The State of Data Engineering in 2021

Data is everything for modern technologies, as well as for business – the right usage of data and its analysis is crucial for their success.

Data engineers are the creators and builders of data. So, what does a data engineer actually do? Well, for data – everything. They design the necessary mechanisms to collect data. Gathering the data, storing it, and making it usable is also only available because of their work.

Although data engineering methods themselves have a mathematical basis and are not new, they became widespread only when cheap tools for calculations appeared. Can you imagine a grocery chain analyzing hundreds of billions of lines in receipts 40 years ago? No. Can you imagine someone analyzing millions of blood tests or X-rays and then finding dependencies in the results? No. This was technically impossible. And now, it is quite real.

That’s why data engineers are among the most in-demand professionals right now. Every big company wants to improve their sales. Data is crucial if you want to improve the knowledge of your client, their interests, and behavior patterns.

If you are opting to try to work in this field, then you shouldn’t hesitate. Data engineering and data science are the future developing right in front of us.

You can say that you are not particularly interested in working in tech or IT, but the thing is that you don’t have to – there are plenty of other industries for data engineers.

 

FIELDS OF WORK

The best part of data engineering is that your skills can be transferable to lots of fields. For example, if you enjoy biology, you may love collecting data for significant biotech projects. Neurosciences, genetics, robotics – all that and much more. You can apply data analysis to every project and instantly make it more successful.

And the most exciting thing is that you can never predict the result of your work. A simple analysis of the frequency of using a certain product can make a huge impact on a whole marketing strategy. You as an engineer are able to directly influence the future.

 

WHAT DOES A DATA ENGINEER DO?

This question about the role of a person in the position may still be confusing.

A data engineer works precisely with the data infrastructure: databases, storage, and processing systems. The data engineer determines how to analyze the data so that it is useful to the project. To summarize, a data engineer is a person setting up a data processing pipeline.

And all of this data ends up in the pipeline warehouse. A warehouse can have one or more pipelines. A pipeline is a logical grouping of activities that work together to perform a specific set of tasks. For example, a pipeline might contain a set of actions that can insert and flush log data. After this, it can then start mapping a data stream to parse the log data. The pipeline allows you to manage the actions in a set, rather than each one individually.

Your goal in the short term is to build the pipelines and to keep operating the warehouses.

 

SKILLS NEEDED

What do you need to become a data engineer? Are there any special data engineering tools? We identified a set of skills that employers seek in a potential data engineer. Pay attention to them if you want to get a job.

Hard skills

  1. Python with Pandas and NumPy data analysis libraries. This is must-have knowledge (at least at a basic level) and is required by 83% of companies in the industry. Only 17% of employers need knowledge of R, JavaScript, and other programming languages.
  2. SQL – almost all job descriptions list knowledge of SQL and relational database skills. Most often, they want to see the ability to write queries and optimize them.
  3. Data visualization systems – for example, Power BI, Qlik, or Tableau. It is usually not that important what system you use, although the knowledge of at least one is crucial.
  4. Understanding of the modern cloud data analytics stack. This working industry is evolving quite fast.
  5. Experience with flexible methodologies for creating products. It is not a crucial point, but this skill could be beneficial.
  6. Excel and Google Sheets. Also, not a widely required skill – only a third of companies want it to be present.

Soft skills

In general, they are practically the same for all the tech specialists:

  • critical thinking
  • analytical mind
  • ability to state and convey correct information
  • responsibility and attention to detail
  • willingness to make decisions and take responsibility for the result
  • multitasking
  • sense of humor

 

JOBS MARKET

2021 is truly the year of data engineers. Demand for data engineers has been continuously growing for the past four years, and it is not going to stop in the future. According to Akveo, the data engineering field is the most rapidly growing one.

Companies are starting to invest more in data analytics. Everyone realizes that without collecting data about the world right now, it is not possible to build any future, whether for society as a whole or for a particular company.

Data engineers are in demand in any medium or large business, especially in projects that relate to digital and IT. Fintech banks, digital agencies, food companies, or consulting projects are all included.

There are representatives of business in almost all spheres among data engineering job offers. That’s why investing in your skills right now can make such a huge impact on your future.

Also, a data engineer can later grow into a product, marketing, or business analyst. That is an impressive step to take responsibility for the development of a specific product or project. Similarly, an opportunity to make strategic business decisions could develop, where you can back up your opinions with analytical data.

And data engineers can shift completely into development with Python. However, a relatively small number of specialists choose this option.

As we can clearly see, the state of data engineering in 2021 is quite stable and positive. We are sure that this field will only continue growing and working for our future.

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Written by Anna Logosh

January 11, 2021

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