How to become a database architect: The degree and skills you’ll need

March 19, 2024 · 4 min read · By ASU Online

Read on to get the details on what database architects do, how much they make and the online degrees that can prepare you for a career in the role.


What does a database architect do?

In the 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 knowledge of programming systems such 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.

The job description for a database architect can cover many tasks and responsibilities.

  • 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.

Other tasks that may fill a typical day could include:

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


The skills you’ll need to succeed as a database architect

In addition to being well-versed in database technology and staying apprised of innovations in your field, the skills below will 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:

  • 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 will prove useful, especially when it comes to sharing the results of your work with key stakeholders. These skills are also beneficial because you’ll likely work as part of a team, interacting with developers, managers and other IT colleagues.
  • Complex problem-solving: This role often 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.
  • Critical thinking: You’ll need to be 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.
  • 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.

With such a varied skill set needed for database architect roles, you 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.

How much do database architects make?

Database architects are in-demand and well-paid.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrators and architects had a median annual salary of $112,120 as of May 2022. Additionally, the BLS projects the number of jobs in the field to increase by 8% between 2022-2032. That’s a faster-than-average growth rate compared to all occupations.

The degrees that prepare you to be a database architect

An IT bachelor’s degree can get you on the path to a career as a database architect. Arizona State University’s online Bachelor of Science in information technology is a multi-disciplinary program where your studies will cover software development, computer architecture, networking, cybersecurity, and data management. You’ll graduate with the skills necessary to be an effective critical-thinking leader with tactical operational understanding.

If you’re already working in the field and have completed a bachelor’s degree, ASU Online’s Master of Science in information technology can elevate your technical competencies and increase your knowledge of today’s cyber system infrastructure. From conceptualizing to organizing to realizing IT projects, you’ll learn how to meet the database and technological needs of various types of organizations. Especially helpful to aspiring database architects, the program includes courses such as Advanced Database Management Systems, Analyzing Big Data, and Information Systems Development.

Saurabh Pant, a graduate of the master’s 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’re 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 bachelor’s then master’s education can pave your path to success.


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