What is a Data Engineer and Why Should I Become One?

Posted 2020-01-29 Posted by Tom O'Connell

You can think of data engineering as the precursor of practical data science, or, more importantly, effective data science. If data science is the process of questioning and analysing data, data engineers oversee the process of collecting and validating structured data.

Data engineers are on the front-line of data harvesting, involved less in analysis of data itself, but rather the experimental design of architecture, interface configuration, and database management. Powerful algorithms deployed by data scientists are at risk of being ineffective without the integral work data engineers provide, ensuring that insights can be productionised and put to tangible practical use.

This is why data engineers are so coveted and sought after, however, much like data science in its infancy 5-10 years ago, demand far outweighs supply, providing lucrative salaries and career progression. A good data engineer could be a company’s most important hire.

In large companies, data engineers are typically involved in the process of building and maintaining data warehouses. These are crucial to every aspect of a data project and these warehouses are the central hub for mining, scaling, and reporting.

Data engineers are adept at creating systems that can combine multiple data sources and creating reliable data pipelines, supplying data scientists with data that does not overlook any salient elements and is relevant for analysis. Good data engineers are able to develop systems which can handle the scaling up of data ingestion, ensuring longevity of the solutions they provide.

What skills do you need to become a data engineer?

Software engineers typically have the foundational skills to make the transition to data engineering. They need 2 or more years of experience in programming in Python, Java or C/C++ and experience with at least one cloud provider.

Become a data engineer

Pivigo runs S2DS, a data science bootcamp providing commercial data science project experience, facilitating the careers of more than 750 data scientists. Recognising the exciting prospects and paramount nature of the role to data science, this year we are introducing a data engineering track to help aspiring data engineers make the transition in just five weeks.

S2DS provides participants with tangible project experience to put on a CV and discuss at a job interview. Every participant receives free on-site accommodation, access to a growing global network of hundreds of practising data scientists and data engineers. Throughout the course, there are networking events, CV clinics, technical and business mentoring, social events, and a career fair at graduation to help you find your next role. All alumni receive ongoing career support, freelancing opportunities, and induction into the S2DS alumni. For more information and to apply, click here.

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