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February 12, 2020

Demand for Data Engineers Up 50%, Report Says

Alex Woodie

(Joyseulay/Shutterstock)

Looking to hire a data or machine learning engineer? You’re not alone, as those two positions are among the fastest growing jobs in the country, according to recent figures.

The Dice 2020 Tech Job Report labeled data engineer as the fastest growing job in technology in 2019, with a 50% year-over-year growth in the number of open positions. Interest in the position has been burbling for years, as organizations discover data engineers are they key personnel for unlocking the value of their data.

The Dice report, which analyzed job postings from the past year as well as the nation’s top tech-job hubs, says the top five skills requested for data engineer positions include Python, SQL, big data, Hadoop, and ETL (in descending order). The Dice report also notes that AWS (i.e. cloud) skills are in high demand for data engineering jobs, as well as Scala and Hive skills.

It took an average of 46 days to fill an opening for a data engineer position, which the report notes “may increase in 2020 as more companies compete to find the talent they need to handle their sprawling data infrastructure.” Amazon, Accenture, and Capital One are all hiring data engineers at high rates, Dice says.

Kubernetes was hands-down the fastest-growing tech skill of 2019, according to the Dice report. “Given the popularity of containers,” the report states, “it’s no wonder that Kubernetes shows a year-over-year growth of 82%, along with a projected growth of more than 67% in the next 10 years.”

Docker software was the second fastest-growing tech skill at 42%, followed by Microsoft Azure (41%), DevOps (32%), React JavaScript (31%), and data science (28%).

The report also looked at demand for other skills, including data science and machine learning. It projects that demand for data science jobs will increase by 38% over the next 10 years, while demand for machine learning jobs will rise by 37% over the same time period.

San Francisco and New York remain the top cities for tech, Dice found. But other cities raked up big gains in the tech job scene, including Columbus, Ohio, which recorded 32% more tech job openings in 2019 than the previous years. San Diego, California also stood out with a 37% increase in tech jobs. But Jacksonville, Florida, took the case with a whopping 54% increase in tech jobs, driven by hiring by giants like Bank of America and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“It’s clear that smaller U.S. tech hubs are embracing data-rich roles and skillsets, which are key in growing any tech or non-tech business,” says Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc., parent company to Dice. “As the demand for technologists increases across the U.S., the time required to fill specialized roles will increase, requiring businesses to continue to find ways to stand out.”

We get another look into the state of engineering hiring from Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report.

Demand for data engineers rose a respectable 45%, the report found, while demand for machine learning engineers was up 89%. Computer vision engineers (146%), search engineers (137%), and security engineers (49%) also have good job prospects in 2020, according to the report.

The runaway leader in the engineering profession are those who can build virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) applications. According to Hired, demand for AR/VR engineers rose a whopping 1,400 % in 2019. The growth is due to the maturation of AR and VR technologies, the company says.

How the pop in demand for AR/VR engineers plays out over 2020 will be something to watch. In 2019, Hired said demand for blockchain engineers was up more than 500%. However, demand has petered out (just a tad), and the demand increased just 9% this year.

On the skill front, machine learning is the most in-demand skill among engineers, the report found, followed by user AR/VR, user experience, blockchain, and security. Go is the most in-demand programming language across the world, followed by Scala, Ruby, TypeScript, and Kotlin. Python was the 12th most in-demand language among engineers, the report found, while R was last.

In terms of pay, data engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area job market received a 6% salary boost to an average of $160,000 per year in 2019, according to Hired. Search engineers were the highest paid engineers, with an average salary of $165,000. When measured across other geographies, machine learning engineer was one of the best consistently high-paying jobs, with ML engineers landing in the top 10 highest paid jobs in every major market, Hired found.

At just 6%, engineering salaries rose at a slower rate in the SF Bay Area than the three other markets that Hired looked at. Engineers in London benefited from a 13% average rise, while New York and Toronto each recorded a 7% bump in pay.

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