What is data engineering and why your company needs a data engineer?

Large amounts of data surround us every day. Their proper use can enable companies to improve many areas of doing business, from personalized marketing campaigns to forecasting business trends. Data analysts are responsible for analyzing these increasingly sophisticated data sets and using them for their purposes. However, for their work to be practical, they need data of adequate quality, ready for use. This task belongs to data engineers.

The IT systems around us are evolving more complex and causing extensive quantities of complex data to analyze. In the case of unicorns (companies worth over a billion dollars, such as Facebook, Google, and Apple), data is the fuel of the entire organization. So naturally, in the structures of such huge enterprises, we find the most data engineers. Nowadays, however, more and more small and medium-sized enterprises are starting to see the positive aspects of using data in running their business. Therefore, employing a data engineer or an appropriate team that will enable the effective use of information has ceased to be the domain of only the most prominent organizations. Before explaining why your company also needs a data engineer, let’s look at what the people in this position do and their roles.

The role of the data engineer

Data engineers build the information infrastructure upon which data science projects are based. We can define people in this position as a combination of a software engineer and Business Intelligence engineer with skills in Big Data, data streaming, and even scaling. These specialists are responsible for designing and managing data flows that integrate information from different sources into a shared pool (for example, a data warehouse). Information can be pulled by scientists and data analysts for further work. Typically, this involves implementing data pipelines based on some form of ETL model (extract, transform, and load).

As companies generate more and more data, the complexity of which grows daily, it must be collected, cleaned, and updated in near real-time. That requires good programming skills. Data engineer obtains good quality and frequently updated datasets. It is essential to distinguish between data pipelines created and purged by data engineers and all others that are primarily exploratory in nature. The task of the data engineer is, therefore, to keep the data sets up-to-date, documented, and of the highest possible quality.

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Services provided by a data engineer

A data engineer provides a core service: automating what scientists or data analysts do manually. Among the numerous responsibilities of data engineers, we can mention a few basic ones.

  • Data Acquisition: data engineers provide high-quality data capture, log loading, data extraction from external sources or APIs.
  • Calculation of metrics: creating a framework to calculate and summarize business metrics related to engagement, growth, or segmentation.
  • Anomaly detection: automating data consumption to alert users to abnormal events or significantly changing trends.
  • Metadata management: data engineers create tools to generate and use metadata to help you find information in and around the data warehouse.
  • Dependencies: configuring specialized pipelines to understand a series of actions over time, enabling analysts to understand user behavior.

The responsibilities listed above are not a complete catalog of all data engineer tasks. But you can certainly see now how specialized this profession is. For this reason, the best data engineers must have highly developed competencies and skills in the field of design concepts using numerous programming languages, database creation, and cloud engineering.

In what situations does your company need a data engineer?

Although the role of a data engineer is becoming crucial for many companies, some firms do not necessarily need to hire this qualified specialist. However, it is worth considering what situations a data engineer is helpful. Perhaps your company belongs to one of the categories of organizations that should use the knowledge and skills of a data engineer to develop. We can identify two main situations leading to the demand for a data engineer.

  • Your company has an entirely web-based and, therefore, data-driven product.
  • Your business has the need or desire to analyze large amounts of data (volume) from any source (diversity) and quickly (speed) to gain insight (value and truthfulness).

Why does your company need a data engineer?

Data engineering reveals trends and generates insights that companies can use to make better decisions and create more innovative products and services. But perhaps most importantly, this science enables machine learning (ML) models to conclude the enormous amounts of data supplied to them, replacing business analysts who would otherwise have to search for various helpful information in the data laboriously. As a result, organizations use data engineering to transform data into a competitive advantage that results from improving products and services. Thanks to data engineering and self-learning, your company can improve the efficiency of many operations: the accuracy of diagnoses, optimize the supply chain, determine the flow of customers, and even improve sales by formulating accurate recommendations for customers based on their previous purchases.

Data is the basis of innovation, but its value comes from the information that data engineers extract from it and the actions that work with that information. Note that data engineers are the makers of data systems, not those who use them to analyze and draw conclusions. That’s why a data engineer works more behind the scenes. However, the cooperation between the engineer and other team members who create business solutions based on this data must be of the highest possible level.

Open your company to new perspectives

Now you know what role a data engineer plays in enterprises and what you can gain by employing such a specialist in your company. The good news is that you don’t need to create a separate position for a new expert on your team right away. There are many data engineering services companies that you can use. You will be sure that your data is in the hands of experienced engineers who will prepare it for further use and thus help develop your business successfully.