Career Development

What Does a Data Engineer Do?

Find out what a data engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a data engineer.

Data engineers are responsible for building and maintaining the databases that power modern businesses. They work with a variety of data sources—including but not limited to customer records, financial information, inventory tracking systems, etc.—and they use this information to build and maintain databases that can be easily accessed by other members of their organization.

Data engineers may also be tasked with developing new ways to store and organize data in order to make it easier to access and analyze later on. This might include creating new database schemas or updating existing ones to support new features or functionality.

Data Engineer Job Duties

Data engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Developing new ways to store data using emerging technologies such as cloud computing, NoSQL databases, and Hadoop
  • Working with database administrators to create database designs that meet business needs while optimizing performance
  • Testing and debugging code written by other programmers to locate and fix any errors
  • Identifying opportunities for automation and streamlining of processes to improve efficiency
  • Developing data analytics algorithms to identify patterns in large data sets
  • Analyzing data to identify patterns and trends that can be used to develop business strategies
  • Creating efficient, high performance data storage solutions using technology such as Hadoop, Spark, Hive, Impala, Pig, etc.
  • Providing recommendations to management on how to improve efficiency of current processes through the use of data analysis
  • Designing and building data models using standard programming languages such as SQL, Java, Python, or Scala

Data Engineer Salary & Outlook

Data engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $125,000 ($60.1/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $183,000 ($87.98/hour)

The employment of data engineers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for data engineering services will stem from the need to process and analyze large amounts of data in fields such as healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. Data engineers will be needed to design and implement information systems that can handle these large amounts of data.

Data Engineer Job Requirements

A data engineer typically needs to have the following skills:

Education: A data engineer should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, computer engineering or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in computer science or a related field.

Training & Experience: Data engineers typically receive on-the-job training once they are hired. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and computer systems. It may also include instruction on the company’s specific processes and procedures.

Data engineers can also receive training through internships. During an internship, students can learn more about the field of data analytics and data science. They can also gain practical experience in the workplace.

Certifications & Licenses: Data engineers can acquire several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in different types of data and systems.

Data Engineer Skills

Data engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Coding: Coding is the process by which software engineers create programs. Data engineers need to understand coding to be able to interpret the programs created by software engineers and to be able to create their own programs.

Database management: Data engineers often use relational databases to store and organize large amounts of data. They may also use other database management systems, such as cloud-based databases, to store and manage data. Data engineers need to know how to install, configure and maintain database management systems.

Problem-solving: Data engineers often work with other team members to solve complex problems. They may also work with clients to troubleshoot issues and find solutions. Data engineers may also need to troubleshoot technical issues with the data itself.

Algorithms: Algorithms are the steps used to solve a problem. Data engineers use algorithms to process large amounts of data. They need to understand how to create algorithms and how to troubleshoot them when they don’t work properly.

Machine learning: Machine learning is the ability to use algorithms to predict outcomes. Data engineers use machine learning to help them understand the data they’re analyzing.

Data Engineer Work Environment

Data engineers work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, government agencies, hospitals, and educational institutions. They typically work full time, and some data engineers may work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or to complete complex projects. Data engineers need to be able to work well under pressure, as their work is often time-sensitive. They also need to be able to work independently and as part of a team. Data engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field.

Data Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how data engineers work. Data engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Talent

The need for more technical talent is a trend that is being seen across all industries, as businesses are increasingly relying on data to make decisions. This means that data engineers will be in high demand, as they are the professionals who can help businesses extract value from their data.

To capitalize on this trend, data engineers should focus on developing strong technical skills and becoming familiar with the latest technologies. They should also be on the lookout for opportunities to work with other teams, such as business intelligence or product development, where they can apply their data engineering skills.

Data Science Becomes More Mainstream

As data science becomes more mainstream, data engineers will be in high demand. Data engineers are responsible for collecting, managing, and analyzing data, which is essential for any company that wants to use data to make better decisions.

By understanding how to collect, manage, and analyze data, data engineers can help companies make better decisions about everything from product development to marketing. In addition, data engineers can also help ensure that data is accurate and reliable.

More Collaboration Between Business and Engineering

As data becomes an increasingly important part of business, the need for collaboration between business and engineering will continue to grow. This means that data engineers will need to be able to communicate effectively with both sides in order to get the most out of their data.

In order to be successful, data engineers will need to be able to understand the needs of both business and engineering and find ways to collaborate that will benefit everyone involved.

How to Become a Data Engineer

A data engineer career path can be a great way to combine your technical and analytical skills with business knowledge. As a data engineer, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of both the business side and the technology side of things. This means that you should be able to understand how the company uses data and what value it can provide, as well as being able to build the necessary infrastructure to support this use.

To become a data engineer, you’ll need to have a strong foundation in both math and computer science. You’ll also need to be able to think creatively about how to solve problems and come up with solutions.

Related: How to Write a Data Engineer Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance in the field of data engineering. One of the best is to get further education, which can lead to positions that are not otherwise open to those without an advanced degree. For example, a data engineer with a master’s degree in computer science may be able to apply for research or teaching positions. Additionally, data engineers with strong computer skills can move into other computer-related positions with additional education. Some may become interested in data programming in order to further improve their data engineering capabilities. Others may want to become involved with data analytics or data visualization.

Data engineers with experience and expertise in a particular area may also advance by becoming consultants or going into business for themselves. Freelance data engineering work can be erratic, however, so usually only the most experienced data engineers with an established client base can count on consistent full-time work.

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