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Data Architect : Job Description & Job Interview Questions



This is the person in charge of collecting raw data for the company. The data in question can come from a multitude of internal or external sources and can be structured or unstructured. The amount of data can also vary enormously. The Data Architect must establish a system that will allow the data to be stored and ingested in business applications.

After collecting the raw data, the Data Architect is responsible for creating and optimizing the storage, manipulation, and retrieval infrastructures. He must develop a Data Management architecture and design a plan to integrate, centralize, protect, and maintain the data. The Data Architect is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the system, which must be able to expand according to customer needs.

Required Skills

Data architects are highly trained workers, who are fluent in a wide range of programming languages as well as other technologies, and must be good communicators with keen business insights. Data architects must have strong attention to detail, as any problems in coding can cost a business millions to repair.

Technical skills involved with being a data architect include strength in:

  • Applied math and statistics
  • Data visualization and data migration
  • RDMSs (relational database management systems) or foundational database skills
  • Database management system software, especially Microsoft SQL Server 
  • Databases such as NoSQL and cloud computing 
  • Hadoop technologies, like MapReduce, Hive, and Pig
  • Information management and data processing on multiple platforms
  • Machine learning
  • Data mining and modeling tools, especially ERWin, Enterprise Architect, and Visio
  • Programming languages, especially Python and Java, as well as C/C++ and Perl
  • Operating systems, including UNIX, Linux, Solaris, and MS-Windows
  • Application server software, especially Oracle
  • Backup/archival software
Prepare your job interview by answering these questions : 

1. Questions based on your experience 

  • What’s the most difficult database problem you faced, and how did you handle it?
  • Do you have experience presenting models directly to senior managers in your previous positions? How do you ensure your audience understands technical details?
  • Do you join in meetups or seminars? If so, name a few of your favorites.
  • What’s the most successful project you have worked on so far? What was your specific contribution and how did you collaborate with your team?
2. Specific questions

  • What database software have you previously used?
  • Describe your experience using statistical analysis tools like SPSS and SAS.
  • What’s the difference between a dimensional model and a third normal form data model?
  • What are the software design patterns? Which patterns are you familiar with?
  • What is the difference between OLTP and OLAP and where do you use each of them?
  • What is the snowflake schema?
  • What visualization tools (e.g. Tableau, D3.js and R) have you used?

3. Simulation

  • How would you create a model to describe our sales process? What different elements would you add for a distributed sales team?
  • What model would you use to forecast quarterly and annual sales trends? Why?
  • If you had to review an existing database to identify potential improvements, where would you start?
  • How would you gather user requirements for a new project?

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