How to Become a Database Architect

Database software is built by architects with an in-depth understanding of computer programming and system design. Database administrators (DBA, or database architects) are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the database system of a business.

Bachelor's Degree
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Databases are used by businesses to hold relevant information, readily available and easily found. Information input will be stored, available for retrieval and managed. The kind of information held in a database, and the way information is entered and searched for, depends on the specific business using it. Content stored in a database may be along the lines of customer contact information, financial records, shipping records, or other types of important business information. Proper database structure is important for a business to effectively retrieve important files, lists and analyze data.

Database architects must be able to create efficient information retrieval processes and well-structured programs. Minimizing and clearing duplication of data, optimizing information and integrating system logic are all important aspects of a database administrator’s job. As an administrator, you must be skilled in working with team members and organizing projects, as well as innovative in your designs and solutions.

Requirements and Education


In order to gain the knowledge and education necessary for the technological field of database architecture, a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer- related major is needed. A business degree may also provide the necessary postsecondary education, although computer-based classes and other experience may be required for a database administration position.

A master’s degree in systems design and data architecture will help advance your IT career faster, providing better placement opportunities and promotion options.


Work experience in the IT field is highly valued. It is difficult to gain a position as a database administrator without having first worked in the entry-level IT position for experience. All businesses have their own requirements, but 3-10 years is a common range of required industry experience.

Often, a internship can jumpstart your work experience while you are still in school. However, an entry-level IT job is still needed after graduation to continue gaining experience in technology and business practices.


To aid in the qualification of your past work history and education, passing the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) exams shows your knowledge and dedication to the field. This distinction allows a candidate to stand out when looking for post-graduation work. Before taking the CDMP test, however, you must have completed at least one of the following to meet the criteria for a mastery level certificate:

  • 4 years work experience in the IT field
  • 2 years work experience and a bachelor’s degree

To gain a practitioner-level certificate the following requirements must be met:

  • 2 years of professional work experience
  • 2 years of education with an associate degree and two years of experience

Recertification is necessary every 3 years, requiring maintenance of 120 hours of experience a year.

Job Salary and Outlook

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total number of 111,590 database administrators working in 2012 with an average salary of $79,120.

According to the BLS, this field is projected to see a growth increase of 31 percent, which is much higher than the average growth of other industries. As more businesses find it important to catalogue and reference company information through efficient technology, programmers specializing in database architecture will find themselves in a fast-growing field.