Big Data Engineer: Job Description, Salary & Skills

Dec 29, 2017

Individuals interested in creating and implementing software solutions could consider a career as a big data engineer. This article will cover the job duties and outlook for this profession.

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Career Definition of Big Data Engineers

Big data engineers specialize in designing and executing solutions like data sourcing and data provisioning. These engineers gather, store, and evaluate sets of information typically within a full-time office environment. Big data engineers can work for a variety of organizations, such as computer software services firms and health and personal insurance agencies.

Job duties for big data engineers may include creating reusable components utilizing Java or Scala, developing internal work processes, and executing data management systems. Big data engineers often evaluate code and offer recommendations on ways to streamline operations or enhance system performance. These engineers may also provide technical assistance on production issues and sometimes offer training or guidance to junior information technology employees and other personnel.

Big data engineers can be responsible for overseeing several information technology business initiatives. They may analyze other business approaches and provide guidance to organizational management on alternative technical solutions. These engineers can design and implement applications for work environments of varying complexities. They must ensure that all phases of their work, including design, testing, and solutions implementation, are in compliance with organizational protocol.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Excellent technical abilities, strong analytical skills, and effective project management abilities
Median Salary (2017)* $96,649
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 24% (Software Developers)

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Individuals will need a bachelor's degree to work as a big data engineer. A strong background in solutions development experience and distributed computing principles will be beneficial. Interested individuals can seek membership in an industry organization like the Digital Analytics Association. The organization offers members professional development and networking opportunities.

Required Skills

Excellent technical abilities are the most essential skill for big data developers. Applicable knowledge and experience can include the following: Big Data technology like Hive; UNIX scripting; SQL; programming languages like JAVA and Python; and designing distributed computing systems utilizing Hadoop. Big data engineers should have strong analytical skills in order to evaluate an organization's technical needs and design appropriate software solutions. These engineers should also have effective project management abilities in order to successfully oversee all project steps, including application design, writing code, and testing solutions.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect information on big data engineers; however, they estimated a 24% job growth for software developers during 2016-2026. This growth is much faster than average for all occupations. In December 2017, reported a median annual salary of $96,649 for big data engineers.

Related Careers

Those exploring a career as a big data engineer might also want to look at the related technical professions that are linked below.

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