Database Architect vs. Database Administrator: What's The Difference? - DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency
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Database Architect vs. Database Administrator: What’s The Difference?

Ihor Shcherbinin
VP of Recruiting at DistantJob - - 3 min. to read

The importance of data security and organization for companies, whether remote or not, has increased the relevance of both database architects and database administrators. But have you ever wondered what the difference is between these two roles? Here’s what you need to know.

Database Architect vs. Data Architect – The Key Differences

While there is some overlap between both jobs, there is a major difference between database architects and database administrators.

Database architects (DA) plan, design, and develop the architecture of a database system, while database administrators maintain and operate the existing database systems. Database architects must have a high level of technical expertise, as they are responsible for ensuring the most efficient and secure data systems. Database administrators (DBA), on the other hand, must have the ability to manage and use the system, as well as troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise. Let’s go more into detail about each role.

Put simply, a DBA manages the existing databases, while database architects design new databases.

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What is a Database Architect?

If your data isn’t organized or secure, it’s impossible to make use of that data efficiently. This is when a database architect comes into the picture. 

A database architect’s job is to create and design a database that suits a company’s various needs. They begin by studying and analyzing the priorities, goals, and needs of their employer and then proceed to assess the current data infrastructure and determine where changes must be made. To do so, they: 

  • Develop the models needed to ensure both scalability and security, and then implement and test them.
  • Ensure that the database meets any regulations and standards when dealing with sensitive data. 
  • Create technical documentation pertaining to a database’s functionality, its ancillary tools, and how they work together to provide all the needed functionality.

In simpler words, they map out how the database should look and work. 

Database Architect Roles and Responsibilities

A database architect works closely with software designers and analysts to develop comprehensive, easy-to-use databases. They first understand the company’s main needs, and current data infrastructure, and then seek the best database model and type and start creating it and making the necessary changes.

Their main responsibilities are:

  • Design effective database solutions and models for a company/client.
  • Identify database structural necessities by evaluating client operations and applications.
  • Prepare database architecture reports for management teams.
  • Install and organize information systems to guarantee functionality, security and scalability.
  • Monitor closely how the system is performing by doing tests, troubleshooting, and integrating new features.

Database architect skills: 

  • Applied math and statistics
  • Data visualization and data migration
  • Database Management System (DBMS) software
  • Programming languages (SQL, Python, and Java)
  • Design skills
  • Cloud architecture and integration

What is a Database Administrator?

Building and creating a database is one thing. Managing and organizing data is a completely different thing.

When it comes to the role of a database administrator (DBA), consists in using the latest technological tools to store and organize an organization’s critical data. They ensure that the database of a company is secure and accessible.

It’s important to highlight that DBAs are a key element for businesses that work with big chunks of data. They not only make sure that the data is in the right places and that everything is organized, but they also help businesses make strategic plans. The database administrator helps coordinate the system’s data analysts use to translate numbers into business plans. 

Database Administrator Roles and Responsibilities

Database administrators make sure that analysts or people who want to study a company’s data can easily use the database to find everything they need. They are in charge of making the database perform efficiently. They also ensure that data is only available to authorized users. 

Their main responsibilities are:

  • Data extraction, transformation, and loading
  • Ensure the performance and security of a database
  • Maintain data standards
  • Develop, manage, and test backup and recovery plans
  • Write database documentation that includes data standards, procedures, and definitions.

Database administrator skills: 

  • Knowledge of database design
  • Understanding of relational DataBase Management Systems (DBMS)
  • Structured Query Language (SQL or Transact-SQL)
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Data security
  • ERP and business knowledge 

Database Architect vs. Database Administrator: Table of Comparison

Knowing which role is better for your business necessities between a database architect vs. a database administrator consists mainly in understanding their key differences. At first glance, we can say that a database architect builds and improves the database of a company, while a database administrator focuses more on the organization and the management of such a database. However, there’s more to it. Here are the main differences between a database architect and vs database administrator:

Database ArchitectDatabase Administrator
Structures and designs a database.Adds and manages data in a database.
Sets different access.Optimizes and maintains the database.
Enforces data standards for the whole organization.Ensures database security.
Monitors the data and looks to constantly improve the design of the system.Handles issues with the database.
Has analytical and problem-solving skills to come up with robust and feasible data models.Has a logical thought process, troubleshooting, and will to learn.

How to Hire a Database Architect or a Database Administrator?

In this article, we’ve stated the key differences between both positions and their roles and responsibilities. All these help you make the right hiring decision, whether it’s to hire a DA or a DBA.

Hiring for each position is not hard but requires you to invest time and energy. These are the 5 steps that will help you hire the best database architect or database administrator:

1. Write an Effective Job Description

Firstly, you need to write a job description that matches the exact position you are looking for and the type of employee you want in your company. Your job description shouldn’t be vague, with a general description of the roles and responsibilities. What you want to avoid is any type of applicant to see it and apply. You need to be specific in what you’re looking for and add it to the job ad. Try keeping it clear and simple, with the right amount of information.

2. Look in the Right Places

Don’t think you will get a talented database architect or administrator immediately by posting the job description. You might get thousands of applicants, but are they talented? The key to attracting and hiring talent is to know where to add the job descriptions and where to look for candidates. Look in the platforms that can help you vet easily or even social media platforms like LinkedIn, where you can look more in-depth at each candidate.

3. Know How to Evaluate Skills

Both database administrator and database architecture are roles that require interviewers to have a technical background. If they don’t, despite having the right interview questions to ask or what answers to look for, it’s easier for you to hire the wrong candidate. Your HR team must have the necessary information to hire talented tech candidates. If they don’t, consider the help of tech recruitment agencies.

Also, ensure that candidates, besides having the necessary capabilities, also have people skills, commonly called soft skills. At the end of the day, they will be part of your team, so it’s important they know how to collaborate and communicate effectively.

4. Go Global & Consider Remote Hiring

Hiring for technical positions is challenging. More companies need database experts, and unfortunately, they don’t sometimes live in the same area you do. The good news is that as the world is shifting towards a remote model, it’s easier than ever to hire remote employees.

When you hire remote employees, you not only have access to the world’s best talent, in this case, IT talent, but you also save costs! You can look for candidates that live in areas where the cost of living is lower. 

5. Consider DistantJob!

At DistantJob, we take care of all the steps for you to hire the perfect database administrator or architect. We have a team of highly qualified IT recruiters looking for a candidate with the skills and capabilities you’re looking for.

We’ve been matching companies with tech candidates for more than a decade, so if you need a hand looking for your ideal candidate, we are your people! Plus, we not only headhunt great candidates, but we also take care of all the HR aspects. Contact us, and let us help you find the right data expert your company needs.

Ihor Shcherbinin

As the VP of Recruiting, Ihor brings an unparalleled expertise to the developer talent acquisition landscape. His proficiency in interviewing, candidate selection, and offer negotiation showcases a keen ability to identify and onboard the best developers for any organization. With a comprehensive grasp over the full life cycle of recruiting, from the initial job opening to the final hiring process, Ihor stands out as an embodiment of recruiting excellence.

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