Data Engineering Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover how much a professional in data engineering earns in different companies, cities, and with different levels of experience and explore whether this is the career for you.

[Featured Image]:  A male data engineer is wearing a blue shirt and dark jacket.  He is working  at his laptop, at his desk in an office with other team members.

As a data engineer, you organize databases and data warehouses, optimizing them for data storage and retrieval. Data engineers help companies make sense of big data with SQL, NoSQL, or hybrid infrastructures. 

It's easier than ever to collect, store, and analyze massive amounts of data, increasing the demand for database engineer skills and experience. In this guide, you’ll learn what data engineers do, what can affect their salaries, and how you can get started on this exciting career path. 

What does a data engineer do?

Data engineers are responsible for the engineering behind the systems that store, extract, and process data. They build and maintain applications' databases and manage the infrastructure that allows them to run. As a data engineer, you might be responsible for a SQL data store and a MongoDB NoSQL data warehouse, where you’ll take care of all the activities that help ensure data is accessible.

Data engineers also work as a team with software engineers and developers, data analysts, and designers. Together, these professionals have the expertise to collect and manipulate data others use to achieve critical business objectives.

Data engineer responsibilities vary widely by organization. As a data engineer, you may do some or all of the following:

  • Design indexes on data stores (where queries will be fast) 

  • Choose the best storage technology (SQL or NoSQL) 

  • Ensure the datastore is up-to-date and replicate it across multiple machines. 

  • Tune data warehouses 

  • Create query plans and validate results

  • Identify patterns in historical data 

  • Analyze and optimize database performance

As a data engineer, you’ll combine cutting-edge technical skills with creativity, often in business-critical applications.

How much do data engineers make?

According to , data engineers earn a median annual salary of $138,700 in Canada [1]. Meanwhile, senior data engineers can earn up to $160,860 annually [2]. Generally, you can expect to earn a higher-than-average salary as a data engineer.

Factors affecting salary

How much you’ll earn as a data engineer depends on your level of education, certifications, years of experience, company size, industry, and location. Here's what you need to know.


A bachelor's degree is often the minimum requirement for a data engineering position. Companies often prefer a master's degree or professional doctorate and typically look to hire senior-level data engineers with proven leadership skills and industry experience. Advanced degrees can increase earning potential by rapidly elevating you to senior roles. 


Specialized certifications, such as Cloudera Certified Data Engineer, demonstrate specific skills employers seek. Certifications from IBM, Amazon, Google, Oracle, and Microsoft can also help you earn more and get jobs in specialist roles. Here are some data engineer certifications to consider:

  • Google Certified Data Engineer Certification

  • Data Engineer Certifications by Microsoft

  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional

  • Google Professional Data Engineer

  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Associate Big Data Engineer

  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Big Data Engineer

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Data Analytics – Specialty

  • Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification

Level of experience 

As you gain more experience as a data engineer, your salary will likely increase. With experience, you can usually expect to move into more senior roles, such as senior data engineer.


How much you'll earn varies with location. Part of the salary disparity between regions is that living in some areas of Canada costs less, and companies often base their pay structures on that cost of living. 

Here are the median data engineer salaries in provinces in Canada as of May 2024, according to [1]:

  • Quebec: $135,047

  • Ontario: $136,542

  • Alberta: $134,250

  • British Columbia: $134,812 

Here are the median data engineer salaries for select cities in Canada as of May 2024:

  • Toronto: $145,000 [3]

  • Montreal: $109,904 [4]

  • Vancouver: $135,062 [5]

Company size

Company size often impacts data engineer salaries. Companies offering higher salaries tend to be larger employers, such as IBM, Amazon, Meta, and Google, and often have larger, more experienced data science teams.

Job title variations and salary

Data engineer job titles vary by company, tasks, and skills required. Here are some common titles data engineers can have [1]:

  • Software development engineer: $124,803

  • Systems engineer: $120,653

  • Software engineer: $132,604

  • .NET developer: $136,250

  • Application developer: $118,207

  • Software developer: $104,818

  • Systems administrator: $94,342 

How to become a data engineer: Next steps

To become a data engineer, you should work to build and demonstrate a solid competency base across database technologies and coding. Data engineers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, some certifications, and professional experience.

Getting started with data engineering

If you’re ready to take the next step in your data engineering career, you may want to consider IBM’s Data Engineering Foundations Specialization or the IBM Data Engineering Professional Certificate. These provide you with the opportunity to learn foundational knowledge in data engineering.

Article sources

1, “Data Engineer average salary in Canada,”Accessed May 8, 2024.

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