Data Engineer vs. Database Administrator
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Is becoming a data engineer the right move for you? This Introduction to the Data Engineer Role course walks you through the ins and outs of being a data engineer: the tasks and responsibilities of the role, the skills necessary to carry them out, and the personality traits best suited to working as a data engineer. You will also learn the differences between data engineers and both data scientists and database administrators. All of this should help you get a clear idea of what a career in data engineering looks like and if it's the right one for you!

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what a data engineer does
  • Learn the differences between a data engineer and a data scientist and database administrator
  • Understand the skills and character traits that make a successful data engineer

Intended Audience

Anyone who is thinking of embarking on a career as a data engineer, whether they're fresh out of school and thinking about their future, or they already have years of experience under their belt but want a career change.


None! This course is open to everyone.


Another common question I hear is what is the difference between a database administrator or a DBA and a data engineer? I think the best way to describe the difference is that the database administrator or DBA knows the platform while the data engineer knows the data. So a DBA will focus on creating and improving queries, optimizing the database to run as efficiently as possible, and of course, maintaining backups and data integrity.

The data engineer will be aware of the database structures, but focused on the data within that database. So the DBA might be focused on creating a query or a stored procedure. The data engineer will ask for improvements to that query or stored procedure to best reduce issues with the data that is being returned by it, e.g. removing duplicate rows that are in the dataset due to a possible human error, etc. It's a very viable career path to move from DBA to data engineer.

If you look at industry benchmarks, you'll see data engineers are generally well remunerated and often paid more than DBAs. I'm hoping this is sounding slightly curious and you're interested and you're now data curious. Now, remember every skill needed to be a data engineer is learned. It's not a question of whether you think you could do it or not. It is a question of whether you think it would be interesting to you or not.

Let's now look at the skills and character traits that often work well for a data engineer so you can start to define whether this role might be right for you.


Introduction - What Does a Data Engineer Do? - Data Engineer vs. Data Scientist - Key Skills of a Data Engineer - Key Traits of a Data Engineer - Is This Role Right For Me?

About the Author
Learning Paths

Andrew is fanatical about helping business teams gain the maximum ROI possible from adopting, using, and optimizing Public Cloud Services. Having built  70+ Cloud Academy courses, Andrew has helped over 50,000 students master cloud computing by sharing the skills and experiences he gained during 20+  years leading digital teams in code and consulting. Before joining Cloud Academy, Andrew worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe.