Which is Better – Cloud Engineering or Data Engineering?

The job trends in the IT domain have become very dynamic and provides many opportunities for individuals to establish suitable careers. The job markets are flooded with many engineering roles that are distributed among many technologies and disciplines. Lately, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data science and engineering have been more popular and are gaining attention for their applications and dependency globally.

Thousands of engineers in IT deal with so many engineering, architectural, administration, analysis, and other aspects across multiple disciplines. But the real challenge comes when we have to decide a career path or job roles among the trending and popular ones. So, in this article, we would try to address one of the common topics that many individuals have in their minds, cloud engineering vs data engineering. We would briefly discuss data engineering, cloud engineering, roles, skills, and salaries of both disciplines. And finally, conclude to see which is better between cloud and data engineering.

What Is Cloud Engineering?

Cloud computing is rapidly impacting the traditional way of IT infrastructure and organizations. Therefore, the popularity for getting the essential skills has become valuable in the tech companies. Many top tech providers are offering their cloud services and solutions further increasing the demand. If you have an interest and aspire to start your career or switch to cloud computing the is just perfect. Because the demand for software engineers or developers or administrators with relevant knowledge and skills in the cloud greatly benefits organizations adapting to the cloud ecosystem.

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Cloud engineering is a profession in which professionals use engineering applications systematically on different types of cloud computing such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Serverless computing. Cloud computing is vast and this is where cloud engineering brings a systematic approach to provide businesses with relevant tools and approaches to utilize the cloud platforms for commercial purposes. Other important factors of this profession include analyzing, designing developing, operating, managing, and maintaining cloud computing services and solutions. Solving business problems systematically and economically by using the power of cloud computing is the key role of cloud engineers.

What Is Data Engineering?

Organizations are generating high volumes of data lately. Some of the challenging factors faced by organizations are analyzing, optimizing the flow, and pipelining this data. To deal with these challenging factors the data engineering profession came into existence. Data engineering focuses on applying engineering applications to collect data trends analyze and develop algorithms from different data sets to increase business insights.

In the IT sector, the data engineering role is very significant. Data engineering makes use of the data that can be effectively used to achieve the business goals. Handling large and complex datasets and databases requires data engineering skills, therefore, companies constantly seek professionals data engineers with the right skillset. Data engineering also provides deeper insights into all the data sets of an organization to visualize it for better understanding. Preparing data for predictive modeling and automating tasks based on the analysis is also involved in this role.

Who Is A Cloud Engineer?

A cloud engineer is a professional who is responsible for evaluating the IT infrastructure of organizations and provides approaches to migrate and manage many business applications and functions in the cloud environment. Cloud engineers are the professionals who provide help and support in moving important business applications and processes to different cloud types such as private, public, hybrid clouds, community clouds, and much more.

Cloud engineers have a range of technical responsibilities in and around cloud computing. Some of them include implementing cloud solutions for businesses by planning, developing, and designing cloud-based software and applications. And constantly managing cloud environments and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. The crucial task of a cloud engineer also involves working and collaborating with other professionals and technical teams to identify and implement cloud solutions.

Because most of the cloud services are web-based, cloud engineers are engaged in building and designing multiple web services within various cloud environments used by the company. Sometimes, certain business functions and processes need to be automated on the cloud, and cloud engineers come with ways to achieve this on the cloud platforms. Like all other technical professions, cloud engineers have to stay up-to-date with industry trends, new technology applications, and cloud solutions and certifications.

Who Is A Data Engineer?

A data engineer is an IT professional who analyzes, optimizes, and builds algorithms on data in line with company goals and objectives. Data engineers find data sets to improve the way companies manage the resources such as capital, infrastructure, people, and so on to grow businesses. With the latest technology, there are so many tools to help data engineers to work with data.

Data engineers are responsible for optimizing data retrieval, creating interfaces and mechanisms for the data flow and access. These works can further help data scientists to experiment with data for big data applications. The data engineers must know how to develop dashboards, reports, and other visualizations to represent the data trends to the stakeholders.

Data engineers would be well-versed with the tools such as SQL, Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL, and other high-tech tools for data storage and manipulation. Some of them typically belong to smaller teams or in small companies and are responsible for data processes such as managing,  analyzing, and optimizing. In midsized and large organizations, where roles related to data are broadly classified, data engineers build data stores and pipeline the systems for data scientists. This allows data scientists to come up with insights by querying and combining big data sources for practical use. And data engineers focus on data warehouse systems as well.

Data engineers have the task that deals with managing, organizing, developing, constructing, testing, and maintaining data architectures. Sometimes to improve data reliability, efficiency, and quality they deploy complex analytics, machine learning, and statistical processes by using programming languages and other tools. Finding hidden data patterns in large data sets to research industry and business requirements is also an important task.

What Are The Skills Required By A Cloud Engineer?

Cloud computing is a broader domain, having a good understanding and grip over most of the following skills is mandatory for a cloud engineer.

  • Cloud Services and Providers: The core of cloud computing lies in the implementation of cloud services and solutions offered by many cloud providers. Cloud engineers should have good knowledge of major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and others along with their services and solutions.
  • Coding: The cloud platforms support and allow developers to use many programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, JavaScript, PHP, and so on. Having good proficiency in multiple programming languages to write code in the cloud is very important.
  • Operating System: Knowledge of one or more operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and other open-source operating systems to develop applications and software.
  • Databases: A decent knowledge of database querying languages such as SQL, Hadoop, and MySQL comes in handy.
  • Networking Skills: The fundamentals of networking and integration with cloud platforms are essential. Also, good knowledge of creating and deploying virtual networks to provide a good user experience is needed.
  • Security: Organizations always ensure to protect their data and applications. The ability to track the security condition of the cloud platforms and implementing preventive steps are important for cloud engineers.
  • Web Services and APIs: Understanding web services such as XML, SOAP, and so on to transfer and describe data while using APIs to complete and deploy the integration across different platforms. As cloud services are mostly web-based, foundational knowledge of different APIs and web services is needed.

What Are The Skills Required By A Data Engineer? 

Data engineers typically come from computer science or engineering backgrounds. The role demands technical knowledge in IT with knowledge of analytics and mathematics disciplines.  Some of these following skills are essentially needed for an aspiring data engineer.

  • Database Management: SQL, NoSQL, MySQL
  • Programming Languages: Python, Scala, Java, and so on.
  • Distributed Data Storage Systems: AWS S3 or MongoDB and so on.
  • Distributed Data Processing Systems: Apache Spark, Map Reduce.
  • Cloud Computing Platforms: Services from AWS, GCP, and other cloud providers
  • Frameworks: JVM Based Frameworks, Apache Hadoop
  • Linux OS
  • Data warehouse
  • Data modeling
  • ETL (extra, transform, load)
  • Big data analytics
  • Software development

What Is The Salary Of Cloud Engineers?

Undoubtedly, the cloud engineering profession has proven to provide individuals with a significantly higher average salary than other jobs. Many cloud engineers earn an average salary of approximately 124,000 USD annually according to Salary.com. However, the average salary can vary depending on geography, knowledge, experience in the industry, and education levels.

What Is The Salary Of Data Engineers?

The data engineering profession also offers higher average salaries. On average the data engineers earn approximately  109,000 USD annually according to Salary.com. However, the average salary can vary depending on the certifications, geography, knowledge, experience in the industry, and education levels.

Have you checked out the 10 Top Paying Cloud Computing Certifications in 2021 yet?

Cloud Engineering vs Data Engineering – Which Is Better?

Now that we have briefly discussed both cloud engineering and data engineering, you should have a basic idea. When we have to decide which is better, the answer would be dependent on so many factors. For companies, data is very important but implementing the applications on the cloud is equally important. This is just a generic expression, however, both cloud engineers and data engineers go hand in hand in many organizations to implement business solutions.

If you work in IT then you would be exposed to both cloud and data engineering roles or might have heard about them. If you aspire to enter these professions, and want to know which is better, the answer is the combination of both. Yes, data engineers extensively cloud services, and cloud engineers use data for applications on cloud platforms.

If you don’t have a relevant background then you can research and identify your interests first. You should enroll in an in-depth program to learn and demonstrate the required skills. Some certifications provide you with the opportunity to become data engineers on a cloud platform. For instance, Google offers the Google Professional Data Engineer certification for IT professionals who intend to be data engineers on the GCP.

Check out Google Professional Data Engineer – A Complete Guide now!

Ultimately, choosing the best profession among the two depends on your situation and the types of jobs you want to get into. The factor to decide if cloud engineering or data engineering is better from an individual perspective is linked to your priorities. If salary and career growth are the factors then take time to look up jobs in both the roles and see what the companies are looking for in the candidates. Between cloud and data engineering, see where most of your priorities and deciding factors align, the one with the majority is the better choice.

About Pavan Gumaste

Pavan Rao is a programmer / Developer by Profession and Cloud Computing Professional by choice with in-depth knowledge in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform. He helps the organisation figure out what to build, ensure successful delivery, and incorporate user learning to improve the strategy and product further.

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