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Big Data: the Data Team Expert Roles

In today's data-driven world, companies across various industries harness data's power to gain insights, make informed decisions, and drive innovation. However, navigating the complex realm of data requires a diverse range of specialized professionals. From data engineers to data analysts, data quality engineers to machine learning engineers, each plays a distinct role in extracting value from data and driving business success.

Amidst the vast terminology and diverse responsibilities, it's common for these roles to need to be understood or conflated. In this article, we aim to shed light on the true nature of data experts, unraveling their core responsibilities and the technologies they employ. By gaining a deeper understanding of these roles, their unique contributions, and the tools they utilize, companies can better leverage their expertise to harness the full potential of their data assets.

Data Analyst

Data analysts are professionals who process and analyze data. They work with data engineers who provide them with data sources. The data analyst takes the raw data, cleans it, systematizes it, analyzes it, draws conclusions, and transmits the results to the customer to make more correct decisions. Data Analysts have different names depending on the industry, such as Business Analysts, Database Analysts, and Business Intelligence Analysts. They help the company make better business decisions in the future.

A data analyst should have an idea of ​ ​such skills as:

• data visualization,

• statistics,

• data processing,

• data analysis,

He has to know the following tools and programs: SQL, Microsoft Excel, as well as BI tools: Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Amazon QuickSight, Looker, QlikSense.

Data Engineer

Data engineers are engineers who combine the roles of Developer, Cloud engineer, DevOps and design the big data system. Simply put, they create jobs that process data: clean, optimize and prepare. They also ensure the uninterrupted operation of the data system. It is after data processing that data experts will be able to begin using various analysis and visualization methods to obtain meaningful results.

A data engineer should have such skills as:

  • SQL database systems

  • NoSQL (MongoDB, Cassandra)

  • ETL tools

  • Data warehousing solutions

  • Data APIs

  • Data modeling

  • Hive, Athena, Redshift, Snowflake

  • Apache Spark, Scala

  • Python

The data engineer is an important part of any professional data team. He brings value to the businesses by helping analysts and data scientists be more productive.

Machine Learning Engineer

The essence of machine learning is to make foresight, find patterns, and classify data. Machine learning engineers are full-fledged software developers who develop systems that learn from data provided by data specialists. They also work as a bridge connecting data specialists and software development teams.

The primary responsibilities of the machine learning engineer are:

  • Machine learning engineers have a deep understanding of various machine learning algorithms, statistical modeling, and data processing techniques. They are knowledgeable about both supervised and unsupervised learning methods, as well as techniques like deep learning and reinforcement learning.

  • Machine learning engineers are experienced in working with large datasets. They are proficient in data preprocessing, feature engineering, and data cleaning techniques to ensure data quality and suitability for model training.

  • Machine learning engineers build and train machine learning models using appropriate algorithms and techniques. They optimize models by fine-tuning hyperparameters, conducting cross-validation, and implementing techniques like regularization and ensemble learning.

  • Once models are developed, machine learning engineers deploy them into production environments. They have expertise in deploying models as APIs, integrating them into existing systems, and ensuring scalability, efficiency, and reliability.

  • Machine learning engineers monitor the performance of deployed models and make necessary adjustments or retraining when needed. They also address issues related to data drift, model decay, and system failures.

  • Machine learning engineers often work in cross-functional teams, collaborating with data scientists, software engineers, and domain experts to understand business requirements and translate them into machine learning solutions.

Essential skills of a machine learning engineer:

  • to know mathematics well, the basics of statistics, and probability theory;

  • to program;

  • to be well-versed in Python, Java, and R programming languages;

  • to work with databases (SQL), frameworks, and libraries

  • to know the mathematical application tools and Matlab

  • be able to process and visualize data.

Data Quality Engineer

A Data Quality Engineer is a professional who focuses on ensuring the accuracy, completeness, consistency, and reliability of data within an organization. Their primary responsibility is to establish and maintain high-quality data standards and practices throughout the data lifecycle. Here are some key aspects of a Data Quality Engineer's role:

  • Data Profiling and Assessment: Data Quality Engineers perform data profiling to understand the structure, content, and quality of data. They assess the data to identify any anomalies, inconsistencies, or errors.

  • Data Quality Standards and Policies: They establish data quality standards and policies to guide the organization in maintaining consistent and reliable data. This includes defining data quality metrics, data validation rules, and data governance practices.

  • Data Cleansing and Enrichment: Data Quality Engineers employ techniques and tools to cleanse and transform data, removing duplicate records, resolving inconsistencies, and enhancing data accuracy. They may also enrich data by integrating external sources or applying data augmentation methods.

  • Data Validation and Testing: They design and execute data validation tests to verify data quality. This involves creating test cases, running data quality checks, and comparing data against defined rules or expectations.

  • Data Quality Monitoring: Data Quality Engineers set up monitoring mechanisms to continuously assess and monitor data quality over time. They may establish data quality dashboards or implement automated alerts to flag any deviations or issues.

  • Collaboration and Communication: Data Quality Engineers work closely with stakeholders, data owners, data engineers, and data consumers to understand data requirements and address data quality concerns. They communicate data quality issues, findings, and recommendations to relevant teams.

  • Documentation and Documentation: They document data quality processes, methodologies, and findings. This documentation helps maintain a historical record of data quality activities and enables knowledge sharing within the organization.

  • Data Quality Improvement Initiatives: Data Quality Engineers actively contribute to data quality improvement initiatives. They analyze root causes of data quality problems, propose solutions, and collaborate with data engineering or IT teams to implement changes.

  • Compliance and Governance: They ensure adherence to regulatory requirements and data governance policies. Data Quality Engineers work in alignment with data privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR) and ensure data quality practices support compliance efforts.

By clarifying these data experts' distinct roles and responsibilities, we can appreciate their unique contributions to the data ecosystem. Understanding the technologies they employ empowers companies to assemble the right mix of talent and tools for their specific data needs.

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