What is A Data Engineer? Job Description, Skills and Necessary Qualifications 2022

Data Engineer comes in handy with changes in how organizations use data internally, there has been a sharp rise in the number of data professionals that the average company employs. While most people know of a data scientist, a data engineer is a pretty uncommon professional.

A data engineer has similar functions to a data scientist, but there are clear distinctions between the two roles. If you’re trying to shy away from your role as a data scientist, data engineering is another field that may look interesting to you.

In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about a data engineer, their responsibilities, and the expected job title. Also, you’ll learn the path to choosing data engineering as a career, including the necessary academic qualifications to attain and soft skills to develop.

data engineer

Data Engineer Job Description

A data scientist is a professional saddled with the task of collecting, managing, and converting unintelligible data into formats that analysts and data scientists can interpret and use in the real world. This helps to make data more accessible, making their respective companies able to improve performance using the existing data.

A data engineer is expected to be proficient with some aspects of data science, as they work closely with data scientists to acquire large datasets. In addition to that, they use their extensive programming knowledge to build algorithms that transform data into usable information for their company.

Depending on the size of a company, the average responsibilities of a data scientist may vary greatly. While bigger companies will usually expect the professional to perform tasks specific to data engineering, smaller companies will expect the data engineer to take on more of a generalist role.

If you’re contemplating a career change in the IT sector in 2022, data engineering is a top choice. Listed as one of the fastest-growing jobs by LinkedIn in 2021, data engineers are in wide demand, with available jobs beating out web designers, computer scientists, and most other general IT professions.

Data Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Everyone trying to make a foray into a new career will want to have an idea of how it feels to work the job. The closest you may ever get to that is accessing the job description of a typical data engineer to see their roles and responsibilities daily.

You don’t need to scour around the internet to access the job description of the average data engineer. Here are some of the top roles and responsibilities of the average data engineer in a typical American or Canadian company.

  •  A data engineer will be expected to create and maintain a data pipeline architecture for the collection and optimization of data to make it easier for developers and data scientists to use the available data to improve the company’s products in real-time.
  •  Securing a company’s data across multiple data centers and servers that the company does or doesn’t own. This will require some proficiency in dealing with servers from top web services.
  •  Data engineers should be naturally proficient at automation, as they may be tasked with automating manual processes and redesigning the entire data infrastructure to acknowledge the scale of the organization.
  • They work with the developers and members of the executive section of the company to address any technical issues relating to data and fix them as soon as possible to ensure the smooth running of the company.
  •  Data engineers are also expected to create data tools for the data science and analysis teams to offer them some assistance with accessing the data available to the company. This will also help these analysts put these data to good use, optimizing the company’s offerings to suit the trends that the data suggests.

Academic Requirements for a Data Engineer

While the vast majority of data engineers have at least one college degree, you don’t need one to become a proficient data engineer. If you have enough experience dealing with large amounts of data and manipulating them programmatically, you already have enough academic knowledge to become one.

However, many university degree programs will set you on the right path to becoming a data engineer. If you’re seeking entry into college, computer science, data science, and statistics degrees will set you on the path to becoming a data engineer.

After some background in computer science and statistics, there are many other requirements for becoming a data engineer. However, all of these are technical requirements, which I’ll explain in detail in the following section.

Technical Requirements for a Data Engineer

Becoming a data engineer isn’t only about studying statistics or computer science in college. The skills of the average data engineer are more extensive, with these skills divided into technical and soft skills. Here are some of the technical requirements for a data engineer in the average American or Canadian company.

  •  Coding and advanced computing skills

A data engineer will be required to develop and maintain data pipelines that require advanced computer coding knowledge. As a data engineer, you should be proficient in programming languages like Python, Java, Scala, and R. Expertise in database languages like SQL and NoSQL is also a requirement for data engineers.

In addition to that, a data engineer should have much more than beginner-level knowledge in machine learning, big data tools, and cloud computing. Experience with MongoDB, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud is a requirement for a data engineer.

  • Hands-on experience with data engineering projects

The best way to convince the company you’re willing to work for about your expertise is by showing projects that you’ve completed in the past. Thus, you should build an irresistible portfolio of projects related to data science and engineering to show prospective employers what you can do.

You can host your portfolio on your self-hosted website, but using a dedicated site like GitHub to host your code is more cost-effective and ideal.

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Conclusion

Data engineering is one of the top five fastest-growing jobs in the IT sector, but the availability of capable data engineers is painfully limited. If you can train to become a proficient data engineer, landing a job should be almost certain.

In this article, I’ve outlined the roles and responsibilities of a data engineer and the job description of a typical one. Also, this article contains the path to switching to this fast-growing career to help you speed up the process.

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