Big data engineer

Computing and ICT

Career outlook for big data engineer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and it's continuously. Using their vast technical skills, big data engineers develop software that collects and analyses vast quantities of potentially vital information.

Businesses can then take this data and analyse it to help inform decisions or predict behaviour. It’s how websites like YouTube show you recommendations based on your past views and online behaviour. 

As a big data engineer you’d work behind the scenes to develop, maintain, test and evaluate big data solutions within organisations.

Collaborating with data architects, data scientists and analysts, you’d make sure any solution meets the business needs.

What you might do: 

  • Create and maintain complex computer systems that collect data 
  • Programme software to process high volumes of important information 
  • Design mathematical algorithms that simplify data analysis 
  • Work closely with data architects, analysts and data scientists  
  • Make sure the solutions you build meet all the business needs or requirements 

Working conditions


Working hours can vary, but usually full-time hours will be 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Some jobs or projects might require you to work longer hours or weekends.


You will usually be office based and working at a computer most of the time.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are a number of ways to get qualified for this job, through college, university or through work-based qualifications, such as apprenticeships.

Many big data engineers will have studied at HND or degree level in maths and technology fields such as:

  • Computer/data science

  • Computer engineering

  • Maths related subjects
  • Information technology

There are postgraduate data engineering courses available to graduates and practitioners with a background in an appropriate field such as business, quantitative science or computing.

Useful subjects

Many colleges and universities will have subjects that you must have for entry. They might also highlight additional subjects that they value. See individual institutions websites for specific entry information. 

Useful subjects would be:

  • Computer science

  • Maths

  • Business

  • Economics

Helpful to have

Not all employers list specific qualification requirements but they they might ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that demonstrates a range of transferable skills.

You would need to demonstrate up-to-date knowledge and experience of software and programming developments as well as many scripting languages.


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