Data Engineer Career Guide
Last Reviewed/Updated: September 16, 2019
Data Engineers are primarily responsible for the testing and development of infrastructures responsible for the varying functions of data in society. Part of the role of the Data Engineer may include initial research and development, testing and piloting, and monitoring and troubleshooting analytical infrastructure within their organization.
Data Engineer Careers
Data Engineering is a branch of Data Science that involves the initial implementation of data processing and storage software for analytical use. Professionals in this line of work often receive their training through degree programs in Information Technology, Data Science, and Computer Engineering.
A large majority of students that are working towards Data Engineering careers enroll in programs such as the Masters in Data Science - Engineering program. This program can provide students with extensive training in Data Science and its processes, which can be important information for upcoming engineering professionals to comprehend.
In later years of this degree program, students can practice their skills in the planning and development of helpful software that can make data processing much easier in the field. The purpose of this degree program is to prepare learners for a career that can influence the quality of Data Science professionals in the field.
Featured Online Data Science Programs
Johns Hopkins AAP
|MS in Data Science and Policy||Website|
George Mason University
|Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering||Website|
Northern Illinois University
|Master of Science in Data Analytics||Website|
University of California Berkeley
|Master of Information and Data Science||Website|
|BS in Data Analytics||Website|
Online Degrees for Data Engineer Career
If you are seeking out flexible degree options to help jump-start your career, you can consider online degree programs as a means for your primary training. There are multiple degree combinations that can assist you with gaining relevant knowledge in Data Engineering, some of which are listed in this section.
The online Masters in Data Science - Engineering can be a excellent choice for emerging professionals with the need for convenient learning experiences. Ideally, professionals working as Data Engineers should have a well-balanced set of skills that may include the need for some Computer Programming courses or undergraduate experience.
Some students may also choose programs such as the online Masters in Data Analytics with focus on Data Engineering. This type of degree program can also outline the components of successful data analysis while still providing helpful focus into Data Engineering specifically.
Alternative online options can include programs in Information Technology and Computer Programming, since these components can also be important to the overall field of Data Science. A combination of different degree types could also provide you with an advantage when seeking out competitive career options in the field.
What Do Data Engineers Do?
At the very core of Data Science, Data Engineers are some of the most important members of the overall data analytics team. As a Data Engineer, you can work behind the scenes as an expert that makes data analysis possible for members of an organization seeking to utilize data for innovative purposes.
One of the first and most important jobs that a Data Engineer has is to create data platforms for use in the field. Organizations may employ engineers in this field to establish storage or process protocols that can provide useful data for analysis in the future.
Some of the most common data platforms include Hadoop and Spark, which you can become quite familiar with as you integrate into this field. You might also be required to be well-versed in workflow tools and programmatic libraries in order to provide you company with the best possible extraction methods for large sums of data for different purposes.
Data Engineers create and maintain the infrastructure that Data Scientists utilize to analyze data. During a normal day's work, you might be testing or implementing new systems for a new client, or working to find solutions to problems with a company's operating software.
Some organizations responsible for the development of helpful analysis software may employ Data Engineers to regularly work on the development of new analytics systems as well as provide updates to existing software.
Specific career options in machine learning and statistics may also be options for new recruits in this field, since the software designed for use in both sections may require extensive knowledge of data processing and storage software current in the field.
Salary and Pay for Data Engineers
The career opportunities for Data Engineers can be just as diverse as the work completed by professionals in this field. You may already have a good idea about the type of organization you would like to work for after completing your degree program, or you may still be on the hunt for the perfect fit.
Some businesses may hire Data Engineers to maintain their current data warehouses and continuously provide updates and improvements over the course of its operation. Other agencies may employ engineers as a means for implementing an initial system for data storage and analysis.
Each position that you take can be listed under different titles or have different responsibilities in terms of the general day-to-day duties. Take a look below at some of the most common career titles and salaries for current engineering professionals in the field.
- Software Developers: $105,590 on average per year (BLS).
- Computer Research Scientists: $118,370 on average per year (BLS).
- Database Administrators: $90,070 on average per year (BLS).
Recommended Courses for Data Engineers
Any organization that currently employs Data Engineers may require that you have a specific skill set before being accepted into their open positions. The best way to ensure that you have the skills required to accept these careers is through an extensive and all-inclusive educational programs designed for engineers in this field.
The courses that you take during your degree program can help you prepare for working with complex systems in general Data Science, Data Analytics, Business Analytics, Information Technology, and Statistics. Specific courses within each of these subject areas can provide you with a foundation for success in your career.
Courses such as Machine Learning Algorithms can be beneficial for students that are intrigued by ML and its many applications in current society. Database Systems is a generalist course that can provide you with a broad outlook of common platforms and software current used by data professionals in a wide variety of settings.
As part of your general degree requirements, you may also indulge in classes that can better outline the expectations of large and small-scale networks and their respective frameworks. Knowledge within these different areas can easily carry over into your career in terms of experience and expertise.
Essential Software Programs
Professional Data Engineers working in the field can vouch for the need for familiarity with common engineering software when seeking jobs in the field. As you transition into this field, you should not only familiarize yourself with the different types of software current available, but also have the ability to discriminate between which software would be a better tool than another for any given situation.
Common programs utilized by Data Engineers in the field include popular options like Apache Spark and Hadoop, as well as SQL and Python. Most degree programs can provide you with an introduction to these popular programs and what benefit they can provide when working with different types of data sets.
Students completing degree programs in the field of Data Engineering can also move on to receive certification through specified training in different types of software programs. Certification can provide you with additional expertise to help you obtain in-demand positions through organizations of your choice.
Some certification programs that you might see when seeking out different options include Google Cloud Data Engineering Certification and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in Data Engineering with Azure.
Data Engineering Organizations to Know
When you make your entry into the field of Data Engineering, you can expect to be presented with many complex and multi-dimensional issues during a normal day’s work. It can be your role to develop solutions to some of the most plaguing issues within an organization, which can put a lot of pressure on a new professional in the field.
Professional organizations in Data Engineering can allow you access to years of research and innovation for further learning throughout your career. Some organizations also organize events and meetings as a way to meet others that are current employed in the field.
The Association of Data Scientists and Data Engineers is a leading professional organization for you to consider joining once started in your career. This agency was developed in order to provide a central location for idea sharing and knowledge gathering by current professionals involved in Data Science careers.
For people looking for a wider reach within their organization, the International Data Engineering and Science Association can be another relevant group to apply to when entering the field. This organization looks beyond what is utilized in the U.S. and takes on a more worldly perspective on idea sharing and networking.