How to Become a Remote Data Engineer?

A data engineer is an advanced position that requires work with collecting, managing, and storing various types of data. It can be pretty versatile, as one can work for a variety of industries and businesses, from manufacturing to IT.

Another major benefit of such a career is the opportunity to work remotely, which offers a better work-life balance. If you are interested in a remote data engineer job, you’ve come to the right place. In partnership with job aggregator Jooble, we’ve completed an overview of this position, its responsibilities, and the required skills. Here, you will also find a step-by-step guide to becoming an expert.

Data Engineer Career Overview and Steps on Becoming One

What Does a Remote Data Engineer Do?

As the name suggests, these specialists work with data. They build reservoirs to store and manage it. They create and develop systems to collect and extract information – those are various databases and data processing systems.

Some might confuse this position with a data scientist. The main difference is that engineers collect, manage, and store data. Scientists analyze and interpret this information.

Remote data engineers work closely with clients to establish requirements for the project and understand what type of architecture will serve best for specific goals. Based on the requirements, experts create unique systems with credible and constant pipelines to mine, warehouse, and process information.

All of this usually happens via cloud solutions like AWS, Azure, or GCP because they allow all the work to be done remotely.

Responsibilities and Requirements

It is a strategic job that demands advanced organizational and problem-solving skills. The typical duties of a remote data engineer are:

  • Designing, building, and implementing a new data collection and storage system;
  • Making sure that this system is relevant to business needs and industry standards;
  • Acquiring datasets according to the business needs;
  • Integrating new systems and tools into the existing infrastructure of a business;
  • Researching and proposing new opportunities for more efficient data usage;
  • Development of custom software tools and components to integrate various systems in one ecosystem;
  • Maintaining secure and reliable data storage and processing;
  • Creating algorithms that transform data into usable information;
  • Designing data validation methods.

To become a remote data engineer, one needs a college degree in computer science or computer engineering. To begin the career path, a bachelor’s degree is often enough. However, some employers do prefer a master’s degree. International certifications are also very useful. They showcase your expertise and professionalism.

How to Become a Remote Data Engineer?

Step 1. Earn Bachelor’s degree

The first step is to learn the fundamentals of computer science. It is a sure way to get into the industry. There are also some related majors and minors that can help with data engineering, namely:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Statistics

Start working on your programming skills and join study groups or boot camps to gain some experience.

Step 2. Develop a necessary skill set

As a professional, you will be constantly growing and developing necessary skills. But it is good to know where to start in terms of relevant frameworks, scripting languages, and technologies, for instance:

  • SQL – structured query language widely used for communication with databases;
  • SQL engines like Apache Hive;
  • Programming languages used for statistical analysis and modeling (Python or R);
  • Tools like Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka;
  • ETL systems;
  • Database architecture best practices and industry standards;
  • Machine learning principles;
  • Construction of data pipeline;
  • Big data and data security;
  • Cloud platforms.

Step 3. Gain experience

It is not a secret that finding a job without experience can be challenging. So the earlier you start to work on your portfolio, the better it is.

College is a good time to apply for internships, volunteer programs, or apprenticeships. Also, one can find gigs on campus, among friends and relatives, or online. Freelancing can be a valuable way to start working on real projects.

Step 4. Get an entry-level job in the field

Data engineering requires a lot of knowledge and skills. No one starts with it right away so there is nothing wrong with beginning small. Even if the first job you get does not involve data engineering, working for IT, in general, is a great opportunity.

You’ll get first-hand experience and insights into how businesses manage data and what challenges they meet. This is a valuable way to network, meet new people, and learn from professionals.

Step 5. Get professional certifications

To advance in this field, it is crucial to keep up with the market. This means following news, innovations, and trends. Also, it means acquiring professional certifications that prove your knowledge and skills.

There are vendor-specific certifications by Oracle, Google, or IBM. There are also general certifications like the Certified Data Management Professional by DAMA or Associate Big Data Engineer. It is a solid choice recognized by almost all employers.

Step 6. Find a remote position

When you have enough experience and expertise to perform all the duties of a data engineer, it is time to apply for remote positions. Prepare a resume and portfolio of previous projects with exact efficiency measurements.

As this position does not require physical presence, there are plenty of remote postings. One can find them online on job boards, job aggregators like Jooble, or via social media platforms like LinkedIn. Make sure your application documents showcase your strong points, skills, and industry experience.

In Summary

Data engineering is a highly-demanded career that requires strong analytical skills and specific technical expertise. It offers a competitive salary and an opportunity for flexible and remote employment. To become an expert, one needs to acquire higher education and professional certification, and also gain first-hand experience.