Unless you are a computer geek, odds are the first mention of any form of technical jargon causes your eyes to glaze over, due simply to assumptions that the topic at hand is beyond your comprehension level. If you are like most, you probably don’t care to know how it works or why; you just care that works as designed when you need it to. It is this approach that causes many to shy away from learning about many topics, particularly in the computer field, simply because they believe that it will be too complex for them to understand. One of the many subjects that falls into that category is Data Architecture.
Being from a technical background, topics like these come to me almost as second nature, but that is due only to years of experience as well as education to back me up. It is my goal to describe the what’s and why’s of Data Architecture in simple enough terms so as to make the field of computers not seem as daunting as it may have once seemed.
What is Data Architecture?
Simply stated, Data Architecture is how data is handled in a computer system. Let’s take a look at the PC for example. In this day in age, nearly every household owns at least one PC. Whether it’s used to surf the web, play video games or even to complete homework assignments, the PC is packed full of a variety of different types of data that are used for a variety of different applications. Whether it is something as simple as loading your favorite game, or saving your essay, you take for granted how your PC completes these tasks. In order for these tasks to take place, a design had to be put in place behind the scenes that tells your machine what tasks it needs to complete in order to get the job done.
A simple way to explain this is by using a flow chart which is a combination of boxes that most of us have had an interaction with at some point in our life. Each chart has a starting point and an ending point. In order to get to the ending point, various decisions need to be made along the way and it is those decisions that affect the outcome. Take something as simple as where to go for dinner. Your first choice is type of food, Italian, fast food, seafood, etc. From there your choices will be based on the types of restaurants that serve that type of food in your area. In no time you have gone from the start of a flow chart to the end and this is what Data Architecture is. A set of decision making paths that allow every machine to complete various tasks with little to no input required from the user.
Why is Data Architecture Important?
Now that you understand what Data Architecture is and how it works, the reasoning behind why it is so important may actually seem quite simple. Without Data Architecture, the PC would not exist as we know it today. In order to complete a simple task like saving an essay, would put all the decision making steps in the user’s hands. All the steps that we take for granted would need to be learned by every user, and if something went wrong, it would be the user’s job to figure out why.
Instead of making the task of using a PC miserable, Data Architecture was created to form many different workflows that tell the machine how to complete millions of different tasks which make our lives so much easier. Without Data Architecture, these workflows would not exist, and the PC would not be what we know it to be today.