Is Data Engineering Stressful or Easy?

By - Kaustubh Katdare • 1 year ago • 9.1k views

Is data engineering stressful? Or is data engineering easy? Perhaps those are two top questions on your mind if you are exploring a career in data engineering. I noticed that there is no straightforward answer available on the Internet.

I've worked as the head of data engineering at a fast-growing AI startup; and have worked with several data engineers closely. I'm very well familiar with the job, expectations and day-to-day activities data engineers perform.

Data engineering is not a stressful job. Perhaps, it's the least stressful and easiest of the jobs if you are well familiar with data engineering programming languages and tools.

Even though it's easy to master, the demand for data engineers is fast growing. Why? Because high quality data engineers are not easily available.

Is data engineering stressful?

As I said, data engineering job is not stressful. Whether you'll be stressed at the job as a data engineer depends upon several factors that you'd not have imagined -

  • Your company work culture
  • Your client
  • Your immediate team-lead or management
  • Your technical skills and knowledge
  • Your ability to handle stress when chasing deadlines

I'm sure you didn't think about these factors while thinking about whether data engineering is stressful.

There will be high-stress situations on the job. Mostly because -

  1. You are not very well versed with the project or technology you are working on.
  2. You are not genuinely interested in big data engineering
  3. Unrealistic expectations from the management. This scenario cannot be ignored in the current startup world which is highly competitive.

Is data engineering easy compared to software engineering?

Arguably, yes. Software engineers will have to deal with complex coding problems; while data engineers, most of the times, will be writing scripts and working with tools to handle data.

These tools require specialised knowledge; which means a software engineer cannot easily perform data engineering job.

In addition, software engineers have to keep up to date with the changes in technology all the time. They'll have to learn new languages as well. However, a data engineer will only have to keep up to date with the tools and advancements in the cloud offerings from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Plus, the good old SQL will get most of the jobs for you.

In conclusion, data engineering is not at all stressful. It's easy, yet requires specialised knowledge of tools and programming languages. There are plenty of job opportunities available for data engineers and several allow data engineers to work from home

Let me know if you have follow up questions.


  • Rohit
    Rohit Joshi

    As rightly pointed out in the above post, data engineering is not a stressful job. If you have a well defined KPI and your KRAs are known; you won't have to take stress at the job.

    Over the past few years I've been working as a data engineer, I've encountered really difficult problems only a few times. Those problems were client project specific; and we got them solved within 3-4 days.

    Yes, you need to be exceptionally good at SQL and Python. If you know concepts of data engineering well, you'd enjoy working as a data engineer.

  • Kaustubh
    Kaustubh Katdare

    Having spent over a decade in the industry, it's right that stress depends more upon other factors than the complexity of the job. The nature of the responsibilities and your direct boss / leader are more responsible for making the work environment stressful.

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