Top 5 Exciting Data Engineering Projects & Ideas For Beginners [2020]

Data Engineering Projects & Topics

Data engineering is among the core branches of big data. If you’re studying to become a data engineer and want some projects to showcase your skills (or gain knowledge), you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss data engineering project ideas you can work on and several data engineering projects, and you should be aware of it. 

You should note that you should be familiar with some topics and technologies before you work on these projects. Companies are always on the lookout for skilled data engineers who can develop innovative data engineering projects. So, if you are a beginner, the best thing you can do is work on some real-time data engineering projects.

We, here at upGrad, believe in a practical approach as theoretical knowledge alone won’t be of help in a real-time work environment. In this article, we will be exploring some interesting data engineering projects which beginners can work on to put their data engineering knowledge to test. In this article, you will find top data engineering projects for beginners to get hands-on experience.

Amid the cut-throat competition, aspiring Developers must have hands-on experience with real-world data engineering projects. In fact, this is one of the primary recruitment criteria for most employers today. As you start working on data engineering projects, you will not only be able to test your strengths and weaknesses, but you will also gain exposure that can be immensely helpful to boost your career.

That’s because you’ll need to complete the projects correctly. Here are the most important ones:

  • Python and its use in big data
  • Extract Transform Load (ETL) solutions
  • Hadoop and related big data technologies
  • Concept of data pipelines
  • Apache Airflow

Also Read: Big Data Project Ideas

What is a Data Engineer?

Data engineers make raw data usable and accessible to other data professionals. Organizations have multiple sorts of data, and it’s the responsibility of data engineers to make them consistent, so data analysts and scientists can use the same. If data scientists and analysts are pilots, then data engineers are the plane-builders. Without the latter, the former can’t perform its tasks. 

Some tasks of a data engineer are:

  • Acquiring and sourcing data from multiple places
  • Cleaning the data and get rid of useless data & errors
  • Remove any duplicates present in the sourced data
  • Transform the data into the required format

As the demand for big data is increasing, the need for data engineers is rising accordingly. Now that you know what a data engineer does, we can start discussing our data engineering projects. 

Let’s start looking for data engineering projects to build your very own data projects!

So, here are a few data engineering projects which beginners can work on:

Data Engineering Projects You Should Know About

To become a proficient data engineer, you should be aware of your sector’s latest and most popular tools. That’s why we’ll focus on the data engineering projects you should be mindful of:

1. Prefect

Prefect is a data pipeline manager through which you can parametrize and build DAGs for tasks. It is new, quick, and easy-to-use, due to which it has become one of the most popular data pipeline tools in the industry. Prefect has an open-source framework where you can build and test workflows. The added facility of private infrastructure enhances its utility further because it eliminates many security risks a cloud-based infrastructure might pose. 

Even though Prefect offers a private infrastructure for running the code, you can always monitor and check the work through their cloud. Prefect’s framework is based on Python, and even though it’s entirely new in the market, you’d benefit greatly from learning Prefect. 

2. Cadence

Cadence is a fault-tolerant coding platform that gets rid of many complexities of building distributed applications. It secures the complete application state that allows you to program without worrying about the scalability, availability, and durability of your application. It has a framework as well as a backend service. Its structure supports multiple languages, including Java and Go. Cadence facilitates horizontal scaling along with a replication of past events. Such replication enables easy recovery from any sorts of zone failures. As you would’ve guessed by now, Cadence is undoubtedly a technology you should be familiar with as a data engineer. 

3. Amundsen

Amundsen is a product of Lyft and is a metadata and data discovery solution. Amundsen offers multiple services to users that make it a worthy addition to any data engineer’s arsenal. The metadata service, for example, takes care of the metadata requests of the front-end. Similarly, it has a framework called data builder to extract metadata from the required sources. Other prominent components of this solution are the search service, the library repository named Common, and the front-end service, which runs the Amundsen web app. 

4. Great Expectations

Great Expectations is a Python library that lets you validate and define rules for datasets. After determining the rules, validating data sets becomes easy and efficient. Moreover, you can use Great Expectations with Pandas, Spark, and SQL. It has data profilers that can produce automated expectations, along with clean documentation for HTML data. While it’s relatively new, it is certainly gaining popularity among data professionals. Great Expectations automates the verification process for new data you receive from other parties (teams and vendors). It saves a lot of time in data cleaning, which can be a very exhaustive process for any data engineer. 

Must Read: Data Mining Project Ideas

Data Engineering Project Ideas You can Work on

This list of data engineering projects for students is suited for beginners, intermediates & experts. These data engineering projects will get you going with all the practicalities you need to succeed in your career.

Further, if you’re looking for data engineering projects for final year, this list should get you going. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into some data engineering projects that will strengthen your base and allow you to climb up the ladder.

Here are some data engineering project ideas that should help you take a step forward in the right direction.

1. Build a Data Warehouse

One of the best ideas to start experimenting you hands-on data engineering projects for students is building a data warehouse. Data warehousing is among the most popular skills for data engineers. That’s why we recommend building a data warehouse as a part of your data engineering projects. This project will help you understand how you can create a data warehouse and its applications. 

A data warehouse collects data from multiple sources (that are heterogeneous) and transforms it into a standard, usable format. Data warehousing is a vital component of Business Intelligence (BI) and helps in using data strategically. Other common names for data warehouses are:

  • Analytic Application
  • Decision Support System
  • Management Information System

Data warehouses are capable of storing large quantities of data and primarily help business analysts with their tasks. You can build a data warehouse on the AWS cloud and add an ETL pipeline to transfer and transform the data into the warehouse. Once you’ve completed this project, you’d be familiar with nearly all aspects of data warehousing. 

2. Perform Data Modeling for a Streaming Platform

One of the best ideas to start experimenting you hands-on data engineering projects for students is performing data modeling. In this project, a streaming platform (such as Spotify or Gaana) wants to analyze its user’s listening preferences to enhance their recommendation system. As the data engineer, you have to perform data modeling so they can explain their user data adequately. You’ll have to create an ETL pipeline with Python and PostgreSQL. Data modeling refers to developing comprehensive diagrams that display the relationship between different data points. 

Some of the user points you would have to work with would be:

  • The albums and songs the user has liked
  • The playlists present in the user’s library 
  • The genres the user listens to the most
  • How long the user listens to a particular song and its timestamp

Such information would help you model the data correctly and provide an effective solution to the platform’s problem. After completing this project, you’d have ample experience in using PostgreSQL and ETL pipelines. 

3. Build and Organize Data Pipelines

If you’re a beginner in data engineering, you should start with this data engineering project. Our primary task in this project is to manage the workflow of our data pipelines through software. We’re using an open-source solution in this project, Apache Airflow. Managing data pipelines is a crucial task for a data engineer, and this project will help you become proficient in the same. 

Apache Airflow is a workflow management platform and started in Airbnb in 2018. Such software allows users to manage complex workflows easily and organize them accordingly. Apart from creating workflows and managing them in Apache Airflow, you can also build plugins and operators for the task. They will enable you to automate the pipelines, which would reduce your workload considerably and increase efficiency.

4. Create a Data Lake 

This is an excellent data engineering projects for beginners. Data lakes are becoming more critical in the industry, so you can build one and enhance your portfolio. Data lakes are repositories for storing structured as well as unstructured data at any scale. They allow you to store your data as-is, i.e., and you don’t have to structure your data before adding it to the storage. This is one of the trending data engineering projects. Because you can add your data into the data lake without needing any modification, the process becomes quick and allows real-time addition of data.

Many popular and latest implementations such as machine learning and analytics require a data lake to function correctly. With data lakes, you can add multiple file-types in your repository, add them in real-time, and perform crucial functions on the data quickly. That’s why you should build a data lake in your project and learn the most about this technology.

You can create a data lake by using Apache Spark on the AWS cloud. To make the project more interesting, you can also perform ETL functions to better transfer data within the data lake. Mentioning data engineering projects can help your resume look much more interesting than others.

5. Perform Data Modeling Through Cassandra

This is one of the interesting data engineering projects to create. Apache Cassandra is an open-source NoSQL database management system that enables users to use vast quantities of data. Its main benefit is it allows you to use the data spread across multiple commodity servers, which mitigates the risk of failure. Because your data is spread across various servers, one server’s failure wouldn’t cause your entire operation to shut down. This is just one of the many reasons why Cassandra is a popular tool among prominent data professionals. It also offers high scalability and performance. 

In this project, you’d have to perform data modelling by using Cassandra. However, when modelling data through Cassandra, you should keep a few points in mind. First, make sure that your data is spread evenly. It is one of the trending data engineering projects. While Cassandra helps in ensuring an even spread of your data, you’d have to double-check this for surety. 

Secondly, use the smallest amount of partitions the software reads while modelling. That’s because a high number of reading partitions would put an added load on your system and hamper overall performance. After finishing this project, you’d be familiar with multiple features and applications of Apache Cassandra. 

Learn More about Data Engineering

These are a few data engineering projects that you could try out!

Now go ahead and put to test all the knowledge that you’ve gathered through our data engineering projects guide to build your very own data engineering projects!

Becoming a data engineer is no easy feat; there are many topics one has to cover to become an expert. However, if you’re interested in learning more about big data and data engineering, you should head to our blog. There, we share many resources (such as this one) regularly. 

On the other hand, you can also enrol in a Big Data Course and learn all the required skills and concepts to become a data engineer. 

We hope that you liked this article. If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to let us know through the comments below.

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