01 December 2021 14:41:05 IST

Burgeoning tech sector drives demand for data engineers

The ‘data age’ rewards and spotlights students and employees who have deep expertise in this important area.

India is a talent hub. Nearly 50 per cent of the world’s data engineers reside in the US, and according to a survey, India ranks second with 11.96 per cent of data engineering talent in the country. The data industry is slated to stand at $680 billion growing at a CAGR of 24 per cent. However, with increasing impetus on data and skilling in IT and technology companies, it is time for India to become the number-one ‘state-of-the-art’ destination for skilled data engineers and talent.

With new-age tech companies sprouting up across the globe, we have ascended to the ‘data age’ where data skills are in high demand. Enterprises today know that the real value of data can be realised only with robust data infrastructure and architecture, and they are ready to invest in the same. The renewed focus on customer experience has propelled almost companies to develop and invest in cutting-edge technology products. This has further made data engineering a prospective avenue. IT organisations are scrambling for skilled talent and data engineering has grown in size and visibility to meet the demand.

According to industry reports, data engineers are among the top three analytical roles in the Indian market. There are at least 7,500 job postings for these highly-paid analytical skills. Companies are hiring twice the number of data engineers than data scientists with 20 to 30 per cent more salaries.

The growing demand for data engineers makes it one of the most sought-after roles of today. A rise in the use of big data in organisations to gather extensive insights and gain an edge over the competition are the chief reasons. Another reason is the wide use of the cloud as a data platform. Big data represents five times more opportunities than the AI market, but being complex data, it can only be processed by a professional data engineer.

What is data engineering?

Data engineering is the process of designing and constructing systems for efficient management of multi-modal data (numerical, symbolic, aural, visual) including conversion of raw data into clean data. Many confuse data engineers with data scientists or data analysts. A data engineer typically focusses on coding, cleaning up data sets, and implementing requests that come from data scientists.

On the other hand, a data scientist will be able to take data science projects from end to end. They facilitate storing large amounts of data, create predictive modelling processes, and present the findings. Data analysts typically help people from across the company understand specific queries with charts. The skill sets required and the programmes used by these three categories of professionals vary from each other. A data engineer should be well-equipped with programming, mathematics and big data skills to excel in this area of profession.

Upskilling push

Owing to the accelerating demand for data engineering roles in the Indian tech industry, it is important for today’s talent to harp on the opportunity and make the most of it. There is a vital need to acquire the required data skills. More demand with comparatively less-qualified candidates leads to a higher pay scale for such roles. When one talks about gaining skills, taking up professional courses comes into the picture. A professional degree in such technical courses not only helps one take a step closer to being a data engineering professional but also in upskilling in one of the in-demand future skills.

The time is ripe for India to emerge as the popular hotspot for science and engineering talent. The premier institutions of education need to bear the responsibility of filling the skill gap and closing the talent deficit.



(The writer is Director, IIT Jodhpur.)