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What is a data architect and how to hire one

Data is often called the new oil, and businesses are increasingly relying on it to drive decisions and strategy.

Companies that use analytics well in marketing and sales are 1.5 times more likely to grow faster than their competitors. A data architect plays a key role in achieving these results by designing and managing the data systems that power effective analytics. Understanding what a data architect does and how to find the right one for your team is crucial to leveraging data for better business performance.

This guide will help you grasp the ins and outs of the data architect role and give you tips to hire the best candidate for your projects.

What does a data architect do?

A data architect designs, creates, and manages an organization’s data architecture. They work closely with data engineers, data scientists, and other IT professionals to ensure data systems are efficient, secure, and well-structured.

Here’s a quick rundown of their main tasks:

  1. Data modeling: Data architects create visual representations of data and how it flows through business processes. This helps ensure data quality and integrity.
  2. Database design: They develop and manage databases that store and organize data, choosing the right technologies and optimizing performance.
  3. Data integration: They make sure data from various sources fits together seamlessly, designing and implementing data pipelines and ETL (extract, transform, load) processes.
  4. Data governance: They establish rules and procedures to ensure data quality, security, and compliance with regulations, including setting up data standards and managing metadata.
  5. Performance tuning: They optimize databases and data systems to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.

Are they also data scientists?

While data architects and data scientists often work closely together, their roles are distinct. Data architects focus on designing and managing the data infrastructure, ensuring that data is organized, accessible, and secure. They set up the frameworks and systems that allow data to flow smoothly within an organization.

Data scientists, on the other hand, analyze and interpret complex data to help organizations make informed decisions. They use statistical methods, algorithms, and machine learning to extract insights from data. While data architects build the systems, data scientists use those systems to perform their analyses.

Both roles require a deep understanding of data, but they focus on different aspects of the data lifecycle. A data architect ensures the data environment is robust and scalable, while a data scientist leverages that environment to generate valuable business insights.

Why hiring the right data architect matters

A skilled data architect can help your organization use data to drive better business decisions, improve efficiency, and stay ahead of your competition. They ensure your data systems are well-designed, efficient, and secure, making it easier to manage and analyze data.

They help you avoid data mismanagement

On the other hand, hiring the wrong person can cause significant issues. Poorly designed data systems can lead to inefficiencies, increased costs, and potential security risks. Data mismanagement might result in lost opportunities and compliance problems. Bringing the right data architect on board can help you avoid these pitfalls and create a robust data infrastructure that supports your overall organizational data strategy.

They'll work well with you and your data team

A good data architect also works well with other team members, such as data scientists, data engineers, and data analysts. This teamwork helps streamline data processes and makes sure that data is used effectively across the organization.

You'll benefit from their expertise

Hiring a competent data architect who understands emerging data technologies and can implement effective data management processes can significantly enhance your organization's ability to leverage data.

They play a key role in establishing data governance, maintaining data quality, and ensuring data security, which are all essential for making informed business decisions and achieving long-term success.

What to look for in a data architect

Like any tech expert, finding the right data architect means looking for someone who blends technical skills, analytical abilities, and business understanding.

Here are some important qualities and qualifications to consider:

Technical skills

  • Knowledge of database technologies: Look for experience with SQL, NoSQL, Oracle, and MongoDB. A solid understanding of these technologies is fundamental for managing and organizing data effectively.
  • Experience with data modeling tools: Tools like ERwin and IBM InfoSphere Data Architect are essential for creating data models that reflect business processes accurately.
  • Familiarity with ETL tools and processes: ETL (extract, transform, load) tools such as Informatica, Talend, and Apache Nifi are crucial for integrating data from various sources.
  • Understanding of cloud data platforms: Experience with cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure is important as many organizations are moving their data infrastructure to the cloud for better scalability and cost efficiency.

Analytical skills

  • Strong problem-solving abilities: Data architects need to tackle complex data challenges and come up with effective solutions.
  • Experience with data analysis and visualization tools: Proficiency in tools like Tableau and Power BI helps in making sense of data and presenting it in an understandable way.
  • Knowledge of data warehousing and big data technologies: Understanding technologies like Hadoop and Spark is key for managing and processing large datasets efficiently.

Business understanding

  • Ability to translate business needs into technical solutions: A good data architect understands the business side and can design data systems that support business goals.
  • Experience working with various teams and stakeholders: Collaboration is crucial. Data architects often work with data analysts, data engineers, and business leaders to ensure data solutions meet everyone's needs.
  • Knowledge of data governance and regulatory compliance: Ensuring data quality, security, and compliance with regulations is a big part of the job. This includes understanding data governance frameworks and regulatory requirements.


  • Educational background: a degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is often required. Advanced degrees can be a plus.
  • Certifications: certifications such as Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP), AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer, or Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate are highly valuable.
  • Knowledge of data science: understanding data science principles and techniques can be beneficial, as it helps in designing systems that support data analysis and machine learning.

When you find a candidate who checks these boxes, you'll have someone who can build and maintain a data architecture that supports your business needs and drives success.

How to assess potential consultants

Finding the right data architect consultant requires a careful and thorough assessment.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you evaluate consultants effectively:

Review their resume and portfolio

Start by examining their resume and portfolio. Focus on their experience with data architecture, database management, and data management processes. Look for involvement in successful data projects and examples showcasing their problem-solving abilities. Ensure their background aligns with your specific needs and the technologies your organization uses.

  • Experience: look for consultants who have worked on projects similar to yours. Specific experience with database technologies like SQL, NoSQL, Oracle, and MongoDB is important.
  • Case studies: request case studies or project summaries to understand their approach and results.
  • Certifications: check for relevant certifications in data architecture and related fields.

Conduct technical interviews

Technical interviews are essential. Ask consultants to explain their approach to data modeling, database design, and data integration. Provide hypothetical scenarios to assess their problem-solving skills and technical knowledge. Evaluate their familiarity with emerging data technologies and enterprise data management frameworks.

  • Scenario-based questions: use real-world problems to understand their thought process.
  • Technical skills assessment: test their knowledge of data modeling tools like ERwin and IBM InfoSphere Data Architect, ETL tools like Informatica, Talend, Apache Nifi, and cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure.
  • Knowledge of trends: discuss their awareness and application of the latest data architecture trends and technologies.

Evaluate their communication skills

Effective communication is vital for a data architect consultant. They need to explain complex ideas clearly to both technical and non-technical team members. Assess their ability to convey technical concepts in simple terms, which is essential for collaborating with data analysts, data scientists, and business stakeholders.

  • Clarity and conciseness: evaluate their ability to explain data architecture concepts without jargon.
  • Stakeholder communication: assess how they interact with different stakeholders to gather requirements and provide updates.

Check references

References offer valuable insights into a consultant’s work ethic, technical skills, and ability to collaborate. Speak with previous clients or colleagues to understand their strengths and potential weaknesses. This step helps confirm if they’re the right fit for your team.

  • Client feedback: ask about their problem-solving approach, reliability, and the impact of their work.
  • Collaboration skills: inquire about their ability to work within a team and adapt to organizational culture.

Common pitfalls to avoid

Avoid these common mistakes when hiring a data architect consultant:

  • Overemphasizing technical skills: while technical expertise is important, consider their ability to understand business needs and communicate effectively with stakeholders. A well-rounded consultant balances technical skills with business understanding.
  • Ignoring cultural fit: ensure the consultant aligns with your organization’s values and culture. A good cultural fit enhances collaboration and overall satisfaction.
  • Overlooking continuous learning: data architecture is always evolving. Look for consultants committed to staying updated with the latest technologies and best practices. This shows they are proactive and adaptable to new trends and challenges in the field.

Additional considerations

  • Project management: assess their project management skills, as they often need to oversee data architecture projects from inception to completion.
  • Cost and value: consider their fee structure and ensure it aligns with the value they bring to your organization. Sometimes paying a bit more for a highly experienced consultant can save costs in the long run through efficient and effective solutions.

Following these steps will help you find a data architect consultant who not only has the right skills but also fits well within your team and organization, driving your data projects to success.


Hiring the right data architect consultant can transform how your organization leverages data. The right consultant brings technical expertise, analytical skills, and a deep understanding of business needs, ensuring that your data systems are efficient, secure, and aligned with your goals.

Finding the perfect match may take effort, but the payoff is substantial. Your organization stands to gain from improved data management, enhanced collaboration, and a more strategic use of data resources. Make the commitment to hire a data architect consultant who meets your needs, and watch your organization thrive in the data-driven landscape.

Looking for external data architects?

If you're seeking to hire data architect consultants, we're here to help.

Finding the ideal data architect involves more than technical expertise. You need someone who can seamlessly integrate with your team, grasp your workflow, and enhance your data infrastructure. This process can be challenging and time-consuming.

Right People Group specializes in connecting organizations with highly skilled IT consultants, including top-tier data architects. Our reputation for fast, effective matches means you can rely on us to find an architect who meets your technical needs, project timelines, and cultural fit.

Choosing Right People Group for your data architect search offers:

  • Swift matching: We prioritize your time and work efficiently to connect you with the right architect quickly.
  • Quality assurance: Our architects are thoroughly vetted to ensure they are leaders in their field, giving you confidence in their expertise.
  • Customized service: We recognize that every project is unique. Our goal is to find architects who are the perfect fit for your specific project requirements.

Contact us today to start your search and secure the ideal match promptly and efficiently.

Contact Henrik Arent

Henrik is always open to discuss your specific needs. He can quickly give you an accurate picture of the solution we can deliver to meet your needs.

Satisfied customers


“Our needs were very specific and we expected that they would be difficult to solve. Yet, shortly after we contacted Right People they delivered a top consultant at a fair price. It has worked perfectly.”

Tue Ansvig, Head of Department, eBay

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