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The role of Analytics Engineers in Modern Data Teams

By november 3, 2023maart 5th, 2024No Comments

In the dynamic world of data management and analytics, the landscape is constantly evolving.

Traditional data teams, typically segmented into data engineers and data analysts, are witnessing a transformative change with the introduction of a new key player: the Analytics Engineer.

Understanding ETL vs. ELT to appreciate Analytics Engineers

To appreciate the significance of the Analytics Engineer, it’s crucial to differentiate between the traditional ETL process and the more recent ELT approach:

ETL involves extracting data from various sources, transforming it (often on a separate machine or platform), and then loading it into a data warehouse. This sequence prioritizes data transformation before it enters the data warehouse.

ELT flips part of this process. Raw data is first extracted from its sources and loaded directly into a data warehouse. Only after this step does transformation occur, utilizing the powerful computational abilities of modern cloud-based data warehouses such as Snowflake.

A simple explanation of traditional data teams

Traditionally, the division of labor was between data engineers and data analysts.

Data engineers are like plumbers for data, making sure it flows right in a company. But with data coming from everywhere now, their job is super tough — like handling water for a city, not just one house.

Data analysts are like chefs who turn data into reports to help companies make smart moves. With so much more data to clean and cook, their work’s gotten way harder, like cooking for a city, not just one meal.

Nowadays, both roles are way busier than before because there’s just so much more data to handle.

Enter a new role: the Analytics Engineer

Now there’s this new person on the team, the Analytics Engineer. They’re the middle-man who gets the data ready for the heavy-duty thinking. They take the raw stuff and tidy it up so it’s easier to work with.

With this new role in the mix, data engineers can breathe a bit easier. They focus on setting up the data stuff right from the start and make sure everything’s running smoothly. It’s like they make sure the water gets to the house and it’s clean.

Data analysts get a nicer deal too. They get data that’s already cleaned up and sorted, so they can just dive in and figure out what things the data is telling us. They make the charts and maps that help the management make the big decisions.

This new setup means everyone can work smarter and faster. It’s all about getting from a big pile of raw data to the golden nuggets of knowledge that help the company win.


The introduction of the Analytics Engineer role is more than just a shift in responsibilities; it reflects a broader transformation in how data is processed, understood, and utilized in businesses today. This evolution underscores the importance of adaptability and continuous learning in the field.

As data infrastructures become more sophisticated and the volume of data continues to explode, the roles within data teams will likely continue to evolve, highlighting the dynamic nature of this field.

The adoption of innovative tools like dbt (data build tool) plays a pivotal role in modern data workflows. They contribute to accelerating the transformation and allow professionals to work in a smart way..

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