Big data engineer is one of the highest-paying tech jobs and also one of the most talked-about in the tech industry.
It’s a broad field with a bright future, encompassing data collection, processing, and a wide range of other topics.
Without a doubt, it’s the most favored job role in the Big Data industry, but the question you must be asking is: How to become a big data engineer?
And we heard you. In this article, we are going to cover everything essential you’ll need to know. So that you can maneuver your way into Big Data Engineering.
Interesting enough? let’s get going.
What is Big Data?
Before we jump into: how to become a Big Data Engineer, it’s important to understand the term, Big Data.
Data was scarce in the early days of the Internet. The file sizes were small, and there weren’t many people using the Internet.
However, today, multiple social media channels are attracting billions of users every day, with these users, there comes user activity and tons of data. Social media is only one example, there are tech giants from all types of industries. These multinational companies are gathering user data on a massive scale that was never imagined before.
If that was surprising, read this. According to IDC, the total volume of global data in 2025 is expected to reach 175 zettabytes. Which is a lot of data.
This Big Data comes in all sizes and formats:
- Structured data: Excel and SQL tables
- Semi-structured data: Email and XML files
- Unstructured data: Images and videos
As you can see, storing, analyzing, and processing data on such a large scale is impossible using traditional methods. To address this, frameworks such as Hadoop, Spark, Cassandra, and Apache Storm are used.
This is where Big Data Engineers can help. Engineers use the frameworks mentioned above to handle Big Data. With that, let’s move forward and understand more about the job role and also learn about: How to become a Big Data Engineer.
The job role of a Big Data Engineer
As previously stated, data generation has increased all over the world. However, it is useless unless and until it is processed and analyzed in a structured format. Big Data is analyzed to extract meaningful information, which improves overall performance. Organizations can improve their business decisions, products, and marketing effectiveness by doing so. Big Data Engineers helps an organization to achieve the exact goal.
Big Data Engineers are in charge of data processing. This involves creating a data landscape for data scientists by leveraging accessible data and technologies. They are also responsible for data integration into central analysis infrastructure and deciding which technologies are appropriate for this. The expertise is not limited to the data available in the organization and its storage locations.
Note that the roles of a Data Engineer and a Big Data Engineer are interchangeable. Data engineers are also required to handle Big Data. For this, they acquire Big Data Engineer skills. They also handle Big Data using a variety of Big Data frameworks and NoSQL databases.
Next on, let’s look at the skills required on: how to become a Big Data Engineer
Skills required to become a Big Data Engineer
To become a Big Data Engineer, you must be skilled in a variety of areas. Here are a few of the most important ones to mention.
1. Database and SQL
As a Big Data Engineer, in-depth knowledge of DBMS and SQL is required. This will help you understand how data is managed and stored in a database. For any Relational Database Management system, you must be able to write SQL queries. MySQL, Oracle Database, and Microsoft SQL Server are some of the most commonly used database management systems for Big Data engineering.
Programming is a must for any tech-based job. The same goes for Big Data Engineering. A Big Data Engineer should be familiar with any common programming language, such as Java, C++, or Python. Out of these languages, python is crucial. It’s because most data storage tools, like as Hadoop, HBase, Apache Spark, and Apache Kafka, are written in this language.
3. Operating system
Knowledge of multiple operating systems is also needed if you want to become a Bug Data Engineer. Operating systems is like the base for operating Big Data tools. Therefore, a deep understating of OS such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and Solaris is a must.
4. ETL and Data warehousing
As we have mentioned above, one of the primary jobs of a Big Data Engineer is to work out with ETL operations. Therefore, you would need to know how to build and use a data warehouse for this.
5. Hadoop tools and frameworks
Hadoop-based analytics are needed for becoming a Big Data Engineer. Because Hadoop is one of the most widely used Big Data engineering tools, it goes without saying that you should be familiar with Apache Hadoop-based technologies such as MapReduce, HDFS, Apache Pig, Apache HBase, and Hive.
6. Data mining and modeling
Another skill for becoming a Big Data Engineer requires you have prior experience with data mining, data wrangling, and data modeling techniques. Data mining and data wrangling are steps that include preprocessing and cleaning the data using various methods, discovering previously unseen trends and patterns in the data, and preparing it for analysis.
7. Data Pipelines
A data pipeline is a software solution that provides a data flow pathway and eliminates several manual steps in the data transfer process. You’ll spend a good amount of time building and managing data pipelines. Data pipelines aid in the generation of large amounts of data, the storage of that data in the cloud, and the analysis of that data.
8. Apache spark
The last skill on our list is Apache spark, you need to have work experience with real real-time processing frameworks such as Apache Spark. As a Big Data Engineer, you’ll need an analytics engine like Spark that can manage batch and real-time processing because you’ll be dealing with large quantities of data. Spark can process data from several sources, including different social media channels.
These were some of the most important skills which will help you in the journey of how to become a Big Data Engineer.
Now that you know what skills are required, you should understand what a Big Data Engineer exactly does. Let’s cover that briefly and straightforwardly.
What exactly does a Big Data Engineer do?
Big Data Engineers work for an organization to develop, test, and manage Big Data solutions. Their duty is to collect vast volumes of data from a variety of sources and ensure that downstream consumers have fast and easy access to it.
These professionals are also responsible for ensuring that the company’s data pipelines are scalable, stable, and capable of serving multiple users.
To be specific, they perform the following:
- They are in charge of developing and implementing software systems. They also check and maintain these systems.
- Big Data Engineers build a reliable system for ingestion and data processing.
- Big Data Engineers perform Extract Transform Load operations, also known as the ETL process.
- They are constantly finding out new methods of extracting data.
- They gather data from a variety of sources to develop effective business models.
- Big Data Engineers also collaborate with other departments, as well as data analysts and scientists.
Let’s move on to the final phase in our guide on how to become a Big Data Engineer, where we’ll talk about the roadmap of starting your career.
Education required to become a Big Data Engineer
Career opportunities as a Big Data Engineer are endless. As more and more companies depend on Big Data for decision-making, the career option is only going upwards.
Plus, there are different job roles in the Big Data Industry—giving you multiple options to choose from. Some of the most demanding job roles include Business Analyst, MIS Reporting Executive, Data Analyst, Statistician, Data Architect, and so on.
On this positive note, let’s mention the requirements to become a Big Data Engineer:
- While a bachelor’s degree in computer science is preferred, people from all walks of life join this profession.
- You can enroll in many certificate courses which will amplify your process of becoming a Big Data Engineer.
- Some of the most popular certifications include IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data, Google Cloud Certified Data Engineer, CCP Data Engineer, and so on.
The Data Engineering industry is huge. It pays really well and is one of the best tech careers for future-proofing.
We have provided every little detail you’ll need on: how to become a Big Data Engineer. All you need to do is — take one step at a time.