Home » A Guide to Start a Career as A Big Data Engineer

A Guide to Start a Career as A Big Data Engineer

Veronica May 7, 2023

BigDataScalability.com – A big data engineer can be one prospective career choice in the future if you are interested in numbers, graphs, data, analytics, and IT. Although it is now less popular than data scientists and data analysts, this position is irreplaceable in the data economy.

Data engineers focus on making data accessible to various users. It enables organizations to use those reliable data for different purposes. To have this career position, you need to have education and experience related to the field.

Working with other professionals in data-related roles also helps you to get a certificate. Hence, you can work in this position professionally.

6 Critical Aspects of Being a Big Data Engineer

Here are critical aspects that you should know about a data engineer. It helps you to get a better idea about this career and consider whether it is right for you. You can discover what data engineers are, what they do, their job opportunities, and how to become a big data engineer.

1. What Are Big Data Engineers?


Big data engineers are professionals who work by developing, maintaining, examining, analyzing, and evaluating big data from various sources. Data engineering skill has a vital role in tech-driven organizations. Their main goal is to save, store, and distribute reliable data across an organization.

Big data denotes massive and complex data sets. Collecting large volumes of data is a common task for companies from different sources. It is because companies need big data to conduct business operations. Effective use of big data helps organizations to increase profitability and improve efficiency.

It also can enhance the scalability of the organizations. However, big data will not serve its powerful effects if no professional works with it. Organizations need a skillful person that can help building a system by containing, maintaining, and extracting data.

A big data engineer has an ultimate responsibility to help organizations manage their big data. Without this position, no bridge connects big data and suitable databases. It is an ability that a data engineer has to unlock the hidden potential or hidden pattern brought by big data.

2. Big Data Engineers’ Function


Although they have similar work with big data, there are differences between data engineers and other data-related roles. The primary function of this role is managing and maintaining big data infrastructures.

The tasks include collecting, storing, processing, and distributing reliable data across organizations or companies. There is a powerful development aspect to be big data engineers.

Hence, it is common to see data engineers begin their careers in related roles such as software developers. They choose positions that require specific skills on what this job implicates.

3. Responsibilities of Big Data Engineers


As you know the standard tasks of a big data engineer, you are probably curious about how their daily job looks like. To give you more understanding, here are several responsibilities in big data engineering.

  • Designing, creating, and managing Extract Transform Load operations and channels for various data sources.
  • Optimize and improve previous data quality and data control processes to boost stability and performance.
  • Create and implement software systems for more effective data collecting and processing.
  • Manage, maintain, and improve prior data warehouse and data solutions by maximizing programming languages and tools.
  • Build modified tools and algorithms for data science and data analytics work.
  • Design data architectures to meet business requirements.
  • Work together with software developers and business intelligence teams to propose strategic objectives for data models.
  • Collaborate with advanced IT team to manage bigger infrastructures.
  • Explore new data-related technology and methods of collecting valuable data to improve the capacity of organizations and maintain competitive work.

4. Required Skills for Big Data Engineers


To work as a big data engineer professionally, you should have the following skills.

  • You have a computer science degree or other data-related degrees.
  • You have a strong technical background. It includes adequate knowledge in many programming languages and passion for code writing.
  • You own a good understanding of data-related tasks such as data streaming, data replication, data integration, virtualization, and so forth.
  • You experience working in data management or software management positions.
  • You have practical experience in using programming languages like Python and SQL. You must understand big data technologies such as the Apache Stack.
  • You experience working with interactive database management systems like MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Big data engineer commonly has natural skills such as critical thinking and problem solving to help them complete the tasks. However, more practical skills like programming languages and different technologies are learnable. 

Hence, if you want to start a career in data engineering but have no experience in those required skills, then challenge yourself to learn them. You can begin by choosing one skill that you want to master and familiarize yourself with that skill through learning.

5. How Much Is Big Data Engineer’s Salary?


Before achieving a specific career position, people like to consider its salary. Similarly, many people wonder about the earning of becoming data engineers. Various factors affect on how much data engineers can get such as work experience, geographic location, and job title.

Even the company where they work also affects the total salary they earn. For instance, when looking at numerous salary comparison sites, the average earning received by big data engineers in the United States is around $108K per year. However, the amount can vary from one state to another.

It is because there are also states that pay big data engineers around $131K per year. The real amount still can increase such as when it includes bonus and geographic weighting. That is a reason why a big data engineer who works in Europe can earn a higher amount of salary.

When compared to other data-related roles, there are no significant differences in salary estimation. It is because the average amount of salary for data analysts in the United States is $77K. Meanwhile, data scientists in the United States can produce the average amount of $132K.

6. How to Get Started to Be Big Data Engineers


You have understood what big data engineers do along with their responsibilities. You also understand their required skills and the amount of salary they could earn. However, you might be wondering how to become one. These are several things that you can do to work in this field.

1. Have a relevant degree

If you want to start your career as a big data engineer, you need to master the required skills. It means that you should have a related education. People will see you as highly qualified people if you own a degree in a data-related field.

Companies also will be more convinced if you have a related educational background. People who work as big data engineers usually have bachelor’s, master’s, or higher degrees in a related field.

For instance, they may get a degree in computer science, data analytics, physics, software engineering, applied math, or statistics. It is because this position needs to master data, statistics, and coding. Numerous companies minimally recruit people with bachelor’s degrees to work as big data engineers.

The higher your degree is, the bigger opportunity for you to get accepted. It means that you want to work in this position seriously.

2. Consider certifications

Having a related degree is not enough, you can be more qualified by considering joining certified courses. Getting professional certifications is beneficial to secure your position. Besides, it helps you learning relevant skills and later apply them in your working area.

There are various courses with related areas of work like machine learning, cloud computing, data analytics, and software development that you can choose from. By getting certifications in those working areas, it will be easier for you to convince people about your quality of work.

You will get more recognition as a qualified big data engineer with the proofs from certifications you have obtained.

3. Get work experience

To get a job as a big data engineer, you commonly need to have some previous work experience. Having experience in a related field is a key asset to obtaining a job. You can start by practicing the skills independently and start to join some internships in the associated field.

After getting experience through internships, you can try freelancing jobs. As you get used to the tasks, you can improve the work responsibilities by starting to officially work in data-related field. There are various positions you can try such as data analyst or software developer.

The more experience you have, the better your chances to get a job as a big data engineer. Besides, having many experiences in the associated field can make your portfolio more convincing.

4. Get used to databases

Databases are a fundamental thing when it comes to big data architectures. Along with learning the theory about it, you have to practice using it. You start by familiarizing yourself with big data tools such as SQL and Python. You can start working with database management systems too such as MySQL.

5. Develop some related skills

As a big data engineer, there are numerous tools that you can use to support your work. Although you do not need to master all of the skills, learning about them will help you understand more about your work. When you learn them, at least you will know how to use each tool in your working area properly.

You will have an idea of how the tool interacts with each other. Improving yourself with broader skills allows people to see your exceptional quality. It means you are passionate and deserve for this position.

Sometimes you can get new jobs when improving yourself with the required skills. It proves the broader skills you have mastered, the bigger network you can build.

6. Open yourself to job opportunities

Frequently, a person who works as a big data engineer starts their career from different roles in a related field. They might work as data analysts, data professionals, software developers, or rely on an academic route. When you are still early in career, you need to open yourself to various job opportunities.

As long as they are still in the related field, it is beneficial to help yourself grow. There are various jobs associated with data engineering. Working on those positions for several years will bring you to your dream career as a big data engineer.

Although data engineering is currently as not as popular as other data-related roles, it can be a prospective job and highly rewarding in the future. Over time, people will start to notice the importance of a big data engineer role as big data keep expanding from year to year.

If you consider this position for your career in the future, it is important to prepare yourself by learning the required skills and getting a related education degree. Enrich yourself with experience in the data field and try to work on some projects. It helps you to earn a better living from this position.

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