How to Become a Data Engineer? only In 3-Simple Steps

What is the building block of every operation out there? It is data and information. 📑 If you have data, you have information about everything that is happening. 

Data engineers are people who work with such data and make systems that make it easier for us to manage it properly. They are hard-working individuals who earn up to $123,372 per year. 💰

If you want to become a data engineer yourself, you might have a lot of questions regarding the job and the process. ❓ This article is like an answer guide to all of those questions. Retail the end, and you will understand for sure. 

Question and Answer 

If you have any doubts about becoming a data engineer, then I am here to help you out.

You might be thinking it’s a very complicated process, but no. You need to answer some very simple questions.

  • Do you have the required skills and knowledge? 
  • Are you ready to keep on learning throughout your life? 
  • Are you ready to work with data tools and technologies? 
  • Are you a team player?
  • Do you have any specific data engineering interests? 
  • Have you thought properly about the work environment?

Step 1: Knowledge

Who is a Data Engineer?

Data engineers are people who work hard to learn specific skills that are going to help them build systems that will collect and convert raw data into a more usable form of information. 📊

This information is then sent to a data scientist or analyst to interpret. This is the very basic difference between a data engineer, a data scientist, and a data analyst. 

If you become a data engineer, there will be a list of things that you will have to do. Your responsibilities include the development of data systems, implementation of new systems, making and testing database systems, making algorithms to implement these, and creating new methods and tools for analysis.

All of these responsibilities can be a lot, which makes you understand how hard it can be to pursue a career in data engineering. It can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. This is because you will have a direct hand in any system or organization’s success, and the pay is also good. 🤑 

Types of Data Engineers 

Data engineers can be of different types depending on the type of work that they do.

Big Data Engineers:

Who they are: Engineers who handle large amounts of data. 

What they do: They use technologies such as Hadoop and Spark to undertake and complete their tasks. 

Cloud Data Engineers:

Who they are: Cloud data engineers work in cloud environments such as good cloud, etc., and focus on data engineering in those. 

What they do: They work using cloud-based Data services and optimize data workflows in cloud environments. 

ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) Engineers:

Who they are: These are data engineers who extract data, transform it into a more suitable format, and then load it into storage systems. 

What they do: They are the ones who take care of date integration and ensure data quality during this process.  

Roles and Responsibility 

A data engineer has a certain set of roles and responsibilities that they take care of while doing their job. 

Data management 

  • What they do: They manage the vast amount of data and compile/sort them out for easier usage. 
  • Why: This is done so that the data is easier to work with and manage. 

Data quality assurance

  • What they do: Assuring that their data and results are of top-notch quality is the second task of their job. 
  • Why: Their work needs to be of good quality, which means that it should be accurate, complete, and competent enough.  

Data documentation

  • What they do: Data is documented thoroughly and properly. 
  • Why: Documentation helps keep track of what has been cleaned, compiled, and sorted. It can also be used for looking and using later on for future purposes. 

Expert Skill Sets to be a Data Engineer 

To be a great data engineer, you have to focus on some very specific skills and need to develop them properly.

  • Programming skills- Keep on practicing your programming skills because being good at these means you are going to get a good job and salary package. 
  • Everything related to data- There are a lot of processes related to data, such as data management, data governance, data quality assurance, etc., full stop. You might want to be good at all of these if you want to have a good career. 
  • Communication- Most of the time, you will be expected to work together with other people as a team, which means that your communication skills should also be good.

How much can a Data Engineer expert earn? 

Data engineers are in demand right now, which means that with a good skill set, you will be able to bag a very good paycheck. There are always some places that earn even more than average if you have experience and proficiency. 🧐

After taking into account around 75,000 salaries, the stats tell us that an average data engineer’s salary in the United States in 2023 is $123,372 per year. This is just the average, and you get this after around 1 or 2 years of experience. 

San Francisco, Washington, and San Jose in the US pay up to $154,571 per year to data engineers. This is a lot, and the top companies hiring right now are MasterCard 💳, Siemens, and The Hartford. 

The hourly rate for an average data engineer is $53.12 per hour. ⌛ 

Scope of Data Engineer

There are currently 93,471 Data Engineers employed in the United States. 49% of them are women, while 50% are men. This is a good statistic, which means that this field is very beneficial for both women and men. This information is provided by Zippia

More surveys and reports published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us that the employment of data engineers is predicted to grow by about 35% from 2022 to 2032. About 17,700 new jobs are created for date analysts every year on average. 

Step 2: Skill 

Top Global Programs

I have tried to compile a list of all of the top schools that offer a data engineering course nowadays. 

You can write down their names if you want and then look up more details later. 👀🖊️

Massachusetts institute of technology

What it provides: It offers a professional certificate course in data engineering, which helps an individual acquire skills and knowledge to pursue this field further.  

What you will learn: It teaches about developing databases using data science, implementation of AI and machine learning algorithms, and management of huge datasets using various methods. 

Stanford University

What it provides: Stanford offers several courses for data engineering, two of which are Big Data: Data Engineering at Scale and CS 102: Working with Data – Tools and Techniques. 📊

What you will learn: It helps to understand how to develop applications using big data ecosystems, which can be further analyzed and manipulated to perform computations with huge amounts of data.

University of California, Berkeley

What it provides: UC Berkeley offers a course named Data Engineering with Google Cloud.

What you will learn: In this course, topics such as implementation of data pipelines, building streaming pipelines using Google Cloud Pub/Sub, and Dataflow, an introduction to data engineering concepts and techniques, including integration, processing, and warehousing of data and how to process big data and quality of data. 

University of Washington

What it provides: Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering programs located at the University of Washington provide courses. 

What you will learn: Their programs focus on concepts such as machine learning, cloud computing, and managing and analysis of data, where the students engage in hands-on training given by faculty consisting of experts in the data engineering field.

Carnegie Mellon University

What it provides: Carnegie Mellon University has a College of Engineering 💻, which is the largest college at CMU, providing courses varying from undergraduate to doctoral level in various disciplines of engineering. 

What you will learn: It offers various programs such as natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, and AI/ML. 

Free Resources 

Google Data Analytics (Using the audit option)

What it offers: Let’s talk about the course Google gives first and foremost, shall we? They have a hands-on practice theme planned in which they are going to teach both theory and practice properly. 🙌

The syllabus is up-to-date and includes all of the topics that a Data Engineer should know as of now. 

What you will learn: You can expect to learn more about topics such as how to make data-driven decisions, R programming, and data visualization. 

Data Analytics short course

What it offers: Five free tutorial courses with Dr. Humera Noor, who is the director of engineering at Eyeo. The course is an ideal introduction to data analytics for beginners. 

What you will learn: The course includes an introduction to the very fundamental concepts, more about tools you can use, and an in-depth summary of the skills required. 

Learn to code for data analysis

What it offers: This course is provided by the open university of the UK and is a solid eight-week coding course to get a head start on coding in this field. You also get a participation certificate at the end.  

What you will learn: You will be taught about basic programming and how to utilize your coding skills in data analysis. 

Step 3: Job

You will have a lot of offline resources to sort out when you start looking for jobs as a Data Engineer. As for online resources, you have three️⃣ main options. 


  • Overview – Turing is made by keeping engineers and other IT jobs in mind, which makes it a very user-friendly interface for these people.  
  • Highlight – You will be able to find several jobs provided by big companies such as Reddit, Dell, and Volvo.
  • Website – Turing


  • Overview – Remotive is also dedicated to helping people find jobs in the IT sector. 
  • Highlight – One step ahead of Turing, and it offers some different features as well, which include job search tips, webinars, and digital nomad visas. All of these are features that are going to help you learn more about the kind of job you want. 
  • Website – Remotive


  • Overview – Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal have become the hubs of freelancing nowadays. They offer to promote the freelancing business of any individual just by creating an account. 
  • Highlight – Freelancing helps you choose your schedule and boundaries, and you can work more independently than people in companies. The pay is also good 💸 and because of all of these benefits, people opt to freelance more nowadays. 
  • Websites – Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal

In conclusion

The work of a data engineer can be both hard and worthwhile. This is because while it is true that you will have to input a lot of time and work into becoming a data engineer, the benefits you will get after becoming one are a lot. ⚖️

So, if the work is too much at times, try to remember why you wanted to become a data engineer in the very first place. This will help motivate you even when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. All the very best! 😀

If you have any more questions, do let me know in the comments below. I will answer them as soon as I can. 

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