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Path to Data Engineering: Self-Learning

· 2 min read
Parham Parvizi

There are two paths to becoming a data engineer. One is to take a boot camp to learn the latest tools. As we explain here, it’s the best route for someone who does not have extensive tech experience. The other path is through self-learning. It’s a difficult way to learn these tools but not impossible.

We recommend the self-learning path only for people already in tech, such as business analysts, data scientists, software engineers, and front-end developers. These people have a foot in the door and can make a successful shift by training on their own.

Even people with experience should seek certification. Microsoft, Coursera, and Udemy offer respected courses that lead to a certification. If you click their links, you’ll find the learning paths they offer. If you decide not to get certified, your road becomes more difficult. That said, you can trace one of those paths on your own and simulate the certification course process without any recognition of completion.

However you want to go about it, you should build a GitHub profile immediately. More than 70 million developers show and develop their code on the platform. You can create projects for everything you learn. Data engineering employers are like math teachers. They don’t care that you got the answer. They want to know how you arrived at the answer. They want to see your work.

Data Stack Academy founder Parham Parvizi uses GitHub for his data consulting company He checks out profiles to find employee candidates. GitHub is also expanding its features to include more employment-oriented services like LinkedIn.

Where can you get real-world projects to try out? Kaggle has challenges you can try and competitions to enter. has data you can access use for your projects. You can also check out the application programming interfaces (APIs) for Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. Integrate their APIs in your work to show you can utilize them. That will help if you pursue a job at one of those companies.

If you choose the self-learning path, you must do one important thing. You must declare the intent to finish the work. Boot camps will help keep you on track—it’s basically a drill sergeant whipping you into shape. When you self-learn, that drill sergeant has to come from inside your own head.