Most of us know what an architect does. They’re trained professionals who design office buildings, homes, and other essential structures. Architects use their imagination and skills to come up with a blueprint for the builders to follow.

Meanwhile, in the intangible world of IT, architects have a similar role, except they design virtual resources. Their province is in the electronic aspects of data processing, and their vocation is split into many different types of IT-related architects. There are domain architects, solutions architects, enterprise architects, and security architects, to name a few. But today, we look at the data warehouse architect.

This article will show you what a data warehouse architect is, their roles and responsibilities, what skills they need, what their salaries look like, and what companies today are paying those salaries.

What’s a Data Warehouse, Anyway?

Before we figure out what a data warehouse architect does, we should first define a data warehouse. A data warehouse is a data management system designed to enable and support business intelligence (BI) activities, emphasizing analytics. Data warehouses are designed exclusively to perform queries and analysis, and they usually hold vast amounts of historical data. Data in a data warehouse typically comes from many sources like application log files and transaction applications.

Data warehouse information is key to making sound business decisions.

Alright, we know what a data warehouse is, so what’s a data warehouse architect, and why should you care?

What Is a Data Warehouse Architect?

Data warehouse architects are responsible for creating solutions relating to data warehouses and working alongside standard data warehouse technologies to develop plans that best support an organization or business. Data warehouse architects typically factor in the goals of the employer or the client’s needs as they design a specific architecture that can then be maintained by the staff and used to fulfill the desired purposes.

So, just like a typical architect designs a building or a naval architect designs a ship, data warehouse architects are responsible for designing and helping launch data warehouses, customizing them to meet the client’s needs.

But what does that mean, specifically? And do they only do design work, or is there more to the role? Well, as it happens:

What Does a Data Warehouse Architect Do: Roles and Responsibilities

Here’s a list of responsibilities and roles that fall within the purview of a data architect:

  • Prepare a design for all metadata relating to various Extract/Transform/Load (ETL) processes
  • Prepare the designs for needed database systems and recommend measures to improve performance
  • Provide support to any data warehouse initiatives
  • Design different ETL processes and conduct tests on the data
  • Define all metadata standards for the data warehouse
  • Conduct troubleshooting on all ETL processes and effectively resolve any issues
  • Create the appropriate status reports and submit them to management
  • Analyze every data warehouse architecture goal and identify what skill requirements they require
  • Develop and maintain database scripts and tools to make the automation process run smoother
  • Develop as many Extract/Transform/Load processes as needed and prepare Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cubes
  • Scrutinize the company's present data infrastructure, identify gaps, and develop plans to integrate the current systems with the desired future model
  • Create both logical and physical data models
  • Analyze all the needed data warehouse activities and identify what essential resources they require
  • Evaluate all proposals and requests and help implement the chosen items that will improve the data warehouse structure
  • Monitor processes and develop plans to expedite gathering and accessing all relevant metadata
  • Develop and implement any needed project work plans

In summary, data architects are responsible for visualizing and designing a business’s enterprise data management framework. This framework should describe the processes required to create, acquire, use, plan, specify, enable, maintain, retrieve, control, purge, and archive data.

Data architects are supposed to create a strategy that lines up with the business’s processes and includes:

  • Database development statuses
  • Data model designs
  • Data warehouse implementation and management
  • Data analytics systems implementation and management

What Skills Do Data Warehouse Architects Require?

As you can see by the exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of responsibilities and roles, data warehouse architects have quite a lot on their plate. So naturally, the aspiring data warehouse architect needs the right skills to accomplish these tasks and meet all expectations.

Here is a list of hard and soft skills every data warehouse architect should ideally master:

  • Education and experience. Aspiring data warehouse architects typically need to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, or Electronics Engineering and a few years of practical experience as a database administrator, solutions architect, software developer, or some other related position. It also doesn't hurt to have some hands-on experience doing data warehouse architect work, perhaps learning or mentoring.
  • Certification. Although this is not a mandatory requirement, getting data warehouse architect certification improves your knowledge and competence in the field and could be a difference-maker to a prospective employer.
  • Data warehouse architects must have a broad understanding of Data Modeling, SQL, OLAP, and ETL, including practical experience with at least one ETL tool, such as SSIS.
  • Data warehouse architects need an understanding of a couple of BI and reporting platforms, an awareness of industry trends and direction in BI/reporting, and how it can apply to an organization’s product strategies.
  • Candidates should be proficient in programming languages, particularly SQL, PL/SQL, Python, Cobol, and JCL.
  • Data warehouse architects should have skills and experience working with multiple database platforms such as SQL Server and MySQL, Oracle, DB2, Netezza, and IMS DB.
  • Prospective architects need an understanding of machine learning and predictive analytics.
  • Data warehouse architects should know Project Management and Source Control tools such as Git, TFS, and JIRA.
  • Architects should be familiar with DevOps best practices and automation of processes like building, configuration, deployment, documentation, testing, and monitoring.
  • Candidates need a firm understanding of domains like CRM, ERP, SCM or infrastructure enablement systems. It also helps if the candidate has a working knowledge of project and product management, though it’s not mandatory.
  • Communication skills. Applicants must have very good written and spoken communication skills. In addition, they should have active listening abilities to help make strategic decisions and advise senior management on subjects that will impact the organization, such as specialized technical issues.
  • Strong team-building skills. Data warehouse architects need solid team-building skills. These skills help provide direction for complicated projects, mentor any junior team members, and effectively communicate the organization’s chosen technologies and frameworks across all development teams.

What Does a Data Warehouse Architect Salary Look Like?

If you’ve looked at the roles and responsibilities of a data warehouse architect and expect that they get paid appropriately for that huge list of expectations, you are right! So let’s look at the data warehouse architect salary of a beginner and experienced candidate in the US, India, and UK.

According to Glassdoor, experienced data warehouse candidates in the United States can earn an average of USD 125,083, while Ziprecruiter also reports that an entry-level position makes a yearly average of USD 58,742.

According to Indeed, experienced data warehouse architects may earn a yearly average of ₹1,424,782, and beginners earn ₹1,128,742, according to Salaryexpert.

Looking at the United Kingdom, Glassdoor reports that data warehouse architects who have solid experience can make an annual average salary of £74,341. Entry-level architects, according to Uk.talent, start at £55,927 per year.

What Are the Top Five Companies Hiring Data Warehouse Architects?

So if you want a career that offers enormous challenges, but with compensation that is commensurate with the requirements. That’s great, but where can you find these jobs? Here are the top five companies or organizations currently hiring data warehouse architects, according to October 2021 figures provided by Glassdoor:

  • Intuit
  • University of Southern California
  • Facebook
  • University of Utah
  • Dell Technologies

That’s a pretty good lineup! Furthermore, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for database architects and architects will increase by 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is on pace with the escalating growth of other occupations.

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