Here at Agile Recruit, we refer to data engineers as the construction workers of data.  After all, they are the ones that lay the foundation on which business can build their data collection, gathering and storage strategy, and they also make sure that the data collected is usable.  They are also responsible for making sure that the data is cleaned up and analysed at every stage of the data pipeline – so that it is ready for the other data professionals on their team to be able to use it for their Machine Learning models and for any reports they need to run.

Why is data analytics so important this year?

We don’t have to tell you that this year has been a funny one for businesses worldwide, with the COVID-19 pandemic having a great impact. However, as the world is slowly returning to normal, and businesses are finding their feet again – whether by staying working remotely or reopening as they were before – the demand for data engineers seems to be higher than ever.  Data engineers are needed to lay the groundwork for businesses to succeed in today’s environment – whether through data modelling, machine learning or computer applications. The world has moved even more online since March this year, so data is the driving force behind everything.

If you want your business to succeed in 2020 and move forward, having a data team with a robust data plan aligned with your business strategy is essential. Getting ahead of the curve is a surefire way to beat your competition by making better business decisions, leading to increased customer engagement and improved customer retention.

Data Scientists will be the first to tell you that they couldn’t do their job without Data Engineers. Data Engineers are the people who create reliable and efficient data systems because they understand the amount of data required, the speed at which it needs to be collected, and the wide variety of data needed as well. So it should be no surprise that Data Engineers are in high demand at the moment, although there seems to be a shortage of them – as with other data professionals.

This shortage has led many professionals from other backgrounds to retrain to become Data Engineers to fill the shortage. Whether they have planned to or are forced to, as it is a business necessity, they can then manage the data pipeline, automate projects, and help guide them through to the end.

What career opportunities are there within Data Engineering?

As the demand for data continues to grow, it has created more and more opportunities for those who perhaps haven’t gone down the traditional study route for data engineering.  While some people may have a software engineering or other IT-related study behind them – many businesses are choosing to upskill other existing employees who they think have the talent to succeed in the data engineering role.

However, there is still a shortage of talent needed to fill the existing gaps – and this gap must be filled for businesses to succeed. It is interesting to note that in LinkedIn’s “Emerging Jobs Report” for the United States in 2020, both data and artificial intelligence continued to make a “strong showing”  with “data science booming and starting to replace legacy roles.” They also say that among the top 15 emerging jobs in the US are: “Artificial Intelligence Specialist, Robotics Engineer, Data Scientist, Full Stack Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer, Data Engineer, Cybersecurity Specialist, Back End Developer, Cloud Engineer, and JavaScript Developer.”

What should you do if you want to become a data engineer?

Having a foundation understanding of maths, computer science, or other business-related degree is always a good start, and from there, you should look at:

  • Popular programming languages such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Hadoop, Spark and SQL
  • Investing in further education and professional development to keep developing your skills and making sure they are up to date
  • Getting an entry-level role so that you can build up your knowledge on the job

The more hands-on experience you can get as a data engineer, the better, especially if it is coupled with academic achievements.

If you are looking for your next data opportunity or want to fill a gap within your existing team, look at our current jobs or get in touch with one of our expert data recruitment consultants to find out how we can help.

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