Data Engineers and How to Get a Job as One

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The tech industry houses an ever-growing number of different jobs. Software and the data it makes up are among the most important areas of the industry. One such career is a data engineer. But what are they? What do they do? How is a job as a data engineer obtained?

Data Engineers & What They Do

In a certain section of tech companies, data engineers work as a backbone to the basic compilation of data. They organize it, convert it when needed, and collect it for other parts of the company to use. This data is often used to make improvements in a business’s functionality and enhance the quality and performance of the products being manufactured. Data engineers essentially take data and turn it into manageable groups for others such as data scientists and analysts to use. The biggest difference between a data engineer and a data scientist is that the engineers give the scientists data that has been prepared for them to study on a more condensed level.

General Salary Range

Data engineers can earn anywhere from around $65,000 to over $130,000 per year in the US. Within the tech industry, reputation, skillset, real-world and educational experience, and other smaller factors can affect this. The tech industry is constantly evolving, so data engineers and other similar careers must be able to adapt. Companies hiring engineers will also adjust the initial pay rate based on all of those individual-specific factors on top of the business’s achievements and goals. It’s important to note that the mentioned salary range is subject to change quickly with the industry, company, and candidates involved.

A Data Engineer’s Skillset

On top of being adept at compiling and organizing data on an intermediate to a proficient level, data engineers have to be able to do this through numerous different software and platforms. A few years back, the primary skills an engineer needed to have were in SQL, data warehousing, OLAP, and OLTP—not to mention any other popular software and frameworks. That concept still applies, though, regarding the current technology at the top of the industry. Additionally, knowledge and applications from cloud providers have made their way onto the list as well.

Engineers in the Hiring Process

As with any career in the tech industry, real-world experience is one of the most observed criteria for any company when hiring employees. A data engineer’s flexibility and adaptability are vital assets too. They should be able to display these skills through technical skill assessments, soft skill assessments, and in the interview process. Skills assessments can test these directly while an interview will look at verbal scenarios if presented and any questions the interviewer deems relevant. Bringing an extensive portfolio of professional work experience to the table in addition to the educational experience and basic communication skills may give a data engineer the edge he or she needs to stand out from the rest of the viable candidates.