Job Search

Data Engineer vs. Database Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Data engineering and database engineering are two essential roles in the tech industry. Both positions work with data, but they have different focuses. A data engineer is responsible for designing, building and maintaining systems that collect and store data, while a database engineer focuses on the design, development and implementation of database systems.

In this article, we compare and contrast data engineering and database engineering, including job duties, skills, education and salary information.

What is a Data Engineer?

A Data Engineer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the systems that collect and store an organization’s data. They work with large amounts of structured and unstructured data to ensure it is stored securely and can be retrieved and analyzed when needed. Data Engineers also work with Data Scientists to develop algorithms and models that can be used to make business decisions. They use their skills in programming, database design, and data modeling to create efficient and scalable data systems. Data Engineers typically have a strong background in computer science and experience working with large-scale data.

What is a Database Engineer?

Database Engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the databases that power businesses and other organizations. They work with Database Administrators to ensure that databases are up to date and free of errors. Database Engineers also work with software developers to ensure that new applications are compatible with existing databases. In addition, they may be responsible for developing new database applications or modifying existing ones. Database Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Data Engineer vs. Database Engineer

Here are the main differences between a data engineer and a database engineer.

Job Duties

Both database and data engineers have duties that involve working with databases. However, the specific tasks they perform within a database differ. Database engineers are responsible for designing and developing the structure of a database. This includes creating schemas, tables, indexes and other structures to help users access and manage the data efficiently. Data engineers use these databases, but their job duties focus more on extracting, manipulating and processing the data rather than using it for simple queries and searches.

Database engineers often work closely with programmers and software developers to ensure that the databases they build are useful and user-friendly. They also typically oversee the maintenance of the databases they create, ensuring that the systems remain operational as intended. Data engineers may do some of these things as well, but their primary responsibility is to process large amounts of data rather than building and maintaining databases.

Job Requirements

Data engineers and database engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. They might also pursue a master’s degree to gain more advanced skills. Additionally, data engineers and database engineers often get certifications from organizations like the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) or the Oracle Corporation. These certifications can help professionals stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends.

Work Environment

Database engineers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to client sites. They often collaborate with other IT professionals and communicate with clients about database needs. Data engineers usually work in a more technical environment, such as a data center or server room. They may also work on-site at client locations.

Database engineers can work long hours when necessary, especially if there’s a deadline for a project. However, their work is rarely urgent because databases are used for routine tasks. Data engineers may work overtime occasionally, depending on the workload of their team.


Both data engineers and database engineers use technical skills to perform their jobs. Data engineers need to have a strong understanding of computer science concepts, including algorithms, data structures and software design. They also need to be proficient in programming languages, such as Java, Python and SQL. Database engineers should also have a strong understanding of computer science concepts. In addition, they should be skilled in database management systems, such as MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

Both data engineers and database engineers use analytical skills to examine data and identify trends. However, data engineers typically use these skills to develop new ways to collect and store data, while database engineers use them to optimize existing databases. Both types of engineers need to be able to effectively communicate their findings to colleagues and clients.


Data engineers can earn an average salary of $113,717 per year, while database engineers can earn an average salary of $110,788 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


Category Manager vs. Product Manager: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Legal Assistant vs. Law Clerk: What Are the Differences?