Big Data Engineer Salary: Your 2024 Pay Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Big data engineer is one of the fastest growing jobs in technology, with salaries to match the demand. Here’s a guide to what big data engineers can earn.

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It’s no secret that big data is the future—in fact, it's already very much integrated and needed in many of the products, services, and systems found in our society today. That means there is huge potential to make big bucks as a big data engineer. 

Typically, a big data engineer is not an entry-level position, so it’s a good idea to get your feet wet in other data professions before pursuing a big data engineer role. 

In 2020, the Dice Tech Job Report stated data engineering to be the fastest-growing job in technology, with a predicted 50 percent year-over-year growth in the number of open positions. [1]. This guide offers a look at big data engineer salaries and job market expectations.

What is big data engineering?

Big data engineers are professionals who are responsible for developing, maintaining, testing, analyzing, and evaluating a company’s data. “Big data” refers to the sweeping amount of data sets that companies collect in everyday business operations. A big data engineer interacts with data processing systems and databases to extract data and transform it into workable sets that can ultimately be used to improve an organization’s efficiency, profitability, and scalability. 

Read more: What Is a Big Data Engineer? A 2024 Career Guide

Data engineer vs. data analyst vs. data scientist: What’s the difference?

It's easy to confuse data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists, who all work with data in different ways. But, here's how they differ: data engineers build and maintain the systems that collect and extract data, while data analysts analyze this cleaned-up data to generate meaningful insights and solve business problems. Data scientists, meanwhile, are the ones who build new algorithms to make predictions about the future.

Want to learn more? Explore the difference between data analysts and data scientists.


How much do big data engineers make?

The average annual salary for big data engineers in the US is $126,585, according to Glassdoor [2]. However, salaries can be affected by a range of factors, including location, industry, and experience. Below are additional salary estimates from popular job boards.


Big data engineer salaries by location

Where you live (or where your company is based) can impact how much you'll make as a big data engineer. Typically, working from bigger cities like New York or San Francisco means a higher salary, to accommodate higher costs of living. But, as companies continue to shift toward a more remote workforce, some of them may offer location-based salaries, while others remain commensurate with experience levels.

Here’s a sampling of big data engineer salaries in large- and medium-sized cities across the United States:

CityAverage base salary (Glassdoor)
Seattle, WA$133,913
San Francisco, CA$143,330
Austin, TX$116,855
New York, NY$131,071
Los Angeles, CA$129,330
Cincinnati, OH$108,259
Miami, FL$112,290
Des Moines, IA$108,597
Denver, CO$116,719
Washington, DC$118,589

And salaries in some popular tech markets:

CountrySalary (Glassdoor)Salary in USD (February 2024)
SingaporeSGD 95,000$70,344
South Korea₩28M$20,894

Remote work vs. digital nomad

Salaries may also differ depending on your nationality and the country you choose to work from. While digital nomadism is on the rise, many tech companies in the US still do not allow employees to work permanently from another country.

It may be attractive to work in Portugal, Thailand, or Costa Rica, but you may need to be comfortable taking a pay cut if you are employed by a company based in any of these countries.

Read more: 15 Jobs that Allow You to Travel


Big data engineer salaries by industry

Nearly every industry today uses big data, so there is a huge demand for big data engineers to harness that data to drive decision-making. But, not every industry pays the same. Knowing which ones pay more can be beneficial for your career.

You can find big data engineering roles in many high-earning industries. Finance and insurance; professional, scientific, and technical services; information technology; management; and manufacturing make up over 75 percent of data job openings, according to The Quant Crunch, an IBM report on the demand for data science skills [3].

Tech companies are popular to work for because they tend to pay well. Meta, for example, ranges $150,000 to $193,000 for big data engineer base salaries, while Google pays between $139,000 to $185,000 [4,5]. 

Big data engineer salaries by experience

One of the factors that can influence your salary is your experience level. Generally, the more years of experience you gain as a big data engineer, the more you’ll earn. Here’s how experience can impact your base salary, according to Glassdoor [6]. 

  • 2-4 years, Data Engineer: $106,716

  • 5-7 years, Lead Data Engineer: $137,302

  • 8+ years, Principal Data Engineer: $163,026

  • 8+ years, Director of Data Engineering: $172,999

  • 8+ years, Vice President (VP) of Data Engineering: $174,470

In many of the roles above, “Senior” can be tacked onto the front of the job title and usually indicates a higher salary, typically of a few thousand extra dollars.

Many big data engineers start off in other entry-level positions, such as software engineers, business analysts, or data analysts. As you advance in your career, you might move into managerial positions or become a big data engineer, and then progress as you gain experience.

Read more: Data Analyst vs. Business Analyst: What’s the Difference?

Salaries for other big data and engineering professionals

Before and after you step into a role as big data engineer, there are plenty of opportunities to work in big data and engineering. Here are a few of their expected salaries, according to Glassdoor.

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Job outlook for big data engineers

Big data is being used across all industries, including manufacturing, government, and agriculture, to inform business decisions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places big data engineers under statisticians and computer and information research scientists, which have projected job growth of 30 percent and 23 percent, respectively, between 2022 and 2032 [7, 8].

Additionally, 75 percent of companies surveyed in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 said they’d be using big data, cloud computing, and AI by 2027. In the same report, data engineer is ranked 14th for jobs with increasing demand across industries [9].

Dive into big data engineering with Coursera

Get started on a potentially lucrative and fulfilling career in big data engineering. Take a look at IBM’s Data Engineering professional certificate to master job-ready skills like SQL, ETL, Big Data, and Spark, all at your own pace.

Article sources


Dice. “Dice Tech Job Report,” Accessed February 13, 2024.

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