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A look into your career as a database architect

Do you have an affinity for data? Maybe rather than analyzing it, you prefer to figure out how to collect and store it to support a company’s functionality. Database architects are responsible for developing innovative database solutions for performance and scalability to help organizations increase productivity and minimize downtime. It’s a career option you may want to consider if you prefer working with how data is organized rather than what it says.

In the growing field of information technology, database architects play an important role by designing, testing and implementing database features to ensure everything operates correctly. This job requires technical savvy, including knowledge of programming systems like UNIX and Oracle, interpersonal skills and, potentially, management experience. Not only do database architects work on technical solutions, but they must also collaborate with and train colleagues, making this a multidimensional role.

With such a varied skill set needed for database architect positions, job candidates must offer a combination of technical knowledge and professional experience to appeal to hiring managers. Whether you’ve been working in IT for a while or are looking to make a career shift, having the right educational background can be beneficial when pursuing a future as a database architect.

An online Master of Science in Information Technology can provide students with advanced expertise in networking, cybersecurity and information systems, helping prepare graduates for IT careers in almost any industry. With courses in computer architecture, network architecture and information systems analysis and modeling as well as IT software development, graduates of an MS in Information Technology program are able to seek opportunities with increased responsibilities and leadership potential in their current or future organizations.

A typical day in the life of a database architect

A typical database architect job description can cover many tasks and responsibilities, leading to an average day that may be quite busy. Database architects work to maintain an organization’s operations, programming and security. They design and develop databases that support business applications or focus on specific aspects of database functionality, like interfaces. They must ensure system scalability, security, performance and reliability. If entering this career, other tasks that may fill your day could include:

  • Designing and constructing large, relational databases
  • Integrating new systems within existing structures
  • Refining database system performance and functionality
  • Monitoring, documenting, updating, modifying or testing active systems
  • Maintaining database and automated processes
  • Creating backup plans to prevent data loss

With so many potential responsibilities, it’s equally important to note that database architects don’t always work alone. This is a role that can require a lot of collaboration. Whether sharing results and observations from projects or working with other IT specialists on rectifying concerns and constraints, a full team of system architects, software architects, design analysts and others often works together to ensure database and system creation meets business and industry standards.

A closer look at the professional landscape of a database architect

Increased data needs from a variety of companies drives the rising opportunities for database architects. From solutions that track incoming and outgoing flights at airports to frameworks that store and organize social media posts, databases are essential. This trend is leading to a projected job growth of 11 percent — higher than the national average for all occupations — per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of job openings between 2016 and 2026 could reach over 22,000, according to O*Net OnLine.

Hiring managers often look for candidates with a bachelor’s in information technology, computer science or information systems, along with a considerable amount of work experience in IT. However, it’s becoming more frequent for hiring managers, especially those at companies requiring large databases, to prefer candidates with a master’s in information technology or a related subject.

The median database architect salary was about $88,500 in 2017, according to O*Net OnLine.

Becoming a database architect

In addition to being well-versed in database technology and staying apprised of innovations in your field, possessing certain traits you might not immediately consider can also help you be an effective database architect. Because the role includes responsibilities beyond just programming and working with databases, it’s important to demonstrate qualities such as the following:

  • Critical thinking: This skill is crucial when considering the challenges of the position. Are you able to assess the needs of a company by evaluating complex information from a variety of sources, bringing data together to form a succinct conclusion that leads to innovative technology solutions?
  • Complex problem-solving: You will likely use this competency often due to the fact that much of this role requires you to react quickly and effectively to address issues that arise as systems are tested and evaluated for productivity. You may also be called upon to troubleshoot unexpected system failures.
  • Attention to detail: Database construction requires expertise in complex systems, where even a minor error can lead to major issues. The ability to keep track of details and understand how they all come together to form a functioning system can be essential in this role.
  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills can prove useful, especially when it comes to sharing the results of your work with key company stakeholders. These skills are also beneficial because you will likely work as part of a team, interacting with developers, managers and other IT colleagues.
  • Multitasking: With the potential to have a wide variety of tasks to complete in an average day, it’s important to develop effective strategies to multitask and manage your time to ensure each day is productive.

Learn more about your potential career as a database architect

The ASU Online Master of Science in Information Technology can help students improve their technical competencies and increase their knowledge of today’s cyber system infrastructure. From conceptualizing to organizing to realizing IT projects, students can learn how to meet the database and technological needs of various types of organizations. For those specifically interested in pursuing a career as a database architect, the MS in Information Technology offers advanced courses in enterprise database management systems and data analytics as well as an additional area of study in information management and systems development.

Saurabh Pant, a graduate of the ASU MSIT program reflected that the coursework gave him the skills necessary to become successful.

“I learned a lot about databases," he said. "I didn't even know that databases could do so much, and they are such an integral part of anything that you build. I definitely feel I mastered databases with ASU.”

In the ever-changing field of IT, it’s important to stay competitive with the right set of skills, knowledge and experience. Pursuing your graduate education may be a valuable way to achieve success.

Sources:
ASU Online – Master of Science in Information Technology
O*Net OnLine – Database Architects
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Database Administrators
PayScale – Database Architect

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