Explore Data Science Academy says there is a growing need for data engineering skills as a result of Microsoft and AWS’s recent investment in local data centres and tripling demand for public cloud services between 2017 and 2022.
As a result, the academy has added data engineering to its online training offerings. Payscale estimates that the average salary for a data engineer in South Africa is R441,913, moving up to around R750,000 for a senior role.
The 12-month course, which starts Monday, 18 January, will provide applicants with the specific skill set required to become data engineers – a key role in the successful digital transformation of a business.
“The use of vast quantities of data by data scientists now requires those with a specialised skill set to organise data and ensure its quality, security and availability to the organisation. These are data engineers,” said Shaun Dippnall, CEO at Explore.
According to Dippnall apart from the skill set, there is a shortage of training courses online that offer both the content and practical application of data engineering skills required in the work place. This is particularly true of the South African market.
Course attendees will learn:
- SQL basics;
- Python programming;
- Data modelling; and
- Cloud computing.
To these will be added specific data architecture skills such as:
- Big data concepts;
- Data warehousing and lakes; and
- Data automation.
“In the digital world of today data engineering has become a specific job category as the amount of data produced by businesses engaged in digital transformation, increases exponentially,” Dippnall said.
Two distinct roles
“Today’s businesses produce new types of data in vast quantities. While data scientists have traditionally been expected to build the necessary infrastructure and data pipelines to do their work, the volume and speed of data production has resulted in the roles of data scientist and data engineer becoming separate and distinct,” he said.
“It is now recognized that companies need both data scientists and data engineers in an advanced analytics team. Naturally there is frequent collaboration between the two roles but their skills sets and tools remain different.”
Essentially, data engineers design and build pipelines that transform and transport data into a format so that, by the time it reaches the data scientists, it is usable.
These pipelines take data from numerous sources and collect them into a single warehouse that presents the data uniformly as a single source.
Data centre stimulus
The importance of data engineering is underscored by the fact that two of the world’s largest cloud computing hyper scalers – Microsoft and Amazon – have recently established data centres in South Africa.
Microsoft launched two Azure cloud data centres in South Africa in 2019 to tap into the growing demand for hyperscale cloud infrastructure and services in the region.
While Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region – the company’s first in Africa – in April last year.
According to AWS, the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will stimulate innovation across the country.
“South African organisations from start-ups to enterprise and the public sector now have infrastructure in their country to leverage advanced technologies such as Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Database, and Internet of Things (IoT),” it said.
Further, the addition of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will enable companies to provide lower latency to end users across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Explosive growth expected
“These critical developments by two of the world’s largest corporations underline just how important the data warehousing is in the modern digital environment,” said Dippnall.
The Explore data engineering course requires applicants to have a basic analytical background and will involve 10 hours of study a week.
“We at Explore have always been aware of the need to create jobs for talented and hard-working young South Africans,” Dippnall said.
According to research from International Data Corporation, spending on public cloud services in South Africa will nearly triple over five years from 2017 to 2022.
“Crucially for us, this study estimates that the exponential adoption of cloud services will generate 112,000 net new jobs in South Africa by the end of 2022,” he said.