and the relationship between data elements and sets standards for storing, managing, and accessing data. 

Software architecture includes high-level software systems, system components, and their relation. Software architecture is used to image the system and make necessary changes to improve the existing system or a new one. Hardware architecture is the structure of a hardware system that includes hardware components and the relationship between them. 

Question#2: As a data architect, you must know how to design a data structure. Can you tell me some of the challenges you may face regarding this? 

(Employers try to check your strategic and analytical knowledge of basic data architecture with this question. So you have to give this answer by mentioning a few challenges and solving them with analytical ability.) 

Sample Answer: While designing a model for data structure, I often face challenges dealing with legacy systems. Dealing with a legacy system is a significant challenge because sometimes it does not fit with new technologies, or their maintenance, making it challenging. 

Also, I often face challenges dealing with a large data set, part of a scalable data architecture. In addition, another common challenge for me is designing a secure data architecture that enables sensitive data protection. 

Question#3: To work as a Data Architect, you must have some skills. In your opinion, what are the essential skills that a data architect should have? 

(This question is related to the basic skills required for a data architect. In order to work for a company, a data architect should have some basic skills in data management and data structure design. Here, employers will try to know about your skills that you can apply for working for the company.) 

Sample Answer: Communication skills are one of the most important skills for a data architect. A data architect needs to deal with various stakeholders besides managing and analyzing data structure and network. This skill includes the ability to explain technical terms to non-technical users and staff. Also, they must know about translating business requirements into the data structure to achieve the company’s targets. 

Data architects must be able to work with different types of software and hardware tools for handling data and also be able to understand database design principles. 

Question#4: Can you explain what you understand by “data model''?

(A data model is a fundamental question of data architecture. For this question, you have to answer based on how the data model works, the purposes of the data model, and the significance of the data model in data architecture.)

Sample Answer: In data architecture, a data model is a framework of a particular structure that helps to organize data by following certain instructions. This structure can be based on the relationships of data elements, or it can be based on the rules that help to handle data arrangement. Using a data model, we can represent data in various ways, such as in a database, file system, or network. 

Question#5: With a large data set, you have to be careful about properly handling the dataset management. So can you explain how you will ensure data security? 

(This question is a part of data management and database controlling a structure. Every organization has personal data, which is confidential. So employers look for those who can maintain data security. When answering this question, you must emphasize your potential for securing data.) 

Sample Answer:  Data security of any organization or sector is a very concerning matter for me. For that reason, I have implemented several measures to ensure that all data is properly secured. Therefore, I have worked on a robust security system that includes intrusion detection, firewalls, and encryption. I also like to add that I have a strict mindset for following practices for data security and restriction for accessible and used data. 

Some Additional Questions:

Interviewers may ask you questions other than the ones we discussed earlier. You have to be fully prepared for all types of questions that may be asked in an interview board. Here are some additional questions that you may face during an interview. 

Question#6: Name the types of SQL joins.

Sample Answer: There are different join operations used in SQL. They are: 

  • Inner Join (also known as Simple join)
  • Outer Join (also known as Full outer join)
  • Self Join
  • Cross Join
  • Left Join
  • Right Join

Question#7: What is your preferred database system, and what do you believe it has to offer over others?

Sample Anwer: Describe your preferred DBMS, like MYSQL.

Question#8: How to ensure the integrity of data?

Sample Answer: You can ensure data entry by:

  • Choosing proper systems, platforms and services.
  • Updating data regularly
  • Plan for the future
  • Monitor changes
  • Have a dedicated security system and limit usage.

Question#9: How to manage your database with external data sources?

Sample Answer: You can easily manage your database with external sources by:

  •  Using data analytics to offer and improve data-driven insights.
  • Streamlining the processes involved in your business.
  • Using services
  • Improving the existing management of databases.

Question#10: What are the underlying problems while working with open-source technology?

There are many other questions as well. But usually, you will often face these questions when giving an interview for a data architect position. So, practicing these questions will help you prepare well for a job in the chemical engineering sector. 

Career Path of a Data Architect

There are large-scale career paths open for data architects. However, to build a career in data architecture, they must complete the necessary professional development, train for the relevant certifications, and complete a master’s degree. 

Starting from working as a junior data architect, you can build up your career to chief information officer after years of personal skill development and experience.

Companies promote data architects based on their skills and ability to manage data structures and fulfill business requirements. The promotion usually takes place internally, but sometimes, when they cannot find a suitable employee, they look for external applicants who would be a good fit for the job. 

So, if you are a newbie or planning to enter the data architecture industry, then here is a career path for you to choose whenever the right time comes. 

1. Junior Data Architect

In the beginning, you may start as a junior data architect after completing your undergraduate degree. But with little effort and gained experience in data management, designing data models, and analyzing business requirements, you will soon be promoted to a senior data architect position. 

2. Senior Data Architect

Senior data architects' primary responsibilities are creating the strategic design of a data structure. In addition, their job is optimizing databases, developing ETL solutions, and managing automated data flow. 

As a senior architect, your role will be making technical platforms for the company and managing cloud and on-prem environments. You will handle database elements and ensure data quality as well. 

3. Lead Data Architect

A lead data architect is responsible for managing a company's data architecture. Lead data architects’ main job is to develop a data and database management system based on a company's business requirements. They work closely with experts in the IT sector and data engineers to build the system. 

Another responsibility of a lead data architect is data storage and visualization with the help of data visualization software.

4. Project Manager 

A project manager's main job is to supervise a project. They oversee every project segment to complete the project on time and within a specific budget. 

A project manager’s responsibilities include finding project resources, checking budget reports, and keeping the stakeholders up to date throughout the project. In short, project managers are the head of a project and have access to everything related to a running project. 

5. Senior Project Manager 

Senior Project Manager plays the role of all-in-all of a project. In terms of delivering a project on time or ensuring the availability of necessary resources, A project manager checks upon everything and leads a team to complete their goals successfully. 

They make a plan of action for a new project and ensure the project's cost is within budget. Also, they host meetings from time to time to oversee the whole project and give necessary instructions to the team. 

Current and Future Market Demand for a Data Architect 

Working in a data field is challenging as it is changing every day. A data scientist's main responsibility is to create a data warehouse and analyze data in some particular way. But the demand for it is decreasing with modern technology and scientific changes. 

Data architects' primary responsibility lies in giving a new look at data that industries want nowadays. They define how a database will function, providing data flow to a wide range of businesses. In recent times, data architecture is now expanding more, and it’s no wonder it will do so. 

Salary Range of a Data Architect

A data architect’s salary varies depending on some factors, such as their skill and the nature of the company they work for.

Entry-level data architects who are new in this job sector can earn approximately $76,000 annually. After a few years of experience and gaining skills, their mean salary increases to $120,000, whereas for senior architects, the wage can rise to $156,000.

Josh Evan

Written by:

Josh Evan

Josh Evan is the professional career counselor and career development writer at When Work Works. He loves to see people from this field succeed through initiating the right thing in the right way. He never tells; he shows the way. We appointed John not because of his impressive CV. It was his counseling charisma which stood out of everything. He can implant idea, confidence and productive thoughts into mind almost effortlessly. His pen and mouth both speak for the greater good.

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