Do you want to learn how to become a data engineer?

A Data Engineer is one of the many professions that emerged from the rise of Big Data and that is currently in high demand. In this article, we’ll explain what the role consists of, as well as detailing what skills you need to become one and how to go about acquiring these skills.


What is a data engineer?


A data engineer is the professional in charge of the acquisition, storage, transformation, and management of data in an organization. This specialist handles the configuration of the technological infrastructure to ensure that large volumes of unstructured data can become accessible raw material for other Big Data specialists, such as data analysts and data scientists.

Data engineers work to design, create, and maintain the architecture of databases and processing systems, so that the subsequent work of exploitation, analysis, and interpretation of the information can be carried out without incidents, in a safe and efficient way.


What does a data engineer do in their day-to-day?


The day-to-day work of an IT engineer consists, fundamentally, in ETL processes (Extract, Transform, Load), that is, developing data extraction, transformation and loading tasks, moving data between different environments and filtering it so that it arrives to the analysts and data scientists in a normalized and structured manner.


1. Extraction


In the first stage of the ETL process, the data engineer is in charge of taking the records from different locations, as well as studying the incorporation of new sources into the company's Big Data flow. This data is presented in different formats, integrating very diverse variables, and will go to a repository where this information will be stored raw, available for any future use.


2. Transformation


In the second step, the data engineer coordinates the cleaning of the data, eliminating duplicates, correcting errors, and disposing of useless material. The engineer also elaborates and classifies data in this step to turn it into a homogeneous set.


3. Loading


Finally, the data engineer leads the load of data to its destination, whether this is a database located on a company's own server, or a data warehouse in the cloud. In addition to the correct export, one of the usual concerns in this final stage is security, since the data engineer has to guarantee that the information is kept safe from cyberattacks and unauthorized access.


How much do data engineers earn?


LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report places this career choice among the 15 most prominent emerging occupations of the last five years, along with such important professions as Artificial Intelligence expert, data scientist, and Site Reliability Engineer.

In this list, data engineers are in eighth position, with LinkedIn finding that hiring for this role has grown by 35% between 2015 and 2019.

At the time of writing this article, Glassdoor estimated the average base pay for data engineers at $102,864 annually. This figure is based on earnings reported by thousands of companies.


How to become a data engineer?


The number of certifications within data science is quickly increasing. However, the following certifications are the most valued.


Our top 4 data engineer certifications:


1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals: This Microsoft certification is perfect to start your career in data science. You will learn the fundamentals of database concepts in a cloud environment, gain basic skills in cloud data services, and develop your fundamental knowledge of cloud data services within Microsoft Azure. Prepare for the Microsoft DP-900 exam with the official practice test!


2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate: This certification validates your ability to integrate, transform, and consolidate data from multiple systems into structures suitable for creating analytics solutions. Certification is earned by passing the newly available DP-203 exam: Data Engineering in Microsoft Azure, which you can prepare with the official Microsoft Practice Test.


3. CCNP Data Center certification: Achieving CCNP Data Center certification proves your skills with data center solutions. To earn CCNP Data Center certification, you pass two exams: one that covers core data center technologies (350-601 DCCOR) and one data center concentration exam of your choice, so you can customize your certification to your technical area of focus.


4. Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate: Although this certification is more related to Data Analysts, it is very interesting for any professional in the world of data science. This certification enables Data Analysts to attain good quality in their data assets with the assistance of Microsoft Power BI. You can prepare for the Microsoft DA-100 exam with the Microsoft official practice test.


The expert's opinion


“Certainly, the MUP exams are one of the most helpful resources for engineers to understand all the topics related to the official exam and prepare the engineer to work as a specialist in any data center network environment.

In the market, there are many data center certifications related to facilities, but Cisco is the most advanced and famous certification that is related to high-tier data center network and system engineering. Any data center network expert must have the capability to design, install, implement, operate, and maintain Cisco DC technologies to increase her/his opportunities to find a decent work environment and high salary.”

Sam Zein, IT Trainer and Network Solution Architect