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Forage: What Is a Data Engineer?

February 15, 2023

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A data engineer is a technology professional who builds storage solutions for vast amounts of data. These engineers are also responsible for creating the pipeline this data travels through: from input, to storage, to transformation into usable information. The need for reliable data storage and transformation is growing daily, so data engineers are becoming vital in many industries.

What Does a Data Engineer Do? Many tasks can fall under the responsibility of a data engineer, but the job centers around the issue of how we acquire, store, and use data. Dushyant Sengar, director of data science at BDO USA, describes the three primary duties of a data engineer:

  • Designing and building data warehouses, databases, or data lakes
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting ETL (extract, transform, load) pipelines
  • Database administrative tasks to manage workloads, optimization, and scaling of the data storage

A data engineer needs to build a warehouse to store data. But they also need to put in place a system where data can travel easily from the capture point (user input on a website form, for example) to the warehouse and then through transformation processes to become useful information. Once the data is usable, data scientists and analysts can use it for research, decision-making, and development.

“As more and more companies look to use their data to give them a competitive advantage, they need experts in building scalable pipelines that can manage that data and ensure that it is of high quality,” says David Scroggins, director of software engineering for 84.51°.

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