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Data Architect Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Data Architect interview, here are 14 interview questions and answer examples.

Data Architect was written by and updated on January 20th, 2017. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 14

A company's data needs are constantly changing and improving maintenance and accessibility of data is an ongoing process. Describe a time when you made changes to a company's data management systems and the impact the change made on the company overall.

How to Answer

Inevitably, companies' data needs will change and hiring managers would like to understand how well you adapt to these types of changes. Even more so, they are interested in hearing about how you may have taken the initiative to implement these improvements. If you are earlier in your career as a Data Architect and you have not yet had the opportunity to initiate or be a part of any changes, share how you would have improved the data management systems at your company and what impact those improvements would have had.

Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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List of 14 Data Architect Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    A company's data needs are constantly changing and improving maintenance and accessibility of data is an ongoing process. Describe a time when you made changes to a company's data management systems and the impact the change made on the company overall.

      How to Answer

      Inevitably, companies' data needs will change and hiring managers would like to understand how well you adapt to these types of changes. Even more so, they are interested in hearing about how you may have taken the initiative to implement these improvements. If you are earlier in your career as a Data Architect and you have not yet had the opportunity to initiate or be a part of any changes, share how you would have improved the data management systems at your company and what impact those improvements would have had.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

      1st Answer Example

      "While working for one of my first employers, I was part of an initiative to make data more accessible to the company overall. Each department's data was siloed and inaccessible to team members in other departments. Obtaining data outside one's own department was a long and tedious process that prevented the completion of timely analyses. I actively contributed to a project that made data sharing possible without data security being compromised. As a result, analysts were able to complete their projects in a timely manner using a robust dataset. This allowed senior management to make well-informed strategic decisions quickly."

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

  • 2.

    Have you been involved with the improvement of a company's existing data architecture? If so, explain your role in the process and the impact the change had on the company overall.

      How to Answer

      Although it is important to complete routine tasks and maintenance, it is also vital for Data Architects to be viewing current environments with a critical eye. Hiring managers would like to hear how prospective hires took the initiative to question current processes and structures with the purpose of increasing efficiency and productivity. Present yourself as someone that continually views the 'big picture' and does not get absorbed in only the routine tasks.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

      1st Answer Example

      "In my experience, marrying external data with internal data within corporate systems can bring about possible issues of data integrity. I initiated a project where I developed a process that carefully screened our 3rd-party purchased data using several detailed steps. I also established a close relationship with our data supplier who agreed to run several checks on the data before sending it over to us. This increased our data reliability and reduced database errors by 34% over a span of a year."

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

  • 3.

    What kind of challenges have you faced as a Data Architect with regards to security and ensuring the integrity of a company's data is not compromised?

      How to Answer

      Data security should be a priority for all company employees regardless of their job title or the department they work in. Because of its high importance, hiring managers would like to understand your experience with data security issues. As you answer this question, reinforce that, although your background is not concentrated in data security, you understand its importance in your role as a Data Architect.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

      1st Answer Example

      "At times, it can be difficult to come to a consensus on what should be deemed a security risk. There was an instance where some team members wanted to make changes to the process we used to upload franchisee data to our system. I believed these changes would create security risks, and to support my theory, I quantified the cost to the company if security was compromised. This information helped the team members view the situation from a different perspective and they revised their plan to reinforce data security measures."

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

  • 4.

    What challenges have you faced working with others in your company who may not have a technical background? How did you overcome these challenges?

      How to Answer

      It is understood that, in order to make a positive impact on a company overall, Data Architects cannot remain in their own bubble. Undoubtedly, you have had experience working with different departments across the companies at which you have worked. Moreover, it is likely that you have worked with several people who are less technically inclined. Interviewers want to hear how you interact with these people and, in doing so, what challenges you faced. If you have difficulty thinking of specific challenges, consider what helped you avoid them.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 5.

    Many companies' data originate from both internal and external sources. Have you faced any obstacles in the past when trying to integrate a new external data source into the existing infrastructure? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?

      How to Answer

      Bringing external data into a company's data systems can present challenges as the data may be coming from a source using different systems and data formats. Data architects and their colleagues must ensure that the data is in a format that is readable and useful before it is stored in the company's data warehouse. Hiring managers would like to see that you have problems solving skills specific to external data integration.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 6.

    As a Data Architect, it's important to stay well-informed on new developments and technologies. How do you keep yourself abreast of the newest industry developments related to data architecture and data analysis?

      How to Answer

      While working in a corporate environment, employees in technical fields may need to proactively seek out information on industry trends and new technologies. It is relatively easy to get consumed with the work in your company's current environment, while missing out on the changing industry trends. When answering this question, include industry news resources you may subscribe to or conferences and training sessions you may attend on a somewhat regular basis. Hiring managers will likely appreciate that you set aside time from your work schedule to educate yourself.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 7.

    An important part of your role as Data Architect will be to understand how the company's stored data is being used across the different departments. What steps have you take in past positions to understand the data needs across these various users?

      How to Answer

      Because most departments across a company have data needs, it is vital that Data Architects have the ability to work with people with varying backgrounds to understand how they use data. Interviewers want to know what steps you have taken in the past to educate yourself on how different groups use the data available to them. This is important as this information will help you do a better job serving the company's data requirements.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 8.

    What is your experience with open source technology? What challenges have you faced using it?

      How to Answer

      If interviewers ask this question, the company either currently utilizes open source technology or is considering it for the future. If you do have experience using it, mention the specific ones you have worked with. In addition, be sure to also indicate if you have experience modifying the open source programming code. In the event you have not personally faced challenges using it, mention any potential cons you know of to using open source technology.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 9.

    What modeling tools do you have experience using? Of these, which do you find the most useful or powerful?

      How to Answer

      Data Architects should have a solid understanding of data modeling whether or not it is one of their main responsibilities. If you do not have experience using modeling tools, indicate the ones you are aware of and which you know to be the most useful. Interviewers will appreciate that you have at least a basic knowledge of modeling tools.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 10.

    Explain in detail your experience with batch and real-time data processing.

      How to Answer

      Each of these data processing methods provide distinct advantages and disadvantages and both could be used within a company depending on the business case. If you have experience with one and not the other, give examples of cases where the other processing method would be better suited. This will indicate your familiarity with both types.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 11.

    Describe any metrics you may have created or used as a Data Architect in order to measure quality and consistency of new and existing data.

      How to Answer

      Having a protocol to ensure data quality and consistency is an important component to any company's data infrastructure. Your experience in this area is valuable as it proves your are knowledgeable about assessing the value of the data.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 12.

    In order to effectively manage a company's data infrastructure as a Data Architect, it is important to have a solid understanding of the business and its strategic challenges. What steps have you taken in past positions as a Data Architect to ensure that

      How to Answer

      As a Data Architect, you can easily get lost in the technical details of your job while losing sight of the bigger picture of the business. Hiring managers would like to know that you proactively take steps to not lose sight of the overall strategy of the business, since ultimately, this will help you be more effective as a Data Architect.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 13.

    Data Architects take ownership of a company's data infrastructure and may lead teams to build data/database strategies. What challenges have you faced leading teams tasked with data/database strategy development? Describe how you overcame the challenges.

      How to Answer

      Any team environment can provide challenges whether it is a technical or a non-technical team. Your answer to this question may be more general and similar to issues many other teams face or specific to those facing technical teams. The main point to communicate is how you handled and overcame the challenges you faced. If you have not led a team tasked with this, talk about any challenges you may have faced working on this as a team and how the team overcame them. This will illustrate your exposure to these types of situations.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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  • 14.

    Data accessibility and data security is a balancing act for Data Architects. Have you ever had to deny data access to a group/individual in the company? What factors contributed to that decision and how did you communicate your decision?

      How to Answer

      At times, ensuring both data security and data accessibility puts Data Architects in difficult situations. Employees usually want to be granted access to as much data as possible, but security issues prevent Data Architects from allowing that in the best interest of the company overall. Unfortunately, Data Architects are sometimes put in the difficult position of denying or limiting access to data which, at times, is met with disgruntled reactions. Dealing with people in difficult and uncomfortable situations becomes a valuable skill for Data Architects to have.

      Written by Helen Lee on June 28th, 2018

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