Top Skills You Need For Data Engineering

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*None of the below companies are sponsors or in any way affiliated with PathMatch. All information in this article is based on the individual opinions of and research conducted by our writer(s).*

By Lexie Brada

Before we get into any of the skills you need for these jobs, we need to talk about a pair of terms that you’ll hear very often in this article and in the hiring world, and if you don’t already know, make it a goal to add them to your vocabulary:

Hard Skills and Soft Skills.

A ‘hard skill’ vs a ‘soft skill’ is not talking about the theoretical difficultness of mastering these skills. Some hard skills can be very easy to learn and some soft skills can be incredibly difficult to master.

Rather, when one talks about ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’, they’re comparing the way you learn these skills, or how you get the knowledge.

Still confused? No worries, let’s break it down.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are the qualifications on your resume that get your foot in the door. You can’t be born with a hard skill. Instead, hard skills are learned, either through work, education, or other training. Hard skills are also measurable. In fact, some interview processes can include testing of these skills, such as Excel or coding, so Hiring Managers can get a quantifiable evaluation of your skills.

The hard skills you’ll need are going to be specific toward your career field, since these skills encompass what you’ll be using in your day-to-day.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are the skills that are much harder to define and harder to teach, but they are just as important in your career. If hard skills are what you’ll do, soft skills define how and how well you’ll do it. For example, say you’re highly skilled in Tableau, a data visualization tool used to present data and finding through visual representation. In order to best present insights to stakeholders and other teams, you will also need strong communication and storytelling skills.

The average person spends around 90,000 hours at their job, so you’ll be around your coworkers more than family. Having great soft skills not only makes you better at your job, but it also makes you an enjoyable person to work with, which means people will want to work with you and see you succeed. In fact, a LinkedIn survey shows that 57% of employers value soft skills over hard ones.

Another reason soft skills are valued is that they transfer easily from job to job. Companies may use a different development stack, a new mailing service, or even a different project management system, but being able to communicate and adapt under pressure will start adding value on day one.

Now that we know what a ‘hard skill’ and a ‘soft skill’ is, let’s take a look at what the job itself entails, which of these skills you’ll need, and some places to gain these skills.

Data Engineer

A Day in the Life

Businesses are hungrier than ever to hire Data Engineers. Between mid-2019 and mid-2020 demand for Data Engineers grew by 45% and this growth is just the beginning.

Why? Because there's more data created daily than ever before. Data is powerful, but only if you can do something with it. Data Engineers create the data pipelines so Data Scientists can pull valuable insights from the data. Your work drives key product and business decisions.

Work Responsibilities

  • Design, develop and operate high-performance, large-volume data structures for data-powered products and data science
  • Implement efficient, distributed, and scalable pipelines and integrate data from multiple sources to common data models
  • Collaborate with Product Managers, Software Engineers, and Data Scientists
  • Implement design patterns that support data ingestion, data movement, transformation, aggregation, and much more
  • Build and automate Machine Learning workflows for experimentation tracking, model performance, and operationalization

Hard Skills

  • Data Modeling
  • Data Warehousing
  • ETL (Extract, Transform, Load)
  • SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • Spark / Databricks/ Hive
  • Python / Scala / Java
  • Kafka
  • Redshift
  • Azure

Soft Skills

  • Communication Skills (Written/Verbal)
  • Adaptability
  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration / Teamwork
  • Presentation Skills

Where to get these hard skills?

Interested in exploring this job, the skills it takes to break into this career, or still looking for that perfect fit in the workforce? Download the Pathmatch app to discover companies that match your interests, strengths, and goals! Pathmatch can help find the perfect career fit for you! 

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