Data Engineer Career Guide: 10 Key Skills [+ Salary]

Minimal high angle view at African American software developer working with computers and data systems in office

You might not know it, but data engineering plays a role in your day-to-day life. 

From ensuring the smooth function of mobile apps and online services, to facilitating personalized recommendations and targeted advertisements, data engineering powers the digital experiences that have become part of many normal routines.

At the same time, there is a need for knowledgeable professionals to fill open data engineer roles. Find out if the job is right for you by considering career paths, important data engineer skills, how to become a data engineer, and more.

What Is Data Engineering?

Data Engineer Job Description

Important Data Engineering Skills

Data Engineer Salary and Outlook

FAQs

What Is Data Engineering?

Data engineering is a job with diverse responsibilities, including the design, development, and maintenance of systems that process and store data. In simpler terms, data engineers enable data scientists and other experts in the tech field to make meaningful use of data through the following efforts:

This data can be leveraged in many ways for business intelligence, decision-making, and strategic planning.

Data Engineer Job Description

A data engineer will take on many different responsibilities with the end goal of ensuring that data is reliable and can be utilized long-term. Data engineering is included in the booming field of data science, which continues to drive change across nearly all industries, including:

What does a data engineer do on a daily basis? This will vary by industry, but tasks often include monitoring data pipelines for performance issues, implementing the latest security measures, and assessing whether new systems need to be created.

Important Data Engineering Skills

Data engineering requires an in-depth skill set that continually evolves with new technology. These are some of the most useful skills data engineers should possess:

  1. Adaptability. New technologies are always emerging, meaning that data engineers need to be able to adapt accordingly.
  2. Coding. Data engineers require coding abilities to perform many basic functions of the job.
  3. Collaboration. Work will happen closely alongside data scientists, analysts, developers, and others.
  4. Communication. The ability to clearly communicate with tech professionals and stakeholders is essential.
  5. Critical thinking. Complex problems should be approached with a critical eye.
  6. Efficiency. High work volume requires effective use of resources.
  7. Time management. Similarly, using time efficiently is crucial for data engineers to accomplish all that they need to.
  8. Troubleshooting. Issues are sure to arise with a technical job such as data engineering, and being able to identify causes and provide alternate solutions is a substantial benefit.
  9. Machine learning. Utilizing algorithms and statistical techniques to develop innovative computer systems helps to keep your organization at the forefront of advancements.
  10. Project management. Being able to organize a project from start to finish is vital for overall success.

To develop meaningful data engineering skills, learn the necessary principles, and stand out to potential employers, consider completing a certificate program.

The University of San Diego offers a 100% online Practical Data Engineering program, which can be completed in two semesters. This certificate offering is:

Data Engineer Salary and Outlook

The outlook for data engineers is promising, with Zippia anticipating 21% growth during the decade from 2018 to 2028. The job site also reports:

FAQs

What does a data engineer do?

A data engineer is responsible for obtaining data needed for a particular project, seeing that it is reliable for use, and creating and maintaining systems for implementation. Efforts by data engineers are used to power mobile apps, online services, and more.

How much money does a data engineer earn?

The latest reported average annual salary for data engineers is $109,675.

What are some important data engineer skills?

Adaptability, project management and critical thinking are three of the top skills that data engineers should possess. This is based on the need to oversee projects from conception to completion, within a field that is constantly changing with new technology.

How do I become a strong data engineer job candidate?

Developing a strong skill set through a certificate program will prove to potential employers that you are dedicated to learning. For working data engineers, USD offers an online certificate program.

Curriculum covered in this article

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Engineering Programs
2 Units
Online Fixed-Date

Business Programs – 25% Off May Sale

Valid May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Some restrictions apply.  Offer valid only during sale dates. Not all courses apply.
**Only one discount can be applied per course.**

Business
Engineering Programs
2 Units
Online Fixed-Date

Business Programs – 25% Off May Sale

Valid May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Some restrictions apply.  Offer valid only during sale dates. Not all courses apply.
**Only one discount can be applied per course.**

Business
Engineering Programs
2 Units
Online Fixed-Date
Business
Engineering Programs
3 Units
Online Fixed-Date

Business Programs – 25% Off May Sale

Valid May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Some restrictions apply.  Offer valid only during sale dates. Not all courses apply.
**Only one discount can be applied per course.**

Business
Engineering Programs
2 Units
Online Fixed-Date

Business Programs – 25% Off May Sale

Valid May 1, 2024 – May 31, 2024

Some restrictions apply.  Offer valid only during sale dates. Not all courses apply.
**Only one discount can be applied per course.**

Business
Engineering Programs
2 Units
Online Fixed-Date

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