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What Is a Data Warehouse Architect?

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A data warehouse architect designs and maintains data management solutions for storing, integrating, and retrieving structured data that a business intends to use for decision-making.

What Does a Data Warehouse Architect Do?

First, let’s address why an organization would want to hire a skilled data warehouse architect. 

Many businesses need data warehouses to enable fast, easy access to reliable, quality data for decision-making. A data warehouse is a solution for consolidating data, including historical data, from many sources, such as transactional systems and relational databases. Business analysts and other data specialists can perform high-speed SQL queries on the processed information in a data warehouse to generate business intelligence, data visualizations, and reporting.

The data warehouse architect is tasked with creating and implementing a data warehouse architecture that will best support the specific data needs of the business. These professionals apply their technical and analytical skills to develop data management solutions—in the cloud or on premises—for the organization to store and retrieve its processed data.

Daily responsibilities for this role may include developing tools for data mining and data analysis, testing and improving data warehouse systems, and reporting on systems performance and project progress. Data warehouse architects may also need to consider cybersecurity, data governance, and other issues when designing data warehouse architecture.

How to Become a Data Warehouse Architect

Data warehouse architects typically need to come to the job with a thorough understanding of the Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) data integration process. Data warehouses use this process to take in information from the various sources that provide them with data. 

If you want to become a data warehouse architect, but you haven’t yet learned about ETL through on-the-job experience, you can build up your knowledge through online or offline coursework and training. Self-instruction, such as reading books on the topic, is also a way to ramp up your basic knowledge of the topic.

To become a data warehouse architect, you’ll need a host of other technical abilities, as well. Many employers like to see skills like these mentioned in a data warehouse architect resume:

  • Enterprise application integration (EAI), for facilitating communication between applications

  • Change data capture (CDC), for identifying and tracking changes to data stored in a database in near-real time

  • Online analytical processing (OLAP), for multidimensional analysis

  • Data warehouse modeling, for designing and organizing data models within a data warehouse platform

Professionals aiming to work as data warehouse architects should also have experience with or strong knowledge of multiple database platforms such as Oracle, MySQL, and DB2.

It also helps to be familiar with architecting common data warehouse types. Examples include an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), which makes data accessible to business users for analytics and reporting purposes, and an operational data store (ODS), which is used for querying transactional data.

Required Education

Most data warehouse architect job descriptions state that candidates applying for the role should have at least a bachelor’s degree in a discipline such as computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or electronics engineering.


Employers hiring for the data warehouse architect role will often look first for previous experience in this profession, especially when hiring for more senior-level positions. But many also see experience gained in other jobs, like a database administrator or software developer role, as valuable for this position. Also, in some cases, employers consider a wealth of hands-on experience to be equally or even more important than a degree.


Relevant IT credentials can always give a technology professional an edge in the hiring process—and increase their earning capacity, too. So, it can be worthwhile to become a certified data warehouse architect. However, certification isn’t a requirement for many data warehouse architect roles, even mentioning in your data warehouse architect resume that you have one could help you stand out to a potential employer.

The IBM Certified Solution Architect – Data Warehouse V1 credential is one example of a data warehouse architect certification you might consider pursuing. According to IBM, this credential demonstrates that a professional can design, plan, and architect a data warehouse solution and do so with limited assistance from support, documentation, and/or relevant subject matter experts. (Learn more about this certification here.)

Big data engineering certifications, such as those from the Data Science Council of America (DSCA), can also be beneficial for launching or advancing your career as a data warehouse architect. DSCA certifications show that you have an understanding of big data platforms like Hadoop and Spark and various types of developer tools.

Also, a data warehouse architect professional might consider earning a Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) designation from DAMA International to deepen their knowledge of data management topics such as data architecture and data governance.

Data Warehouse Architect Salary

What type of data warehouse architect salary might you expect to earn if you were hired for this role in the near future? A quick internet search of current salary figures for 2023 shows that a median starting salary for this job in the United States is about $110,000.

Keep in mind that factors such as skills, experience, industry, and geographic location can all have an impact on the data warehouse architect salary you could receive from an employer.

Data Warehouse Architect Job Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t provide details about the job outlook for data warehouse architects, specifically, it does note the following in its Occupational Outlook Handbook: Overall employment of database administrators and architects is projected to grow 9% from 2021 to 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

The BLS also reports that the need to replace workers transferring to other occupations or exiting the labor force for retirement will contribute to the demand for these professionals in the years ahead. Also, data management demands are only likely to increase in business as companies look to access and create value from all available data.

Data Warehouse Architect: 3 FAQs

Here’s a look at three questions that people curious about the data warehouse architect position commonly ask when researching the role.

Does a data warehouse architect need to code?

Most employers seek data warehouse architects who have a strong command of programming languages often used for data warehouse architecture development. These languages include JavaScript, Python, and SQL.

Knowledge of COBOL could also be a plus for the data warehouse architect job. This language has been around for decades, but it’s still widely used today by businesses and developers. So, if you have experience working with COBOL, be sure to highlight it in your data warehouse architect resume.

And, if you need to build up your programming skills before applying for a data warehouse architect role, there are many online courses and coding bootcamps available.

How long does it take to become a data warehouse architect?

As noted earlier, you’ll likely need a four-year degree in a relevant field to break into this specialized profession. Meeting the desired education requirements outlined in the job description could also help you to secure a higher data warehouse architect salary.

Most employers will also expect to see several years of experience working in a closely related technology field, like database administrator, database engineer, or data architect. 

If you’re in college or recently graduated, internships can provide a vital learning path to help you prepare for this profession. If you plan to grow your programming skills through a bootcamp or other coursework, you’ll need at least several weeks to complete that learning, too.

What does a data warehouse architect need to know?

Aside from the information listed above about technical abilities and professional experience needed for this technology position, an aspiring data warehouse architect should keep in mind that solid soft skills, including critical thinking, are also essential to job success. 

You may need to work independently much of the time once you become a data warehouse architect. However, teamwork is essential to the success of many data management projects. Plus, you’ll need strong communication skills to work effectively with people in the business and understand their specific data needs—and to present information about your work to nontechnical users, including business leadership.

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