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Data Engineer - data engineering - data engineering career path

Why the Data Engineering Career Path Is Thriving

Working in the field of big data is a smart career move. Over the last five years, job openings for data engineers have grown by 30%, which is significantly higher than average job growth in the US. Plus, data engineers make over $110,000 a year according to Glassdoor

While the job growth and salary are incredibly appealing, it’s a good idea to know what to expect from a career before diving in. 

Here’s what you need to know about this role to get started on your data engineering career path. 

A Data Engineer‘s Skillset

Data engineers are engineers at heart, which means they should have strong programming skills and a solid understanding of distributed systems. The role of a data engineer involves building data pipelines and working closely with data analysts and data scientists to help them complete their projects. 

To excel as a data engineer, it’s important to know how to build complex database queries with SQL and NoSQL, and have experience with big data software (like Hadoop). You’ll also need to know how to program in at least one scripting language, like Python or Scala. 

Additionally, having experience in security and scalability will help a data engineer stand out as a candidate.

Daily Work As a Data Engineer

A day in the life of a data engineer is similar to a day in the life of any other kind of software engineer. The daily work involves building out features, solving bugs and connecting systems together to form data pipelines. 

Data engineers often work with a project manager and other data professionals, like  data analysts or data scientists. In your data engineering career path, you’ll also work  with a DevOps engineer or Cloud engineer who specialize in cloud technology and infrastructure.

Career Possibilities For a Data Engineer

The typical data engineering career path is not unlike the path for other kinds of software engineers. Depending on prior engineering experience, a new data engineer might work as a regular software engineer, a data engineering intern or possibly even a data analyst

From there, the path is straightforward, going from entry-level data engineer, to senior-level data engineer, to lead data engineer, and even executive roles like head of data engineer or chief data officer.

The roles available will depend on the size of the organization, as smaller companies might have their data department fall under an engineering umbrella.

Your Path to Data Engineering

It’s never been easier to learn how to become a data engineer. Simply sign up for Udacity’s Data Engineering Nanodegree program and you’ll be ready to build big data pipelines in less than six months.

Interested in data engineering using Microsoft Azure? Keep an eye out for the Data Engineering Using Microsoft Azure Nanodegree launch coming up this week.

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Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer is a content writer at Udacity with over 10 years of content creation and marketing communications experience in the tech, e-commerce and online learning spaces. When she’s not working to inform, engage and inspire readers, she’s probably drinking too many lattes and scouring fashion blogs.