Complete Guide for Switching Your Career in Data Science: Data Engineer


  • Introduction
  • Is a data engineer role a good career option to explore?
  • Who would use a data engineer?
  • Who is a data engineer?
  • What do data engineers do?
  • How much does a data engineer earn?
  • What is the career path of a data engineer?
  • How to become a data engineer?
  • Educational Prerequisites to become a data engineer
  • Skills needed to become a data engineer
  • Technical skills
  • Practical skills
  • Soft skills
  • Demand for data engineers in India
  • Job growth in the data engineering role
  • Which are the industries you must consider as a data engineer?
  • How do I switch my career to a Data Engineer?
  • Where to find data engineer job requirements?
  • Takeaway


If you plan to become a data engineer, start by considering your professional goals. Data engineering is a lucrative career path if you are serious about doing well and succeeding in this role.

Is a data engineer role a good career option to explore?

If you consider becoming a data engineer, there are technical and soft skills that you need to learn, develop, and master.

As a data engineer, it is your job to translate data science and business objectives into technical requirements for software engineers. To do this, you must convey complex needs in a simple way that everyone can understand. This often means developing new ways of communicating with different audiences.

Data engineers need to possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills to find the right technical solutions for all their clients’ needs. They must also communicate with different audiences, such as business stakeholders and software engineers. Understanding the business side of data engineering is very important because, without this understanding, you won’t be able to achieve your goals in this role.

Who would use a data engineer?

Data engineers are not only used by data-driven companies but also business units. Let’s say the marketing department wants to analyse user behaviour on their website. They would need someone who could manage this project from the inception of the idea to its realisation.

If you have an analytical or process-oriented mindset and can work well with people from all different backgrounds, then you may thrive as a data engineer.

Who is a data engineer?

Previously, data engineers were the unsung heroes of big data teams. They typically carried out all computations to prepare raw data for people higher up on the food chain – namely, analysts. However, this may be changing soon as companies become more aware of the benefits of having domain experts at each stage in their analysis processes to improve efficiency and maintain accountability.

What do data engineers do?

Data engineers are in charge of making sure that all raw data is collated, stored, and maintained for future use. That means they have to be experts on the tools used to analyse it, namely Hadoop frameworks MapReduce or Spark. They also know how to process large amounts of data in order for it to be put to use, and the tools needed to store it – such as HDFS, Cassandra, or Amazon S3.

How much does a data engineer earn?

The national average salary for a Data Engineer in India is ₹8,00,000 per annum.

What is the career path of a data engineer?

A data engineer can advance to become a project manager, a senior data analyst, or even a lead data scientist.

Data engineers are employed by companies that deal with analytics on a day-to-day basis: such as banks, insurance companies, and tech giants. They also land jobs in government as well as in the public sector.

Data scientists need a broad set of skills and knowledge pertaining to areas such as statistical analysis; machine learning; data management; business knowledge; and advanced mathematics. For example, they might be tasked with designing a model to determine whether a customer is likely to churn.

How do you become a data engineer?

An undergraduate degree in computer science or a related technical discipline from a reputed college is the standard qualification to become a data engineer. However, some employers may prefer candidates who have two-year master’s degrees.

Additional certifications are also highly valuable for these professionals; one of the most in-demand of which is Data Science certification.

If you want to become a data engineer, you should learn programming in the languages of Hadoop and Spark, such as Java, Scala, Python, or R. You must also familiarise yourself with the popular data processing frameworks that are used for computing as well as storage: Hive; Pig; Mahout; Giraph; and Spark.

Data engineers should also have a good understanding of operating systems and distributed platforms such as Ubuntu, Windows, or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

You must constantly stay up-to-date with the latest technology developments to ensure that you are prepared for a career in this field.

Education prerequisites to become a data engineer

A bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, economics, or a related field is highly desirable. To be a data engineer, you need skills in computing programming, software design, statistical modelling and prediction analysis, Python, SQL.

Data engineers must be able to think critically and creatively, work effectively both independently and as part of a team, communicate effectively with colleagues at all levels of an organisation, and have excellent problem-solving skills. They should also be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.

Skills needed to become a data engineer

Here are some of the requirements for becoming a data engineer:

Technical skills

  • Knowledge in Mathematics, data modelling for both data warehousing and Big Data.
  • Experience in Hadoop Stack like HDFS, M/R, Pig, Hive, etc.
  • Can write, analyse, and debug SQL queries.
  • Experience with one scripting language such as Python.

Practical skills

  • Analytical and data visualisation skills (Tableau).
  • Can make informed decisions in the absence of complete data.
  • Can follow through on commitments and make sure others follow suit.
  • Take personal responsibility for decisions, failures, and actions.
  • Can establish clear processes for monitoring work and measuring results.
  • Create feedback loops into work.
  • Impeccable attention to detail.
  • Can think conceptually and critically.

Soft skills

  • Strong communication skills in a variety of communication settings.

The difference between data engineers, data mining engineers, and machine learning engineers

A data engineer develops processes and methods to capture data, clean it, store it, and move it around. They also deal with the logistics of implementing those methods on a massive scale.

A data mining engineer is a specialised data engineer who uses software to build models that help make predictions and identify trends. A machine learning engineer builds systems that learn from example data and improve their performance automatically over time without the need for human intervention.

Demand for data engineers in India

The demand for data engineers is snowballing as business units analyse vast volumes of data and derive valuable insights from it.

The number of companies using data engineers is also growing in India rapidly, as businesses increasingly realise the value of their data. Don’t wait any longer; start your career as a data engineer today.

Job growth in the data engineering role

Data Engineer and Data Scientist were the fastest-growing occupations in 2019, growing by 50 per cent, according to DICE’s 2020 Tech Job Report. (Source)

Data engineers are in demand, and the career outlook looks great. Now is the time to start learning about this role and see if it’s right for you.

Which are the industries you must consider as a data engineer?

Data is essential for the development of any industry. As data engineers, you can play a crucial role in developing companies with enormous volumes of data.

Companies that handle vast amounts of structured and unstructured data would also benefit from having highly skilled data engineers on their teams. A few examples include financial services, e-commerce, healthcare, and telecommunications.

How do I switch my career to a Data Engineer?

If you’re wondering how to switch careers and become a data engineer, consider these four steps:

  1. Get your basics right: If you’re looking to switch careers and become a data engineer, you must have the required skills to succeed in this role. Acquiring these skills may take some time, but getting the basics right first is important. Start by learning about data engineering and data science before switching careers.
  2. Develop the skills you need: As a data engineer, you should know programming languages such as Python and R. You must also do data modelling, analytics, and visualisation.
  3. Get the proper certification: Data engineers who want to command a higher salary require a recognised certification in Data Science. RISE WPU offers India’s most innovative, industry-led and affordable PG certification in Data Science. The course covers a wide range of different programming languages and tools, such as Python, Hadoop, SQL, Tableau etc. The certification will help you land better jobs and command more money.
  4. Network with data professionals: One of the best ways to learn about the data engineering role is by networking with people who have already succeeded in this role. Join a professional group of data engineers and attend their events, where you will get to meet professionals from various companies.

Where to find data engineer job requirements?

While you’re building your skills, keep an eye on the Indian job market for any suitable vacancies. Use popular job portals such as Naukri, Monster or Shine to find job postings for data engineers. You can visit company websites that are working in your chosen industry.


Best certifications for data engineering jobs Indian data professionals who want to increase their chances of landing a good job must aim for certifications recognised by top companies globally. RISE WPU provides relevant and globally accepted certifications to help professionals get jobs in the best companies. We offer specialised professional online certification courses, and our training is highly practical, so you can easily apply your learning to real-world tasks. Our instructors offer individual mentorship and support.

To learn more about data engineer career options, job profiles and salary packages, speak to one of our counsellors today.


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