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What Is a Senior Data Engineer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Senior data engineers oversee data collection systems and work with fellow data engineers. Here’s what to know about a senior data engineer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Senior Data Engineer?

Senior data engineers hold primary responsibility over the construction and maintenance of data collection systems, pipelines and management tools. This includes supervising both the functions of junior data engineers and the architectures themselves.


What Do Senior Data Engineers Do?

Senior data engineers guide the building and implementation of databases, data warehouses and data models to store a company’s digital information.

Senior Data Engineer Responsibilities

  • Create, maintain and lead projects involving data collection and storage systems.
  • Recommend and deploy data models and solutions for existing data systems. 
  • Manage junior data engineer operations.
  • Ensure data compliance and security needs are met in system construction. 

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Senior Data Engineers

  • Troubleshoot data management issues and offer assistance across teams.
  • Collaborate with data architects and data analysts to determine design needs.
  • Generate reports on progress for presentation to non-technical professionals.
  • Perform data validation testing to ensure accurate data workflows.

Senior Data Engineers Within a Company

Senior data engineers are part of a data science or data analytics team, and tend to report to the director of data engineering or director of analytics within a company.

Importance of Senior Data Engineers

Proper data architecture collection systems and architecture are vital for professionals to access and effectively use company data. Senior data engineers offer authority over the construction and continued operation of these systems.

Day in the Life of a Data Engineer - What Do Data Engineers Do? | Video: Seattle Data Guy


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Senior Data Engineer?

Qualifications to Be a Senior Data Engineer

  • Four or more years of experience in data engineering, data system development or related roles.
  • Ability to build, maintain and improve upon data architecture, collection and storage systems.
  • Ability to manage and guide other data engineer processes.
  • Proficiency in data warehousing, relational databases and Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) technologies.

Senior Data Engineer Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or related technical field. 

Senior Data Engineer Hard Skills

  • Expertise in ETL technologies and processes.
  • Experience in big data tools and databases.
  • Experience in cloud computing technologies. 
  • Working knowledge of computer programming languages (Java, Python, R, Scala).
  • Understanding of database security and compliance tools.
  • Familiarity with machine learning technologies.

Senior Data Engineer Soft Skills

  • Adaptability.
  • Critical thinking skills.
  • Management and collaboration skills.
  • Verbal and written communication skills.

Tools and Programs Senior Data Engineers Use

  • Apache Kafka
  • Apache Spark 
  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • MongoDB
  • NoSQL
  • Python
  • R
  • Scala
  • SQL 
  • Snowflake
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How to Become a Senior Data Engineer

Senior Data Engineer Education and Experience

Senior data engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or similar technical discipline. They may also earn a master’s degree in data engineering, data analytics or a related field for later career roles.

Senior data engineers will need to obtain four or more years of experience in data engineering or data system development to be considered for roles. Knowledge of data warehousing and ETL processes, programming languages (Java, Python, R, Scala), big data, cloud computing and leadership skills are recommended.

Senior Data Engineer Certificates and Courses

Senior Data Engineer Career Path

Professionals will likely begin as data engineers before entering into the senior data engineer role. From here, roles like data architect, director of data engineering and eventually vice president of data engineering or analytics are available.


Senior Data Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

Database architects and similar roles, like data engineers, will see a 9 percent increase in jobs by 2031. 

The full compensation package for a senior data engineer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average senior data engineer salary.


Expand Your Senior Data Engineer Career Opportunities

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Senior Data Engineer Certifications + Programs

Explore Udacity’s selection of in-demand data science certifications and boost your resume today.

General Assembly’s Data Science part-time course is a practical introduction to the interdisciplinary field of data science and machine learning, which lies at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and business. You will learn to use the Python programming language to acquire, parse, and model data for informing business strategy. 

This is a fast-paced course with some prerequisites. Students should be comfortable with programming fundamentals, core Python syntax, and basic statistics. There is an option to complete up to 25 hours of online preparatory lessons. Talk to the General Assembly Admissions team to discuss your background and confirm if this is the right fit for you..


What you'll accomplish

A significant portion of the course is a hands- on approach to fundamental modeling techniques and machine learning algorithms. You’ll also practice communicating your results and insights by compiling technical documentation and a stakeholder presentation. Throughout this expert-designed program, you’ll:

  • Perform exploratory data analysis with Python.
  • Build and refine machine learning models to predict patterns
  • from data sets.
  • Communicate data-driven insights to technical and non-technical audiences alike.
  • Apply what you’ve learned to create a portfolio project: a predictive model that addresses a real-world data problem.


Why General Assembly

Since 2011, General Assembly has graduated more than 40,000 students worldwide from the full time & part time courses. During the 2020 hiring shutdown, GA's students, instructors, and career coaches never lost focus, and the KPMG-validated numbers in their Outcomes report reflect it. *For students who graduated in 2020 — the peak of the pandemic — 74.4% of those who participated in GA's full-time Career Services program landed jobs within six months of graduation. General Assembly is proud of their grads + teams' relentless dedication and to see those numbers rising. Download the report here.


Your next step? Submit an application to talk to the General Assembly Admissions team


Note: reviews are referenced from Career Karma - https://careerkarma.com/schools/general-assembly


General Assembly

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