What Is the Best Career Path for Getting a Job as a Data Engineer?
The volume of data captured and consumed worldwide is growing at lightning speed – and it’s showing no signs of stopping. From the 79 zettabytes of information created in 2021, the world is expected to produce a whopping 181 ZB of data by 2025, boosting the global data analytics market to a global value of $68 billion over the next three years.
This data is radically changing the way businesses operate, influence UX, take executive decisions, and manage day-to-day operations. Today, just over 55% of businesses have a system in place to harness big data – but the big data revolution is leaving no industry untouched. And data engineers are the figure companies need to collect, store, and use data. But what is the best route to securing the best data engineering jobs? Learn about your career options in this guide.
Data Engineering: What You Need To Know Before Taking This Career Path
With a growing number of companies looking to capture and use data to reach their goals, data engineers have never been so in demand. That is why it isn’t surprising that, according to the DICE’s 2020 Tech Job Report, data engineer jobs have been growing at an annual rate of 50%, making this career the fastest-growing one in the tech sector.
Data engineers make a difference in the chances of success of a business by:
- Building systems for collecting and storing data that are instrumental to the business’s goals
- Designing solutions and algorithms to analyze the information collected
- Ensure that the raw data is converted and transformed into usable information for data scientists and analysts
- Building and maintaining pipeline architectures, data warehouses, and data analysis tools
Ultimately, the role of data engineers is to apply their skills to collect data and elaborate information so that it can be evaluated by data science experts and data analysts.
What Career Path To Take to Become a Data Engineer?
Pursuing data engineering jobs comes with many benefits, including:
- Availability of 100% remote positions
- Plenty of different tasks to work on
- Highly scalable skills and development opportunities
- Average salary of $116,769
So, data engineers are in high demand and benefit from some of the highest compensation levels among tech jobs. But how do you become a successful data engineer? There is more than one path you can take. Here are some of your options.
Learn Skills You Need To Become a Data Engineer
Data engineering is a field born to respond to the increased need of businesses to understand and use data. Since data engineering only started to develop as a separate discipline 10 years ago, many established data engineers landed their position from different tech and data analysis backgrounds.
So, if you already have experience as a data scientist, programming, or data analysis, you might consider switching to a data engineering career path by filling the gaps in your skillset. Some of the must-have skills to become a data engineer include:
- Proficiency in coding languages – including Python (especially important for Python Jobs), Java, Scala, R, and SQL
- Database design for data storage – especially familiarity with relational and non-relational databases
- Cloud storage and cloud computing solutions – such as Google Cloud and AWS
- Cybersecurity and data protection – to work with cybersecurity teams and prevent data loss and theft
- Data storage and big data tools – including data lakes, data warehouses, and tools used to highlight trends and patterns in big data sets, such as Apache Storm and Cassandra.
- Machine learning, automation, and scripting – to work with large amounts of information
- Extract, Transform, and Load systems – ETL systems are essential tools to work, transport, and process data
Earn a Relevant Degree
If finding data engineering jobs or network engineering jobs is your goal from the start of your career, you might consider earning a relevant degree in the field. In any case, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar can offer you the foundations to build a successful career by integrating complementary skills.
Some degrees that can get you a step closer to your goal of becoming a data engineer include:
- Computer science
- Software engineering or development
- Data engineering
- Data science or data analysis
- Computer engineering
General degrees such as Information Technology, Technology Management, and Programming can help you access DevOps jobs or cloud security jobs. But don’t forget that most employers will also look for real-world experiences, such as internships.
Validate Your Skills With Certifications
If you have already acquired the essential skills to succeed as a data engineer, you might consider validating them by earning certifications. Investing in certifications allows you to immediately prove your skills in the eyes of potential employers.
Additionally, preparing for an exam allows you to confront your level of knowledge and hone your skills. If you are unsure about the best certifications to invest in, start by checking relevant job descriptions and listings.
Some options include:
Showcase Your Skills Through a Data Engineering Portfolio
Finding a job in today’s economy might seem challenging – especially if you are just starting out. Indeed, most employers will be looking for a robust portfolio of projects to back up any claim on your resume. However, in the field of data engineering, there are many tools that you can use to create a portfolio that truly showcases your skills. These include:
- A portfolio website
- Your LinkedIn profile’s “Projects” section
- Free portfolio solutions such as GitHub and Kaggle
- Guided projects to add to your portfolio
Your portfolio might include independently completed projects, as well as commissions, collaborations, and projects completed as part of coursework. Consider showing your code and hashed comments to help your recruiter understand and appreciate your thought process.
Finding The Best Career Path Towards a Data Engineering Job
Many data engineers don’t start their careers in this exact field. For some, the starting point might be a database administrator position or more specialized Java developer jobs, or .Net jobs.
Additionally, regardless of your background, a degree isn’t always necessary to find a rewarding data engineering job. But what is necessary are up-to-date skills, willingness to learn, and a solid foundation in computer science.
Ultimately, the career path you choose to access data engineering jobs should be suitable for your unique background and experience – just trust that there are plenty of data engineering opportunities to explore!