47 data architect interview questions (plus sample answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Data architects help organisations create structures, procedures and policies which they can use to collect, organise, safely store and access data. Companies often use data to carefully analyse different decisions, and data architects are responsible for evaluating policies and reviewing strategic business intelligence procedures. Understanding what interviewers may ask during the interview process can help you prepare for your next data architect interview. In this article, we provide a list of different data architect interview questions a recruitment manager may ask, including sample answers to some different questions.

General data architect interview questions questions

General data architect interview questions help recruiters gain a better understanding of a candidate's personality. These questions help recruiters gain insights into the person they're interviewing and help them decide if the candidate meets the requirements for the position. Here are some common examples of general questions a recruitment manager may ask:

  1. Why did you choose to be a data architect?

  2. What do you enjoy most about this role?

  3. What led you to gain an interest in data sciences?

  4. Why do you have an interest in pursuing a role as a data architect in this company?

  5. Where do you see yourself in the next five or ten years? How do you see yourself progressing in this role?

  6. Do you have any particular salary expectations in mind?

  7. What is the meaning of success for you?

  8. A data architect often has to manage multiple projects simultaneously. How comfortable are you with multitasking?

  9. Do you prefer working remote or on-site? Can you describe your ideal work environment?

  10. Do you feel you're more productive working in a team of professionals or alone?

  11. Do you have any specific techniques you use to motivate yourself and others around you?

  12. What are your hobbies and interests?

  13. The field of data sciences is evolving rapidly. How do you generally stay up-to-date with the latest information or updates in this industry?

  14. Do you have any particular aims or objectives for the coming year?

  15. If you're in charge of a team, what is the leadership style you feel works best for you?

Related: What is a data architect? (Job definition and roles)

Questions about your experience and background as a data architect

Since this is a highly technical and important role, recruitment managers want to ensure they find the right candidate. As a result, they may ask you questions about your experience and past work as a data architect. Generally, these include questions about your work experience and how you can use that to excel in the job for which you're interviewing. In many cases, the interviewer may ask questions about specific situations and your response to them. Here are just some questions that a recruitment manager may ask about your previous experience and background as a data architect:

  1. How might you describe your past experience working as a data architect?

  2. What do you think is an important skill for a data architect? When were you able to develop that skill?

  3. What are some major lessons from your past work experience you feel can help you in this role?

  4. Everyone makes mistakes at work. Have you ever made any? Were there any problems? How were you able to resolve the situation?

  5. Tell us about a complex project you worked on. What were the biggest challenges you overcame to ensure its successful completion?

  6. How do you overcome challenges at work? In any of your previous roles, did you face any major challenges? If yes, what lessons did you gain from them?

  7. Describe your work routine as a data architect.

  8. How big of a role does your education play in preparing you for this job?

  9. As a data architect, what steps do you take to verify the integrity of the data?

  10. Many companies use data from a mixture of internal and external sources. Integrating different data sources can be a challenge. How do you overcome these problems? Have you faced issues in the past with this?

  11. Do you have experience working with open source technology? What are some issues when working with open source technology?

  12. What programming languages are you familiar with?

  13. Tell us about the biggest data architecture projects you worked on.

  14. Do you actively make contributions on code hosting platforms?

  15. What are some important lessons your previous manager taught you?

Related: How to become a data architect (plus career advancement tips)

In-depth questions

Recruiters commonly ask in-depth questions that pertain to a specific role to gauge a candidate's professional understanding of the subject. Since data architecture is such a complex field, many of the questions focus on an individual's understanding of programming languages, data structures or their experience with data warehousing and visualisation. Here are some in-depth questions that the recruitment manager may ask:

  1. What data visualisation tools do you prefer, and why?

  2. How do you explain data architecture to someone who doesn't have any technical experience?

  3. What are some common tools you use to streamline work processes in your job?

  4. How do you start planning for a new project?

  5. Data governance is very important for companies. How do you make sure you remain up to date with any new guidelines or regulations?

  6. How do you ensure compliance with data management legislation?

  7. What approach do you take to ensure efficient communication with other team members?

  8. What are your expectations from other data architects working with you on the same team?

  9. How do you resolve conflicts, especially if a team member doesn't agree with the approach you wish to take?

  10. What do you think is a common reason for missed deadlines?

  11. What resources do you generally require to complete a particular assignment?

  12. In your previous roles, how important do you think is communication with other stakeholders and team members?

  13. How do you deal with negative feedback?

Related: Smart answers to interview questions (with examples)

4 common data architect interview questions with sample answers

Here are some data architect interview questions and sample answers:

1. Have you contributed to improving a company's data architecture in any of your previous roles? If yes, please describe your contributions to the project.

Recruiters may ask this question to determine if a candidate shows aptitude and initiative. Many data architects are responsible for carrying out routine maintenance and basic maintenance, but in some cases, they may also provide input in improving a company's data architecture as a whole. Employers generally prefer data architects who take a proactive approach and can identify improvements which lead to greater efficiency gains.

Example: 'In my last job, I was responsible for creating a holistic architecture that efficiently combined internal and external data sources. But since there are integrity issues when using external data, I built a screening protocol to ensure the data was reliable. This reduced database-associated errors by 20% within one calendar year, making data more reliable in the company.'

Related: A guide on how to ace an interview (with tips and examples)

2. How do you ensure the security of data in the company? Have you faced any issues in the past?

Data architects are also responsible for making sure they adopt policies to ensure the security of data. Recruitment managers often want to know if candidates have experience with data security, and how important they think it is. Since this doesn't relate directly to a data architect's job description, it's important to provide a balanced answer.

Example: 'The first step for many companies is to clearly define security risks. Data security analysts are responsible for this, and it's important for all data architects in the company to know about these risks. Following these protocols strictly is the best way to ensure the safety of the data in question. I haven't faced this issue in the past, but if I did, the best way to deal with it is to calculate the financial loss the company may suffer from in case of a leak and take measures to ensure this doesn't happen.'

Related: What is data security and why is it important? (With types)

3. How do you remain up to date with the latest developments in the field of data sciences?

Recruitment managers want to know if you take continuing professional development seriously. It's important for individuals in technical roles to prioritise continuing professional development. This is only possible by reading about and trying out new technologies.

Example: 'I follow several online publications to remain up to date with the latest technologies in the field of data sciences. I am an active contributor on code hosting platforms and subscribe to various newsfeeds. I also regularly attend networking conferences to meet with new professionals and try to attend specialised training whenever my schedule allows it.'

4. What is your experience with open source technology?

This indicates the employer may have an interest in using open source technology or already use it. If you have any experience with it, you can provide it as a response to this question. If you have minimal experience with this type of technology, be honest and tell the employer if it interests you.

Example: 'I've used open source technologies before without running into any issues. In my research and use of these technologies, I became familiar with common errors and issues. This helped me develop strategies and code to help circumvent these issues, which helped to drastically improve user interfaces and enhance end-user experiences.'

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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  • Data architect vs data engineer: the key differences


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