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In the world that we’re living with numerous technological advancements continuously happening, people who work with data are incredibly sought-after. Two of the positions waiting to be filled by those interested in working with data are data engineer and data architect. What are these two positions, what responsibilities do they have, and what is the difference between them? We’ll find out in the following paragraphs. Let’s dive in. 

What Is a Data Engineer?

A data engineer is an individual whose responsibility is to find trends in data sets they’re analyzing and develop algorithms that make data applicable to the organization. Seeing how organizations store their data in different formats, the job of data engineers is to transform that data into formats that then data scientists and other professionals can use. 

Data engineer role

Data engineers have numerous responsibilities within an organization. Their job is a technical position that requires combining the knowledge and skills of databases, engineering, and computer science. They’re responsible for:


  • Designing the architecture of a data platform
  • Developing, customizing, and managing analytical systems, warehouses, databases, and integration tools
  • Testing the reliability and the performance of each part of a system 
  • Cooperating with the testing team
  • Managing and structuring the stored data through the means of database management systems
  • Monitoring the performance of the systems and modifying them when data and models change

How to become a data engineer?

If data engineering as a field appeals to you, you can always become one by following a few simple steps. Let’s see what those steps are.

Earn your undergraduate degree

The first step to becoming a data engineer is to get a degree in one of the following majors: data science, computer science, information technology, or software engineering. Taking classes on database management, data architecture, software design, or computer programming can be a big plus to your success in the data engineering career. 

Get professional certifications

There are countless industry certifications available for those that want to get into the data engineering field, such as:


  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)
  • Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP)
  • Google’s Certified Professional 
  • IBM Certified Data Engineer 

Learn the proper programming languages

You should keep in mind that you, as a data engineer, are also a software engineer with data analysis and statistics skills. As such, you’ll need to be proficient in a few programming languages such as SQL, Python, and R.   

Data engineering salary

According to Glassdoor, a data engineer earns on average a sum of $111,303 per year. The salary ranges from $76,000, being the lowest salary to $163,000 being the highest. 

What Is a Data Architect?

A data architect is an IT professional in the seniority level with expert skills in their field who works on developing databases. To do their job, they use numerous programming tools to create solutions for managing and storing data for organizations. As individuals, they are creative problem solvers who act as intermediates between the sectors of IT and other departments. 

Data architect role

Have you been wondering what does a data architect do? Here’s a list of data architect’s responsibilities:


  • Collecting and converting business requirements into data streams, integrations, databases, and data warehouses
  • Defining the data architecture framework, 
  • Collaborating with multiple people of different departments
  • Defining a pattern that others can follow to create and improve data systems

How to become a data architect?

You should know that the road to becoming a data architect isn’t a walk in the park. Seeing how it is a senior-level job, you ought to understand that you cannot land it right out of college. For more information on becoming a data architect, let’s see the steps you need to take to land it. 

Get an undergraduate degree

You start by getting an undergraduate degree in information technology, computer science, or computer engineering. You are also expected to have a background in systems development, information management, and application design. You can get familiar with these majors by taking classes in operating systems, technology architecture, web development, and computer programming.  

Acquire an internship

Data architecture isn’t an entry-level job, therefore, you’ll need to gain as much experience in the information technology field before you try to apply for this position. You can start by getting jobs that are within the field and work your way up. 

Obtain professional certifications

Just like data engineers, data architects, too, are expected to obtain credentials that set them apart from other applicants. Numerous certifications are available for those interested to become data architects, such as:


  • TOGAF Certification Program
  • Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
  • Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)

Pursue a master’s degree

Once you get the undergraduate degree in a field related to your chosen job and get the appropriate years of experience, you can dedicate yourself to getting a master’s degree in big data analytics, computer science, or data science. 

Data architecture salary

According to Glassdoor, a data architect earns on average a salary of $114,771 per year. 

Data Engineer vs. Data Architect: What Is the Difference?

The work of both data engineers and data architects revolves around data. That’s why, at times, it might become quite difficult to draw comparisons between them. However, if we’re determined to find something that differentiates them is the way they approach data. While data architects work on visualizing and conceptualizing data frameworks, it’s the data engineers that work on building and maintaining those frameworks. 


The other distinction between them is the seniority level. While you can get a job in data engineering right out of college, this isn’t exactly possible with data engineering. 


Each of them has its benefits and drawbacks. Whichever you believe to be your calling, we want to let you know that you can get the required education on our campus by enrolling in one of our data programs. We hope we will see you around here.



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