Data engineers are the unsung heroes of the data analytics industry. Their work is essential to the success of a company's data analytics efforts.

Data engineers build pipelines that help companies collect, merge, and transform data to facilitate seamless analytics. They're responsible for creating an infrastructure design that enables modern data analytics.

Data engineers' needs are divided into various sets of requirements that they must meet to build a pipeline. These requirements include collecting and merging data from numerous sources, transforming it into a format that other applications can use, and storing it in various forms so that the appropriate users can easily access it.

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What Is Data Engineering?

Data engineering is the process of extracting, transforming, and loading data into a data warehouse or data lake. Data engineering is typically performed by data scientists or engineers who are experts at using analytical tools to solve problems using big data

A data engineer may use various tools and technologies to extract data from multiple sources, including relational databases, NoSQL databases, log files, and other sources. The extracted data can then be transformed into a different format to be loaded into a database.

Top Data Engineering Tools

1. Python

Python has been gaining popularity as a language for data engineers because of its flexibility, ease of use, and ability to adapt to any situation.

Python also has built-in libraries that make it easy to write code with fewer lines than in other languages. It means less time writing code and more time focusing on the actual work of being a data engineer!

2. SQL

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a language used to access relational databases. It is the most common, popular, and widely used language for managing data.

3. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is the most reliable, secure, and high-performance open-source relational database. It has all the features you need to do your job, focusing on data integrity, security, and performance.

It is one of the open-source databases that offer a full range of enterprise capabilities, including sophisticated authentication, replication, backup/restore, web client libraries, and language APIs.

4. MongoDB

MongoDB is a free, open-source database that makes it easy to build and scale applications in the cloud.

MongoDB automatically indexes and maps data, so you never have to tell it how to do that. It's built around JSON documents, so you can use it to store and query data using your favorite programming language. It's also incredibly fast—so fast that you can build apps without worrying about performance bottlenecks.

5. Apache Spark

Apache Spark is an open-source cluster computing framework designed to process big data. It's used by major companies and organizations worldwide, including Netflix, Spotify, and Yahoo!

Spark was designed to handle batch and stream processing methods and machine learning algorithms. It can run in Hadoop clusters or on its own.

It has a strong community behind it, and it's backed by major companies like Intel, IBM, and Microsoft, investing heavily in its development.

6. Apache Kafka

Apache Kafka is a technology that can help you to build a data pipeline that can handle massive amounts of data. Many financial companies and large corporations use it, but it's also an excellent fit for smaller businesses.

Kafka allows you to ingest and process any type of message in real-time. It stores messages in topics so they can be retrieved later, and it offers built-in high-availability features, so your data is always available when needed.

7. Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift is today's most powerful, scalable, cost-effective data warehouse solution. It's easy to use, fast and reliable.

With Amazon Redshift, you can analyze all your data from multiple sources in a single place. You can query hundreds of billions of rows in seconds with parallel SQL queries that simultaneously process data on all nodes. And you don't have to worry about backup and recovery because Redshift automatically manages your clusters for you.

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8. Snowflake

Snowflake is a cloud data warehouse that allows you to store, manage, and analyze all your data. You can set up clusters automatically and scale out or in at any time. Snowflake works with famous programming languages such as Javascript and Python, which makes it a very flexible product for engineers.

9. Amazon Athena

Amazon Athena is a fully-managed data service that allows users to query data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. It's easy to use and offers a robust set of features that make it ideal for ad hoc analysis, interactive queries, and simple visualizations.

Athena is the best choice for anyone who wants to run SQL queries on their data stored in Amazon S3 without managing infrastructure or worrying about scaling up as requirements change.

10. Apache Airflow

Apache Airflow is a tool created to help you manage your data pipelines. A workflow scheduler makes building, monitoring, and optimizing data pipelines easy.

You can use Apache Airflow to perform any task you need to run repeatedly on large datasets. It includes functions like ETL, data analysis, and machine learning. You can also create more complex workflows than simple scripts or tasks (like webhooks).

11. Big Query

BigQuery is a powerful tool that lets you analyze massive datasets without worrying about the infrastructure.

BigQuery's speed and scalability make it ideal for leveraging machine learning and AI to extract insights from your data. You can also use it to store and query your data in real time, making it an excellent option for applications like ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes or real-time dashboards.

12. Tableau

Tableau is a powerful business intelligence tool that allows you to visualize the data in your organization.

The platform uses drag-and-drop features and a wide range of visualization options to create stunning, informative dashboards for teams across your organization. Tableau's intuitive interface and easy-to-use features make it an ideal choice for users new to data visualization, analytics, and data engineering.

13. Looker

Looker offers its users a variety of features that allow them to create reports with data visualization. LookML is an SQL-based analytics tool that displays dimensions, aggregates, and calculations in a database while allowing users to create visualizations and graphs for each data set. It will enable engineers to communicate and share information effectively with their coworkers and customers.

14. Apache Hive

Apache Hive is an open-source data warehouse software project developed by Facebook and Hortonworks. It provides a SQL-like language called HiveQL for querying data stored in Hadoop.

Hive enables users to query large datasets stored in HDFS using SQL. It can query and analyze data at any scale, from gigabytes to petabytes and beyond.

15. Segment

Segment is a tool for collecting and analyzing user data. The company collects data from users, translates it into actionable information, and stores the information in an automated man

It enables data engineers to use machine learning and data automation more efficiently in their processes.

16. Dbt

data is a data engineering tool that allows you to model, transform, and deploy your data warehouse. 

It provides a safe development environment for ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) tasks. You can use SQL to build models, test them, document them, and then deploy using Git. dbt promotes git-enabled version control and team collaboration.

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17. Redash

Data engineers can use Redash to query, visualize and share data from multiple sources. The tools and interface of this system provide communication and understanding of data across all levels and departments.

By creating an environment where everyone can access the correct information at the right time, Redash allows for more informed decisions. It ultimately leads to better business outcomes.

18. Fivetran

Fivetran is a data integration tool that allows you to consolidate your business processes and customer data collected from related applications, websites, and servers. The collected data can then be transferred to other analytics, marketing, and warehousing tools.

With Fivetran, Data engineers can transform your business processes and customer data collection into an efficient process by collecting all the information you need in one place. Then you can transfer that information to other analytics, marketing, and data warehousing tools.

19. Power BI

Power BI is a business analytics platform for data discovery, visualization, and reporting. Leading companies have used it worldwide to make better decisions, deliver faster insights, and optimize business performance. 

It helps you analyze data from any source—including SAP, Salesforce, SQL Server, Oracle Database, MongoDB, and other on-premises or cloud-based sources.

20. Periscope 

Periscope Data is a data analytics platform that helps you find insights into your data. With Periscope, you can effortlessly search and analyze your company's data, including customer information, employee information, and sales data. You can also use the platform to collaborate with your team on projects and get real-time updates on trends within your company.

21. Prefect

Prefect is a dataflow automation platform that helps you create, manage and run workflows. Prefect makes it easy to connect and manage your data so that you can focus on your business.

Prefect's workflow engine lets you define tasks and dependencies between them, then automatically executes the workflow based on events or triggers. It allows you to create custom workflows with no coding required quickly. 

22. Presto

Presto is a query engine that allows users to perform large-scale, distributed queries on the cloud. It's built on top of Apache Hadoop and uses SQL syntax to allow users to run queries on their data. Presto can perform complex queries, join multiple tables and files, and easily handle massive amounts of data—all while ensuring that your information remains secure.

23. Metabase

Metabase's BI tool allows you to connect all of your data—from any source—and make it easily accessible and understandable. You can create custom dashboards that pull in the data you need, allowing you to make informed decisions quickly and with confidence.

You'll also be able to use Metabase's visualization tools to create reports and charts that will help you communicate with stakeholders, investors, and anyone else who needs a clear picture of what's going on at your company.

What's Next in Data Engineering?

1. Advanced Automation and AI-Driven Processes

Automation in data engineering is set to advance further, with AI and machine learning (ML) playing pivotal roles. AI-driven data engineering tools can automate complex decision-making processes within data workflows, from data quality checks to transformation logic. These advancements will significantly reduce manual effort and errors, leading to more efficient and reliable data pipelines.

2. Real-Time Data Streaming and Processing

The need for real-time data insights is pushing advancements in data streaming and processing technologies. Technologies like Apache Kafka, Apache Flink, and various cloud-native services are evolving to enable more sophisticated real-time analytics, supporting use cases from instant fraud detection to dynamic pricing models.

3. Data Mesh and Decentralized Data Architectures

Data mesh is an architectural paradigm focusing on decentralizing data ownership and governance, promoting a domain-oriented decentralized approach to data management. This concept advocates for treating data as a product, with clear ownership and lifecycle management, facilitating better access, quality, and control across large organizations.

4. Enhanced Data Governance and Quality Frameworks

As data landscapes become more complex, robust data governance and quality frameworks will become increasingly important. Organizations will adopt more sophisticated tools and practices to ensure data accuracy, consistency, security, and compliance with regulations like GDPR and CCPA. This focus will help in building trust in data and analytics outcomes.

5. Cloud-native Data Engineering

The shift towards cloud-native architectures is transforming data engineering practices. Cloud-native services and tools offer scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness, enabling organizations to adapt quickly to changing data needs. The integration of serverless computing in data pipelines for on-demand processing is a notable trend in this space.

6. Edge Computing and IoT Data Engineering

With the explosion of IoT devices, edge computing is becoming a key area in data engineering. Processing data closer to its source reduces latency and bandwidth use, enabling more responsive and context-aware applications. Data engineering will need to adapt to manage and analyze data across distributed networks efficiently.

7. DataOps and MLOps Integration

The integration of DataOps and MLOps methodologies is gaining momentum, focusing on improving the collaboration between data engineers, data scientists, and operations teams. This integration aims to streamline the end-to-end lifecycle of data and ML models, from development to deployment and monitoring, ensuring faster delivery of reliable and impactful data products.

8. Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

As privacy concerns grow, data engineering will increasingly incorporate privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). Techniques such as differential privacy, federated learning, and secure multi-party computation will enable organizations to leverage data while protecting individual privacy.

9. Graph Data Processing

The use of graph databases and processing frameworks is on the rise, driven by applications that require sophisticated relationship analysis, such as social networks, fraud detection, and recommendation systems. Graph processing capabilities will become more integrated into data engineering tools and platforms.

10. Cross-platform Data Integration

The future of data engineering will likely see further advancements in cross-platform data integration tools, enabling seamless data movement and integration across diverse environments, from on-premises to multiple clouds. This capability will be crucial for organizations leveraging hybrid and multi-cloud architectures.

Advantages of Using Data Engineering Tools

1. Improved Data Quality

Data engineering tools implement sophisticated algorithms and processes to ensure data accuracy, consistency, and integrity. They can automatically detect and correct errors, remove duplicates, and validate data against predefined criteria, enhancing data quality. This improvement is foundational for generating reliable insights and supporting informed decision-making.

2. Decision-making

With access to high-quality, processed data, organizations can leverage advanced analytics and machine learning models to uncover trends, patterns, and insights. Data engineering tools facilitate the aggregation and visualization of data, enabling stakeholders to make data-driven decisions swiftly. This capability can significantly impact strategic planning, operational efficiency, and competitive advantage.

3. Cost Savings

Data engineering tools can lead to significant cost savings by automating tasks that were traditionally performed manually. Automation reduces the need for extensive human intervention, thereby lowering labor costs. Additionally, these tools can optimize data storage and processing, which minimizes infrastructure costs and improves resource utilization.

4. Automated ETL Processing

ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes are crucial for data integration from multiple sources. Data engineering tools automate these processes, ensuring efficient data consolidation, transformation, and loading into a centralized repository. Automation minimizes errors and speeds up data availability, enabling timely analysis and reporting.

5. Organization

Data engineering tools help structure and organize vast amounts of data. They enable the creation of logical data models, categorization of data, and implementation of metadata management practices. This organization ensures data is easily accessible, understandable, and usable.

6. Building Data Pipelines

These tools are essential for designing and managing data pipelines that automate data flow from source to destination. Data pipelines facilitate the seamless movement of data through various processing stages, ensuring that data is readily available where and when needed.

7. Data Cleansing

Data cleansing is a critical process to ensure the quality of data. Data engineering tools offer sophisticated functionalities to clean data by identifying anomalies, inconsistencies, and irrelevant information. Cleansing improves data accuracy and reliability, crucial for analytical models and decision-making processes.

8. Developing Data Models

Data models are fundamental for understanding and utilizing data effectively. Data engineering tools enable the development of complex data models that reflect the real-world entities and relationships within the data. These models are essential for analytics, reporting, and application development, providing a structured framework to interpret data.

9. Efficiency

Through automation and optimization, data engineering tools significantly enhance operational efficiency. They enable faster data processing, reduce manual errors, and allow data professionals to focus on higher-value tasks such as analysis and strategy development rather than spending time on routine data management tasks.

10. Enhancing Information Security

Data engineering tools incorporate robust security features to protect data against unauthorized access, breaches, and other cyber threats. They provide encryption, access control, auditing, and compliance features that help safeguard sensitive information and ensure data management practices adhere to regulatory standards.

11. Real-time Data Processing

In today’s fast-paced environment, processing and analyzing data in real-time is invaluable. Data engineering tools facilitate real-time data ingestion, processing, and analysis, enabling organizations to respond swiftly to emerging trends, operational changes, and customer behaviors.


Knowing the right tools is just the beginning. Training and certification are essential to truly unleashing your potential and becoming a leader in the field of data engineering. This is where the PGP in Data Engineering from Simplilearn, in partnership with Purdue, comes into play. Designed for those who are keen to advance their careers in this dynamic field, the program offers in-depth training in the most cutting-edge tools and technologies, practical insights from industry experts, and the flexibility to learn at your own pace.


1. Is Tableau required for a Data Engineer?

Tableau is not strictly required for a Data Engineer but is beneficial for those involved in data visualization and insights sharing. It complements data engineering skills by enabling the creation of interactive and shareable dashboards.

2. Is Informatica a Data Engineering tool?

Yes, Informatica is a data engineering tool widely used for ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes, data integration, and data quality management, making it valuable for data engineers.

3. Are there any free or open-source data engineering tools available?

Yes, there are several free or open-source data engineering tools available, such as Apache Airflow for workflow automation, Apache Kafka for real-time data streaming, and PostgreSQL for database management.

4. What are some common features of data engineering tools?

Common features include data integration, ETL processes, real-time data processing, workflow automation, data quality management, and support for various data sources and formats.

5. Are there any user-friendly data engineering tools suitable for beginners?

Yes, tools like KNIME and Talend offer graphical interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality that make them accessible and user-friendly for beginners in data engineering.