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Insights Four skills you need to be a data engineer

Data engineering is an increasingly popular career choice in high demand because as we know, data is now the world’s most valuable commodity. Data engineers are responsible for building and maintaining systems that allow for the analysis of data sets and the identification of trends, working together with teams to provide conclusive solutions.

Jason Cooper, Asia Pacific director PMO (Programme Management Offices), says ‘Data needs to be shared – we must allow data to flow more freely if we’re going to learn and improve.’ At Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, we have established teams of skilled data analysts, data architects and data engineers, who collaborate to allow data to be shared freely and securely, and provide digital and technological transformation with the use of big data. These roles are fundamental to the successful delivery of projects, creating the architecture for data generation which can later be analysed to resolve some of the most complex and critical tasks.

Keep reading to find out what skills you need to be a data engineer and how you can use them to build a successful career at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group.

image of a team looking at a screen

Knowledge of technical tools and languages

Data engineering is an innovative role, and both graduates and professionals are choosing this career because of the evolving data trends which make it exciting. Whilst a technical background isn’t essential, it helps to either have knowledge of technical tools and languages, or an ability to quickly learn new systems. Depending on the task, data engineers may use programming languages including Python, amongst other tools to build the data infrastructure that will assist with real-time challenges and solutions on projects.

By using tools such as these, data engineers can design, manipulate and manage data flows that integrate data from numerous sources and create data pipelines. The increasing number of tools available to data engineers is allowing for the landscape to rapidly evolve, making managing data simpler and more efficient.

As a Lead Data Engineer at Atkins, for example, you can expect to plan, configure, deploy and optimise data solutions using tools such as Microsoft Azure, whilst continually improving team processes to ensure information is of the highest quality.

Assembling complex data sets

Big data is a term that is used to define larger, more complex data sets from new data sources. It contains greater variety, in increasing volumes and with more velocity (the three Vs). Big data allows engineers to obtain more understanding of the information at hand, to see the bigger and gain a broader perspective. This, in turn, enables more confidence in the data, which helps address operational activities.

To be a successful data engineer, you will need to have a comprehensive understanding of how to assemble large and complex data sets that meet business requirements. By identifying ways to improve data reliability, efficiency, and quality with these data sets, you can positively influence business goals.

Collaboration and communication

Data engineering is only effective with good collaboration and communication skills. Being data-savvy is of course essential, but you also need to have the ability to communicate findings, trends and issues with stakeholders, including the team and client, to make the best use of the data collected.

At AtkinsRéalis , we build cross-functional and collaborative teams that allows for secure, ethical and responsible sharing of data, plus the transfer of knowledge and skills, to enable seamless project processes. By building close relationships with clients, we are able to effectively communicate challenges and opportunities at the earliest stages possible.

A growth mindset

The increasing use of data means that we must be able to respond to continual digital disruption. Data engineers must therefore constantly learn new skills, familiarise themselves with new technology and adapt to changing circumstances, so a growth mindset is key.

Staying abreast of industry changes, particularly relating to cloud data and analytics technologies, helps data engineers to bring an innovative element to every project and lead the direction for data engineering across multiple markets. We encourage all our data engineers to continually learn and upskill to ensure projects are running efficiently, whilst also helping them to progress their careers.

Challenge yourself to a career in data engineering

At AtkinsRéalis , we’re in a unique position, having access to large data sets, world-leading data specialists, and a diverse range of clients with interesting projects. If you have a degree or equivalent in subjects such as Computer Science, Information Systems or related technical disciplines and you’re looking for a new career with exciting prospects, browse our multi-discipline engineering jobs and apply today.

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