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I’ve been seeing more and more job postings for analytics engineers in recent months. Every company wants someone that has both data analytics and software engineering skills. It’s the best bang for their buck in hiring one person.
I first became an analytics engineer 6 months ago, after working for 2 years as a data engineer. And I’ve never looked back. I’m glad I decided to apply for a position I had never heard of. It ended up being the perfect position for me.
Here are some signs it may also be the ideal role for you and your skill set.
You like to be involved in both engineering and business strategy
As a data engineer, I worked with business teams every day but I never got the chance to make actual business decisions. I was building the tools and processes that the team had decided on without me.
Honestly, I was lucky to interact with business teams at all. It gave me some exposure to what happens before the tasks are given to the engineers. This made me realize I wanted to be the one making the strategic choices and implementing them.
I started thinking about the tasks I wanted to do on a daily basis and they involved both strategizing about how companies use their data and building the processes to act on them. The job description of an analytics engineer sounded just like this.
As an analytics engineer, the business teams are your stakeholders. You interact with them every single day. You help point them in the right direction based on the analyses you present. You work together to inform and drive decisions in marketing, growth, and product.
Writing SQL is your biggest superpower
You sleep, eat, breathe SQL as an analytics engineer. Maybe even more so than as a data analyst. SQL is the core of your dbt data models. You need to know the most efficient way to write and run your code so that these models are fast and dependable.
I didn’t know very much SQL before using dbt as a data engineer. It is something that I learned not only on the job, but by doing interview practice questions. Interview questions introduced me to different concepts, like window functions, that I was never exposed to on the job. You’d be surprised how much you learn from them.
So, don’t be discouraged from trying for an analytics engineer role if you don’t know SQL like the back of your hand. It’s one of the easier technical skills to learn. Practice and repetition truly make perfect!
More importantly, you need to enjoy writing SQL. If you don’t enjoy this language, you may find the role repetitive and boring. Personally, I love writing SQL so it is enjoyable for me. I’m still learning new things every day, like the datepart() function.
You’ve found great success in setting up systems
Lastly, if you love setting up systems, you’ll love being an analytics engineer. What does this mean? You thrive off of processes and organization.
You’ll be expected to build data pipelines, structure the data warehouse, set data governance practices, and document data models. Many of these things will be things the company never implemented in the first place. You will be the one to build these from the ground up and put them into motion.
If you like to make decisions and are confident with your skills, you can have a lot of impact within the company this way. This is the backbone of a data-driven organization. How cool is it that you could be the one to build that?
It’s extremely fulfilling to see the organization you’ve put in place used by other analysts and leadership teams. Your work as an analytics engineer doesn’t go unnoticed. It is holding up the work of everyone who touches data within the company.
While you do need certain qualities to succeed as an analytics engineer, I’m a huge believer that you make your own success. If you know you want to pursue this, make it happen. Put in the work to master SQL, learn dbt, and structure data models.
Analytics engineering is perfect for the person who is interested in engineering and business. Make sure you enjoy both parts because you’ll be working with both teams each day. This will give you the chance to develop your business-related communication skills and technical skills. All there’s left to do is apply! Happy job hunting!
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