What does a Data Engineer do ?


A data engineer works on large amounts of data collected by companies, especially on social networks and e-commerce websites. This raw data can be related to customers, products or company performance, and is often hard to manage or analyse. Indeed, finding your way in this goldmine of information is no easy feat! The data engineer's mission is to develop tools to make use of this data, in a strategic way for the company. This requires technical expertise and specific skills. Hence, data engineer is a highly sought-after job! To learn more about this job, you’re on the right page.

1. What is a data engineer?

The name can seem a bit abstract, and yet the job is very concrete and technical. A Data Engineer builds or maintains data management systems, such as databases or data pipelines. These resources allow a company to access, store and process data in an effective way, in order to make decisions and exploit the company's activities.

2. What are the responsibilities of a data engineer?

A data engineer is an expert in data exploitation. A data engineer is notably responsible for: :

  • Designing platforms for processing a significant amount of data;

  • Building large databases;

  • Developing analysis and technology intelligence tools.

As such, a data engineer is responsible for the data processing tools.

3. What are the skills of a data engineer?

A data engineer must master one or more programming languages (PHP, SQL, Java, Python...), with or without framework or CMS. He/she must also know how to manage databases and flows.

  1. Proficiency in several programming languages and databases: a data engineer must be able to work in several programming languages and to manipulate databases in an effective way;

  2. Proficiency in several databases management tools, such as relational databases and NoSQL;/li>
  3. Good mathematic and statistics skills: in-depth mathematics and statistics knowledge, essential to understand how to process and analyse data.;

  4. Good understanding of data management processes, such as data normalisation and modelling, as well as data security principles and confidentiality.

4. What are the Soft Skills of a Data Engineer

  1. Teamwork: a data engineer must be able to work in a team and to communicate clearly with the other members of the data team;

  2. Fast learning: a data engineer must be able to adapt quickly to new technologies and changes in work environment;

  3. Good analytical mind and problem-solving: a data engineer must be able to quickly identify and solve technical problems that can occur during data processing;

  4. Project management skills: a data engineer must be able to manage data engineering projects in an effective, organised and structured way.

5. What training is required to become a data engineer?

A postgraduate degree in engineering, like a master’s degree, allows a data engineer to try his/her hand at initial experiences, such as an internship or an apprenticeship. A data engineer can also follow specialised training courses.

6. What career paths for a data engineer?

Data is essential to better control a company's market and the behaviour of its targets, so a data engineer can be hired in all sectors. Hence a data engineer's employers can range from startups to banks, including service providers, pure players, SMEs... In short, Data Engineer is a highly sought-after job! You can notably check out our Societe Generale offers. Après quoi, le Data Engineer peut monter en compétence, et devenir Tech Lead ou Big Data Architect. Ou bien, il peut ajouter un aspect managérial à son portefeuille et passer Chief Data Officer.

7. What is the work environment of a data engineer?

A data engineer is located at the root of the data processing chain. Data engineers work hand in hand with data scientists and data analysts to ensure data is usable for analyse and decision-making. Let's review the differences between what a data engineer, a data scientist, and a data analyst do:

  1. The Data Engineer prepares the data: he/she develops, builds, tests and maintains the data processing architecture;

  2. The Data Scientist uses the Data the data engineer prepared: he/she interprets and analyses it by building a statistic learning model;

  3. The data analyst uses the information that came out of this data: he/she helps companies to make strategic and operational decisions.

8. What is the salary of a Data Engineer?

As you can see, data engineer is a highly sought-after job. The job is rather new, but the opportunities are numerous, and it is a well-paying career from the very start. However, like all jobs, the salary depends on experience, the company, the responsibilities and the geographical area.

  • The salary of a Junior Data Engineer: €35K
  • The salary of an Experienced Data Engineer: €50K
  • The salary of a Senior Data Engineer: €60-70K

The adventure has just begun

At Societe Generale, we make sure that you can develop your career based on your ambition and abilities. After a position as a developer, you will have access to new opportunities such as: