MOST In-DEMAND Data Architect Interview Questions [ LATEST] | 2020
Data Architect Interview Questions and Answers

MOST In-DEMAND Data Architect Interview Questions [ LATEST]

Last updated on 04th Jul 2020, Blog, Interview Questions

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Santhosh (Sr Advisor - Data Architect )

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These Data Architect Interview Questions have been designed specially to get you acquainted with the nature of questions you may encounter during your interview for the subject of Data Architect . As per my experience good interviewers hardly plan to ask any particular question during your interview, normally questions start with some basic concept of the subject and later they continue based on further discussion and what you answer.we are going to cover top Data Architect  Interview questions along with their detailed answers. We will be covering Data Architect  scenario based interview questions, Data Architect  interview questions for freshers as well as Data Architect  interview questions and answers for experienced. 

1. Have you ever taken part in improving a company’s existing data architecture? Please describe your involvement in the process and the overall impact the changes had on the company.

Ans:

Routine tasks and maintenance are an important part of a data architect’s job. However, as a data architect, you should also be proactive and strive to improve the company’s data processes and structures. Employers want to hire data architects with a critical mindset who are willing to take part in increasing the efficiency and productivity of current environments. So, do your best to show the interviewer you don’t get preoccupied with routine tasks, and you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

Example

“In my work experience, marrying external data with internal data in corporate systems can pose a variety of threats to data integrity. That’s why I launched a project where I established a step-by-step screening process for our 3-rd party purchased data. I also managed to further improve the relationship with our data supplier, who, in turn, agreed to run a few checks on their data before sending it to us. This initiative had a positive impact on the company’s data reliability and decreased database errors by 29% within 1 year.”

2. As a data architect, have you faced any challenges related to the company’s data security? How did you ensure the integrity of the data was not compromised?

Ans:

Data security is a top priority for every company. That’s why hiring managers would like to learn more about your experience with data security issues. When answering this question, emphasize that data security is an important aspect of your job, although your background isn’t focused in that particular field.

Example

“When working in a team, it’s sometimes hard to agree on what could pose a security risk. I remember a situation when some colleagues of mine wanted to change the established process for uploading franchise data to our system. I was sure these changes could result in security risks. So, in order to validate my point, I calculated the possible financial loss to the company in case security was compromised. This prompted the team members to modify their plan to strengthen data security measures.”

3. As a data architect, you should be up to date with the latest technologies and developments in the field. How do you keep yourself informed about the new trends in data architecture?

Ans:

When working in a technical role, it’s common to get absorbed in the company’s current processes and miss out on the latest industry developments. Hiring managers will value your willingness to educate yourself despite your busy schedule. So, try to list news resources you’re subscribed to, and mention some conferences or training, or industry events you attend when you have the chance.

Example

“I do my best to stay informed about the latest industry trends and technology advancements. I believe this helps me learn things that can improve my work… Or inspire me to come up with an idea that will benefit the company’s status quo. I’m subscribed to newsfeeds such as InformationWeek and TechNewsWorld. I also attend 2-3 conferences a year where I network with other professionals in the field. Whenever my schedule allows it, I attend specialized training and seminars.”

4. A lot of companies use data from both internal and internal sources. Have you faced any problems while trying to integrate a new external data source into the existing company’s infrastructures? How did you solve these problems?

Ans:

External data often comes from sources using different data formats and systems. Obviously, that may cause a series of issues when importing this data into the company’s data systems. As a data architect, you have to make sure the data format is readable and ready-to-use, before storing it in the data warehouse. With this question, hiring managers want to assess your problem-solving skills when faced with external data integration challenges. So, try to provide an answer that will demonstrate how you address such issues.

Example

“In my work experience, the cause for external data integration issues is usually a different system that creates the data in an incompatible format. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for all companies to use the same systems. So, I solved this problem by creating and running a script prior to uploading the data in my company’s warehouse tables. The script not only changed the external data format but also ran tests to ensure the new format was compatible with our systems.”

5. Have you worked with open source technology? Tell us about some issues you have come across when using it.

Ans:

When an interviewer asks a specific question like that, the company is either considering using open source technology in the future or is already utilizing it. If you have relevant experience, give some particular examples. And be sure you also highlight your ability to modify the open source programming code. If you haven’t encountered any problems using it, mention any possible disadvantages to open source technology you’re aware of.

Example

“I’ve worked with both Hadoop and MySQL without facing any major problems. Nevertheless, I realize that using open source databases or software utilities has its drawbacks. For example, you have to rely on advice from user forums, as there is no formal customer support to address your issue. Another thing is that developers don’t spend a lot of time on their user interface, so you may lack the resources you need to get started.”

6.  State and describe the different types of SQL joins.

Ans:

The basic types of SQL joins are: inner, left, and right (in SQL theory, there is one more type of join – full. However, it is used very rarely today). The easiest and most intuitive way to explain the difference between the inner, left, and right joins is by using a Venn diagram, which shows all possible logical relations between data sets.

The SQL INNER JOIN lets us select all records from Table A and Table B, as long as there is a match between the columns.

SQL-INNER-JOIN

The SQL LEFT JOIN returns all records from the left table, plus the matched values from the right table. In case there are no matches, the left join still returns all rows from the left table and a NULL value from the right.

SQL-LEFT-JOIN

Regarding the functionality of the SQL RIGHT JOINS – it is identical to LEFT JOINS, but with the opposite direction of the operation.

7. What is a primary key and a foreign key?

Ans:

A primary key is a column (or a set of columns) whose value exists and is unique for every record in a table. It’s important to know that each table can have one and only one primary key.

Therefore, you can think of a primary key as the field (or group of fields) that identifies the content of a table in a unique way. For this reason, the primary keys are also called the unique identifiers of a table.

Another crucial feature of primary keys is they cannot contain null values. This means, in an example with a single-column primary key, there must always be a value inserted in the rows under this column. You cannot leave it blank.

One last remark about primary keys – not all tables you work with will have a primary key, although almost all tables in any database will have a single-column or a multi-column primary key.

A foreign key, instead, is a column (or a set of columns) that references a column (most often the primary key) of another table. Foreign keys can be called identifiers, too, but they identify the relationships between tables, not the tables themselves.

In the relational schemas form of representation, relations between tables are expressed in the following way – the column name that designates the logical match is a foreign key in one table, and it is connected with a corresponding column from another table. Often, the relationship goes from a foreign key to a primary key, but in more advanced circumstances, this will not be the case. To catch the relations on which a database is built, we should always look for the foreign keys, as they show us where the relations are.

8. How many types of data structures does R have?

Ans:

This question is important because virtually everything you do in R involves data in some shape or form. The most commonly used data structures in R are these:

  • Vectors (atomic and lists);
  • Matrixes;
  • Data frames;
  • Factors.

9. What modeling tools have you used in your work so far? Which do you consider efficient or powerful?

Ans:

Even if data modeling isn’t one of your main responsibilities, your role as a data architect requires you to have an in-depth understanding of data modeling. If you lack the experience, demonstrate that you are well-informed on the topic and mention the data modeling tools you find most useful. The interviewer will value that you’re at least familiar with the subject.

Example

 “I’ve used mainly both Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler, and PowerDesigner. I can say that the Oracle Data Modeler has been more than sufficient for my needs with its dimensional modeling, and integrated source code control that supports collaborative development. However, PowerDesigner also boasts some wonderful technology-centric metadata management capabilities for data architects, and business-centric techniques for non-technical co workers. Overall, I think both tools are worth the try, depending on the company’s needs.”

10. What’s your experience with batch and real-time data processing?

Ans:

Each of these data processing methods can be applied depending on the business case. If you have experience with only one of them, provide examples of situations where the other processing method would be a better fit. This will indicate you have a basic understanding of both batch and real-time data processing.

Example

 ‘I’m familiar with both types of data processing. However, I’ve had more exposure to batch processing. That’s because one of my responsibilities was to write programs that captured, processed, and produced output for the company’s billing department. As I mentioned, I’ve had less experience with real-time data processing. However, I know our company uses it to take immediate action on the data collected from our stores’ POS systems.”

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    11. In your role as a data architect, what metrics have you created or used to measure the quality of new and existing data?

    Ans:

    Having established processes to ensure the quality of data is key to a company’s data infrastructure. With this question, the hiring manager wants to assess your relevant experience. Make sure you highlight the particular dimensions you’ve monitored to validate the data quality.

    Example

    “I’ve always been involved in ensuring data quality in my job as a data architect. My team and I monitored some specific dimensions to validate the quality of data. These included completeness, uniqueness, timeliness, validity, accuracy, and consistency. Monitoring these dimensions helped us detect inconsistencies that could negatively affect the accuracy of data analysis.”

    Behavioral Questions

    Data architects often work with coworkers from various departments, backgrounds, and responsibilities. This is why you should be prepared to answer some behavioral questions focused on your work style and ability to handle conflict in cross-functional teams.

    12. What challenges have you faced working with colleagues with no technical background? How did you address and overcome these challenges?

    Ans:

    Data architects often work with other departments within a company. That involves collaborating with people who lack technical background and understanding of the data processes. The interviewer would like to assess your communication style and your ability to reach common ground with your coworkers, in spite of your differences. Describe a specific situation to illustrate the issues you encountered and how you solved them.

    Example

    “I believe a good data architect should understand the needs of the different departments across the company. That said, I’ve had to work with people who don’t fully understand my role and responsibilities on numerous occasions. Some of my coworkers would pose requests that I had to reject due to our data architecture limitations. And that has led to certain tensions. I’d say overcoming such challenges takes time. Gradually, we learned more about each other’s work which helped us brainstorm possible solutions. All in all, making the extra step to educate myself and the others made has made all the difference.”

    13. How would you describe your work style?

    Ans:

    This question is not so much about your personality, but more about how you approach your work to get things done. Talk about the way you handle tasks and projects, and how you communicate with coworkers and clients. Your work style might be: collaborative, well-structured, speedy, flexible, or independent. No matter what word you choose to describe it, keep the job description in mind and how your work style fits the profile.

    Example

    “I’d describe my work style as collaborative. I like to work on full-team participation projects and co-create with my teammates. If I’m not sure of the direction I should take on a project, I always consult with my team. This way we can work toward consensus and align our ideas.”

    14. How would you resolve a conflict within your team?

    Ans:

    The hiring manager wants to hear about your ability to professionally solve team issues when they occur. Think of an example where you had to use your communication skills to handle a conflict with your coworkers. Or when you managed to help 2 of your teammates find common ground as a mediator.

    Example

    “I like to think I have excellent conflict management skills. As a data architect in a large company, I’ve worked in a high-stress environment. And that has sometimes caused tension to build up among team members. When this escalates to a conflict, I try to deal with it openly. Usually, I’d organize a group meeting where everyone can voice their concerns. This is how we can sort out the issue and move on with our work on the project.”

    15. What is the most critical factor for you when taking a job?

    Ans:

    There are a lot of factors that may influence your decision to take on a new job. These include:

    • career growth opportunity;
    • compensation;
    • work/life balance;
    • travel required for the role;
    • medical and dental benefits;
    • perks such as a gym membership, onsite kids center, spending account;
    • paid vacation time;
    • the company’s location;
    • the company’s reputation and culture.

    Share with the interviewer which factors are most important to you when you consider starting a new job. If you aren’t sure about all the details regarding this position, this is a good time to get informed.

    Example

    “The most important factors for me, as a data architect, are the company’s industry and the workplace culture. The first one predefines the projects I’ll be involved in. The second one indicates if the work environment will be positive and teamwork-oriented. To me, those are equally important to compensation and benefits.”

    16. Are you also interviewing with any of our close competitors?

    Ans:

    If the interviewer wants to know if you’re also applying for a job at a competitor’s company, you can give a direct answer. However, you should refrain from giving away the name of the company or sharing too many details. Let the interviewer know you aren’t putting all of your eggs in one basket. At the same time, try to leave the impression that you are critical when it comes to the companies you apply at.

    Example

    “I wouldn’t disclose the names of the competitors I’m currently interviewing with. However, I can tell you that I’m in the mid-interview stages with 3 other companies. That said, your company is my first choice and I’m happy that we’ve reached the final stage in the process.

    17. How would you assess your performance in the data architect interview questions so far?

    Ans:

    This is a question you should answer openly. Generally, you would know if you performed well, or if your interview was a disaster. In fact, if you address the issues of your performance, you might get a chance to answer some additional questions that could give you extra points.”

    Example

    If you think that your performance in the interview is going great:

    “I’m positive that the interview has been quite successful and I’m satisfied with my performance. Is there anything you’d like me to clarify from our talk?”

    If you think that your performance in the interview is not satisfactory:

    “I don’t think I managed to portray myself in the best light possible in this interview. However, I’m always trying to do my best. So, if there’s anything I could further clarify for you, I’d be more than happy to do so.”

    Brainteasers help the interviewer assess your logical thinking combined with your ability to come up with a creative problem solution on the spot.

    18. What is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 100?

    Ans:

    There’s a little bit of history coming with this question. The math teacher of young Karl Gauss, the famous mathematician, asked the entire class to sum the numbers from 1 to 100. He expected that the task would require at least half an hour to his students, but was shocked when Gauss gave him the exact number within mere seconds. Anyway, here is how this question is solved.

    There are precisely 50 pairs of numbers from 1 to 100, whose sum is 101.

    1 + 100 = 101, 2 + 99 = 101, 3 + 98 =101, etc.

    50 * 101 = 5050

    This trick will work for any series of numbers provided that they are evenly spaced. You need to find the sum of the first and the last number and then multiply by the number of pairs.

    19. You are given two containers – one is 5 and the other one is 7 gallons. How do you use them to measure 4 gallons of water?

    Ans:

    Fill the entire 7 gallon container with water. Then use the water in the 7 gallon container in order to fill the entire 5 gallon container. This would leave 2 gallons of water in the 7 gallon container. Dump the water in the 5 gallon container and then pour in it the 2 gallons of water that are in the 7 gallon container. Fill the entire 7 gallon container with water and then start pouring the water in the 5 gallon container. Given that it is already filled with 2 gallons of water, you will be able to pour only 3 gallons, which means that 4 gallons would remain within the 7 gallon container. This is how you are able to measure 4 gallons of water.

    20. Who is a data architect, please explain?

    Ans:

    The individual who is into data architect roles is a person who can be considered as a data architecture practitioner. So when it comes to data architecture it includes the following stages:

    • Designing
    • Creating
    • Deploying
    • Managing

    All of these activities are carried out with the organization’s data architecture.

    With their help and skill set, the organization can take a constructive decision of how the data is stored, how the data is consumed and how the data is integrated into different IT systems. In a sense, this process is closely aligned with business architecture, because they should be aware of this process so that the security policies are also taken into consideration.

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    21.  What are the fundamental skills of a Data Architect?

    Ans:

    The fundamental skills of a Data Architect are as follows:

    1. The individual should possess knowledge about data modeling in detail
    2. Physical data modeling concepts
    3. Should be familiar with ETL process
    4. Should be familiar with Data warehousing concepts
    5. Hands-on experience with data warehouse tools and different software
    6. Should have experience in terms of developing data strategies
    7. Build data policies and plans for executions

    22.  What is a data block and what is a data file? Please explain briefly?

    Ans:

    A data block is nothing but a logical space where the Oracle database data is stored.

    A data file is nothing but a file where all the data is available. For every Oracle database, we will be having one or more data files associated.

    23.  What is cluster analysis? What is the purpose of cluster analysis?

    Ans:

    A cluster analysis is defined as a process where an object is defined without giving any label to it. It uses statistical data analysis techniques and processes the data mining job. Using cluster analysis, an iterative process of knowledge discovery is processed in the form of trails.

    The purpose of cluster analysis:

    • It is scalable
    • It can deal with different set of attributes
    • High dimensionality
    • Interpretability

    24.  What is virtual Data warehousing?

    Ans:

    A virtual data warehouse provides a view of completed data. Within Virtual data warehousing, it doesn’t have any historical data and it can be considered as a logical data model which has the metadata. A virtual data warehouse is a perfect information system where it acts as an appropriate analytical decision-making system.

    It is one of the best ways of portraying raw data in the form of meaningful data for executive users which makes business sense and at the same time it provides suggestions at the time of decision making.

    25.  What is a snapshot with reference to a data warehouse?

    Ans:

    As the name itself implies, the snapshot is nothing but a set of complete data visualization when a data extraction is executed. The best part is that it uses less space and it can be easily used to take backup and also the data can be restored quickly from a snapshot.

    26.  What is XMLA?

    Ans:

    XMLA is nothing but XML for analysis purposes. This is considered as a standard for access of data in OLAP. XMLA actually uses discover and execute methods. So the Discover method actually is used to fetch the information from the internet and the execute method is used for the applications to execute against all the data sources that are available.

    27.  What is the main difference between view and materialized view?

    Ans:

    The main difference between view and materialized view is as follows:

    View:

    • Data representation is provided by view where the data is accessed from its table.
    • View has a logical structure which does not occupy space
    • All the changes are affected in corresponding tables.

    Materialized View:

    • Within materialized view, pre-calculated data is available
    • The materialized view has a physical structure which does occupy space
    • All the changes are not reflected in the corresponding tables.

    28.  What is junk dimension?

    Ans:

    A junk dimension is nothing but a dimension where a certain type of data is stored which is not appropriate to store in the schema. The nature of the junk dimension is usually a Boolean has flag values.

    A single dimension is formed by a group of small dimensions gathered together. This can be considered as a junk dimension.

    29.  What is data warehouse architecture?

    Ans:

    The data warehouse architecture is a three-tier architecture. The following is the three-tier architecture:

    • Bottom Tier
    • Middle Tier
    • Upper Tier

    It is nothing but a repository of integrating data which is extracted from different data sources.

    30. What are Integrity constraints? What are different types of Integrity constraints?

    Ans:

    An integrity constraint is nothing but a specific requirement that the data in the database has to meet. It is nothing but a business rule for a particular column in a table. In the data warehouse concept, they are 5 integrity constraints

    The following are the integrity constraints:

    • Null
    • Unique key
    • Primary key
    • Foreign key
    • Check
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    31. Why is that data architect actually monitoring and enforcing compliance data standards? What is the need?

    Ans:

    The primary idea of keeping the standards high on compliance for data standards is because it will help to reduce the data redundancy and help the team to have quality data. As this information is actually carried out or used throughout the organization.

    32.  Explain the different data models that are available in detail?

    Ans:

    There are three different kinds of data models that are available and they are as follows:

    • Conceptual
    • Logical
    • Physical

    Conceptual data model:

    As the name itself implies that this data model depicts the high-level design of the available physical data.

    Logical data model:

    Within the logical model, the entity names, entity relationships, attributes, primary keys and foreign keys will show up.

    Physical data model:

    Based on this data model, the view will give out more information and showcases how the model is implemented in the database. All the primary keys, foreign keys, tables names and column names will be showing up.

    33.  Differentiate between dimension and attribute?

    Ans:

    In short, dimensions are nothing but which represents qualitative data. For example data like a plan, product, class are all considered as dimensions.

    The attribute is nothing but a subset of a dimension. Within a dimension table, we will have attributes. The attributes can be textual or descriptive. For example, product name and product category are nothing but an attribute of product dimensions.

    34.  Differentiate between OLTP and OLAP?

    Ans:

    • OLTP stands for Online Transaction Process System
    • OLTP is known for maintaining transactional level data of the organization and generally, they are highly normalized. If it is OLTP route then it is going to be a star schema design.
    • OLAP stands for Online Analytical process system.
    • OLAP is known for a lot of analysis and fulfills reporting purposes. It is a denormalized form.

    If it is an OLAP route then it is going to be a snowflake schema design.

    35.  How to become a data architect?

    Ans:

    The following are the prerequisites for an individual to start his career in Data Architect.

    • A bachelor’s degree is essential and preferably in computer science background
    • No predefined certifications are necessary, but it is always good to have few certifications related to the field because few of the companies might expect. It is advisable to go through CDMA (Certified 3. Data Management Professional)
    • Should have at least 3-8 years of IT experience.
    • Should be creative, innovative and good at problem-solving.
    • Has good programming knowledge and data modeling concepts
    • Should be well versed with the tools like SOA, ETL, ERP, XML etc

    36. The responsibilities of a data architect and data administrator are the same?

    Ans:

    No, not at all. The responsibilities of data architect are completely different from that of data administrator. For example:

    Data architect works on data modeling and designs the database design in a robust manner where the users will be able to extract the information easily. When it comes to data administrators, they are responsible for having the databases run efficiently and effectively.

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    37.  Is data architect and data scientist roles similar?

    Ans:

    No, data architect and data scientist roles are two different roles in an organization. The following are few activities that data architect is involved :

    • Data warehousing solutions
    • ETL activities
    • Data Architecture development activities
    • Data modelling
    • The following are few activities that data scientist is involved in:
    • Data cleansing and processing
    • Predictive modelling
    • Machine learning
    • Statistical analysis applied
    • Data visualization

    38. What are the different types of measures available?

    Ans:

    The three different types of measures are available, they are as follows:

    • Non-additive measures
    • Semi-additive measures
    • Additive measures

    39. What are the common mistakes that encounter during data modeling activity, list them out?

    Ans:

    The common mistakes that are encountered during data modeling activities are listed below:

    • First and foremost is trying to build massive data models. The problem with large massive data models is that they have more design faults. The ideal case scenarios is to have a data model build which is under 200 table limit
    • Misunderstanding of the business problem, if this is the case then the data model that is built will not suffice the purpose.
    • An inappropriate way of surrogate key usage
    • Carrying out unnecessary denormalization

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