How to Become a Big Data Engineer?

Are you thinking of becoming a Big Data Engineer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Big Data Engineer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Big Data Engineer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
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Steps to Become a Data Engineer

Companies of all sizes are competing to hire qualified data engineers. These superstars manage businesses' ever-growing infrastructure needs. Dive into your future career as a data engineer when you follow these steps:

Get job-ready with an industry-driven curriculum.

Whether you have some experience in the data or software engineering fields or not, switching your career path to an in-demand tech role like data engineer may not be a challenging as you might guess. You can get ready for a data engineer job online, in your spare time.

Learn data engineering from an industry expert like The Data Incubator's instructors at Pragmatic Institute. Mentors guide this institution's learning process to help you build your technical skill sets faster. You'll appreciate a focused approach to technologies data-forward companies utilize, like Hadoop and Apache Spark. This successful combination of coursework includes lectures, readings, projects, and other career resources, with classes such as:

  • Database systems (SQL and NoSQL).
  • Data warehousing solutions.
  • Extract, Transfer, Load (ETL) tools.
  • Machine learning.
  • Data APIs.
  • Understanding the basics of distributed systems.
  • Knowledge of algorithms and data structures.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Data Engineer?

82% of people working as a Data Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Data Engineer?

  • Hadoop SPARK
  • Azure Data
  • SQL Server
  • Big Data
  • Python
  • JAVA Scala
  • ETL
  • AWS
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Data Engineer in the United States.

Develop a strong portfolio to attract top employers.

The industry's top employers, like Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo, want you to stun them with your portfolio. So, in addition to small projects designed to demonstrate your grasp of specific technical concepts, your capstone project should showcase your outstanding ability to develop solutions that solve real-world data engineering problems using complex datasets.


Participate in a fellowship program.

An aspiring data engineer may also want to consider a fellowship from an organization like Insight. A fellowship program is ideal for people with a computer science or software engineering background who want to grow in this field.

Designers developed this supplementary education to help you master additional skills. Its mission is to guide you through the process of putting the theoretical knowledge you gained in school into practice. Boost your competitive edge by:

  • Designing more sophisticated data models.
  • Building data infrastructures.
  • Automating data pipelines.
  • Maintaining data architecture.
  • Working with massive datasets effortlessly.

Become a certified data engineer.

If you're looking for ways to ensure your resume leads to an interview, opt for a data engineering certificate. These credentials further demonstrate your knowledge and skills compared to industry-specific benchmarks. Prove to employers that you have what it takes to manage its data, and earn one of these popular certifications:

  • Arcitura Certified Big Data Architect.
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics.
  • Cloudera Certified Associate: Spark and Hardtop Developer.
  • Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification.
  • Cloudera Certified Professional: Data Engineer.
  • Data Science Council of America: Associate Big Data Engineer.
  • Data Science Council of America: Senior Big Data Engineer.
  • Google Professional Data Engineer.
  • IBM Certified Data Engineer.
  • IBM Certified Solution Architect.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate.
  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional.

Big Data Engineer Career Path

Data Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$103K - $152K /yrMost Likely Range
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39% advanced to

Senior Data Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$148K - $214K /yrMost Likely Range
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80% advanced to

Lead Data Engineer

5 - 7Years of Experience
$139K - $206K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Big Data Engineer Career Path

Summer Intern Data Engineer
Data Engineer
Senior Data Engineer
Data Engineer Manager
Lead Data Engineer
Senior Manager of Data Engineering
Principal Data Engineer
Assistant Director of Data Engineering
Senior Principal Data Engineer
Associate Director of Data Engineering
Director of Data Engineering
Senior Director of Data Engineering
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Related Careers in the Engineering Industry

Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Big Data Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Big Data Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Database Developer
0% skills overlap
5% transitioned to Database Developer