Become a Data Engineer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

The demand for computer data and software engineers is high due to the reliance on software for many businesses across the country. These positions are available in many settings across the country, including computer systems design companies, software corporations and computer manufacturing companies.

Should I Become a Data Engineer?

A data engineer, also known as a software engineer, require skills such as implementing, verifying, designing and maintaining software systems, troubleshooting and solving problems, and engineering software and working effectively in teams. Entry-level positions to prepare for a career in data engineering include help desk associates or information technology (IT) assistants. Some positions require a master's degree.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's may be required for some positions
Degree Field Software Engineering
Experience Employers may require relevant work experience, such as computer programmer or software developer
Certification Certification in specific applications and programs useful for job prospects
Salary (2015) $80,442 per year (median salary)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Step 1: Earn a Degree

A software engineer is a highly specialized position that typically requires postsecondary training or a degree. According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in software engineering or a related field is usually the minimum educational requirement for software or data engineering positions (

Prospective students typically need at least a high school diploma or GED in order to be admitted to these postsecondary programs. Typical required courses include software design, software architecture, data structures, computer programming, mathematics and database management.

Step 2: Obtain Relevant Career Experience

Employers may also require that their data or software engineers have relevant work experience. Related positions might include computer programmer, software developer or IT consultant. Similarly, entry-level positions such as help desk associate or IT assistant provide experience into the field for those willing to work their way to a data engineer position. With proven skills and experience, data or software engineers may also be promoted to positions such as project manager or systems designer.

Step 3: Pursue Industry Certification and Continuing Education

The field of information technology constantly yields new advancements, so those interested in pursuing a career in this industry must understand that they need to continue their educations throughout their career in order to stay well versed. Certification in vendor-specific applications and programs can increase marketability to employers. Also, a master's degree in computer science, computer engineering or a related field may also be necessary for some computer data and software engineering positions.

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