The tech world expands as data science keeps changing and data scientists keep innovating. Data is no longer stored in a single database as it used to be, so there is a need for several professionals to manage this data, including data engineers. Data engineers design, test, maintain, and manage data so that other scientists can carry out research and analysis.
This cycle creates a need for more data engineers in the industry. There are several job opportunities for professionals in the data engineering field. This article will explain how to become a data engineer, the job requirements, several career options, learning paths, and relevant skills.
A data engineer is in charge of designing and building systems for data collection, storage, and analysis. They design data pipelines that transform and transport data from various sources to a storage system and then to a data warehouse. These pipelines enable raw data to be converted into a format that can be interpreted and used to make decisions.
Data engineers enable data scientists to process and channel data so that it can be easily accessed and analyzed. They do this with various tools to improve the quality, reliability, and efficiency of data.
The job of a data engineer is to implement methods to improve data accessibility, security, reliability, and quality. They collect data from different sources, organize the storage process, and create consistent and machine-readable formats.
They have in-depth knowledge of database solutions and use several tools and techniques like Python, Java, and R to construct frameworks that put information into a usable format for data scientists. The main responsibility of a data engineer is to collect data and make it accessible to data scientists and usable for making business decisions.
Data engineers are now in high demand in the industry and more people are transitioning into the field. According to research conducted by Dice, a platform for people in tech careers, data engineer is the fastest-growing tech occupation, ahead of the backend developer and senior data scientist job roles.
According to PayScale, the median salary of a data engineer is about $92,503, with an entry-level data engineer earning around $77,257. This makes the career very promising, and it will only get more lucrative as the demand for these experts increases.
There are several reasons to become a data engineer, with the most popular being the high salary rate. The career is in high demand and there is a wide range of job opportunities available in the field.
To become a professional data engineer, you need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like computer science, computer engineering, or systems engineering. Below is a summary of all the requirements needed to become a data engineer.
There are several career paths for a data engineer to choose from. You can become a data architect, a junior data engineer, a big data engineer, or a lead data engineer, to name a few.
Data architects collaborate with database administrators to build and maintain a company's database. They develop database solutions, assess requirements, and write design reports.
Junior data engineers primarily work on fixing bugs and other small engineering tasks. They do not get to build database systems. They typically work on maintenance under the supervision of a senior data engineer.
Senior data engineers are more involved in the creation and maintenance of data collection systems and pipelines. They act as managers, supervising junior engineers and assigning projects.
Data engineers are responsible for designing, organizing, and maintaining data systems. They also keep an eye on business trends to help companies make informed decisions and improve business operations. Below is a breakdown of the main tasks a data engineer performs.
Data engineers handle the design of the data architecture of an organization’s data platform. This also involves organizing the data.
These professionals are also in charge of the maintenance and testing of the data platform. This testing is done to ensure that the data delivers reliable information for data scientists.
While data scientists are the ones who design machine learning models, data engineers have to deploy these models into production environments.
Certain skills are key for a data engineer to have. They should have soft skills like communication, critical thinking, and the ability to solve problems. Most importantly, they need technical skills like programming languages, knowledge of databases, and an understanding of cloud computing concepts.
Learning programming languages like R, Python, SQL, C++, and others is essential for data engineers. These professionals work with these languages to design data platforms.
Knowledge of both SQL and NoSQL-based databases is a key skill for data engineers. This is because database management is vital to their daily responsibilities.
Many businesses are trading their physical servers for cloud services. As a result, understanding cloud storage and computing is critical.
It could take anywhere from a couple of months to several years to become a data engineer. It depends on the educational path you choose. You have the option of going to college for an undergraduate degree for four years or attending a coding bootcamp for a couple of weeks.
Bachelor’s degrees at any university will take about four years to complete regardless of the program. In some schools, it could take more. Coding bootcamps typically last anywhere from eight weeks to nine months depending on the school and learning format you choose.
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a data engineer. Bootcamps are designed to help you start a career in a technology field. Coding bootcamps like Flatiron School, Springboard, Udacity, Fullstack Academy, and Clarusway offer data engineering programs.
These coding bootcamps offer more than just academic training. They also equip their students with in-demand skills to land jobs after completion of the program. Most bootcamps also provide their students with financing options to make tuition more affordable. Career services may also be provided to help you find a job after the program.
You can become a data engineer from home if you enroll in an online bootcamp or online degree program. They tend to offer the same education as their in-person counterparts.
To become a data engineer, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure success.
You either need to get a bachelor’s degree in a data-related field or enroll in a coding bootcamp. Because the data engineering profession is booming, you stand a decent chance of getting a job without a formal college education.
Most high-profile data engineering jobs require candidates to have job experience. One way to earn this experience is by applying for internship or apprenticeship roles in companies that interest you.
An impressive portfolio will showcase your skills to potential employers and give you an advantage in the job market.
Certifications are important as a data engineer because they show the employer that you are capable, proactive, and have the required skills.
After gaining the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience, you can begin applying for jobs. You can apply for entry-level positions to boost your chances.
There are different educational paths to become a data engineer. You can learn through applying for undergraduate programs in IT- and engineering-related fields. You can also attend a bootcamp, vocational school, or community college.
Some data engineer bootcamps include Flatiron School, DevMountain, Clarusway, Springboard, and Fullstack Academy. These schools offer data engineering programs to equip students with the technical and soft skills needed to start a career. Their intensive training programs are an affordable alternative to college.
Vocational schools offer technical training in specific fields to prepare students for a career. They offer training in programs like home economics, agriculture, business management, and computer technology. These programs take about two years, but some programs require prior education before you can apply for them.
Community colleges are two-year postsecondary schools that offer students both academic and professional training. Students can either obtain a professional certificate or earn an associate degree and transfer to a university. It is an affordable option for those who cannot afford the full cost of a four-year college. They are only available to students with a high school diploma.
If you choose to attend a traditional four-year university, enroll in courses that teach computer science, computer engineering, data engineering, systems engineering, mathematics, statistics, or other IT-related fields.
After completing your undergraduate degree, you can earn an advanced degree and take harder courses within the same field. A bachelor’s program takes about four years to complete while a master’s degree may take a year to three years depending on the program and school.
Getting certified helps you stand out in the job market. Employers place a high value on these certifications. They prove that you are equipped to work in the field and have the skills necessary to do so. Some certifications are more valuable than others. Below are some of the most important data engineer certificates.
This certification is designed to show a candidate’s ability to perform core tasks in understanding, transforming, storing, and analyzing data. To earn this certification, candidates have to pass an exam that includes questions with technical solutions.
This Data Science Council of America (DASCA) certification validates a candidate's knowledge of big data platforms as well as proprietary and open source developer tools. To get your ABDE certification, you must pass an online examination. The certification has three candidacy tracks depending on your level of education and work experience.
This certifies a candidate’s technical skills and experience in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Candidates must understand the importance of AWS data analytics services throughout the data life cycle, from collection to storage to processing to visualization.
To prepare for a data engineer interview, you need to prepare to answer technical, philosophical, and behavioral questions. These are used to test whether you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do the job. Below are some practice questions.
If you like creating things from scratch and solving complex issues, then you should become a data engineer. It is the perfect career for anyone who has a background in mathematics, sciences, and IT, and who wants to advance in the field. Data engineering is very profitable and has many opportunities for growth. The career is in high demand in many industries.