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Staff Data Engineer

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Software Engineering, Data Science
Remote · United States
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2023

The salary range for this role takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to skill sets; experience and training; licensure and certifications; and other business and organizational needs.

At WGU, it is not typical for an individual to be hired at or near the top of the range for their role, and compensation decisions are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. A reasonable estimate of the current range is:

Pay Range: $127,700.00 - $191,500.00

If you’re passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you’re committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.

Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

The Staff Data Engineer should be agnostic to tools and should be able to supervise, design, architect and code using Apache Spark and other cloud technologies. The position will supervise and design how data will flow through hybrid data environments comprised of open-source big data platforms and traditional database systems. The core responsibility for this position includes supervision of data engineering technical aspects, design of data and system architecture for the Data Lake and data warehouse, supervision of the technical aspects of a data engineering team and projects encompassing dimensional and normalized data modeling. The Staff Data Engineer will improve technical standards in the environment ensuring optimal use of data warehouse and other data stores to solve business problems. They will serve as the lead engineer and go to person for all aspects of the data engineer team including solution architecture of data systems.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Supervise work on cloud technologies and architect scalable and performant Data Lake systems.

  • Establish design and methodology for database build processes.

  • Supervise the architecture and design of complete data model solutions.

  • Supervise necessary data protection and security processes.

  • Create and design extract processes for data access layer.

  • Translate business problems/information requirements accurately to logical/physical data models aligning with customers’ data architecture standards.

  • Supervise and perform research and analysis to find solutions for complex business problems.

  • Monitor job performance and fine tune Spark SQL queries as appropriate on a regular basis.

  • Supervise the profiling of data, the publishing of data profiles and corrective actions if required to ensure data quality.

  • Supervise and perform documentation / reverse engineering / analysis of data mapping using data integration code/tools.

  • Work with APIs for data wrangling and integrations with other systems data in the EDW.

  • Perform impact analysis using Data Integration/Data Virtualization tool repositories, DB data dictionary, UNIX scripts and frontend code on versioning systems.

  • Analyze / research data on multiple platforms as wells as multiple heterogeneous databases including custom developed databases.

  • Positively impact projects by completing tasks assigned on time.

  • Communicate technical and domain knowledge as it relates to work, to both technical and non-technical audiences.

  • Ingest and transform structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data from sources including relational databases, NoSQL, external APIs, JSON, XML, delimited files, and more.

  • Support business and functional requirements and translate these requirements into robust, scalable, solutions.

  • Collaborate with engineers to help adopt best practices in data system creation, data integrity, test design, analysis, validation, and documentation.

  • Help continually improve ongoing reporting and analysis processes, automate, or simplify self-service modelling and production support for customers.

  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skill and Abilities:

  • Expertise with analytical reporting tools, preferably Cognos and Tableau.

  • Mastery in code based ETL/ ELT tools for importing and exporting data across disparate systems.

  • Expertise in analytic skills related to working with unstructured datasets.

  • Use of industry best practices for code development, testing, implementation and documentation.

  • Ability to evaluate and prioritize work based on the organization’s needs.

  • Ability to supervise cross team projects to accomplish data integrations and pipelines.

  • Supervisory abilities for data engineering team with respect to technical design and architecture.

  • Excellent verbal & written communication, along with technical documentation

  • Ability to work and deliver in a team environment

  • Ability to manage the use of tools like Jira, Confluence, GitHub

  • Architect and Develop processes for audit of Data Integrity

  • Ability to mentor Associate/Senior/Data Engineer in data pipeline architecture and coding standards

  • Supervise Validation and testing to analyze and debug issues

  • Mastery of AWS cloud technologies, REST API, and HTML5

  • Mastery of relational SQL and NoSQL databases

  • Mastery with object-oriented/object function scripting languages: Python, Java, Scala

  • Mastery of big data tools: Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, Databricks, etc.


Organizational or Student Impact:

  • Recommends and implements changes in technical/business processes; identifies areas for improvement.

  • Helps lead/coordinate extremely complex technical projects and programs and leads development and implementation of innovative solutions for specialized technical issues.

  • Works proactively; identifies and helps prevent/ solve problems that may cross disciplines.

  • Fully understands and quantifies project risks with impact. Identifies, generates, and implements innovative solutions.

Problem Solving & Decision Making:

  • This individual accomplishes goals and objectives independently.

  • Builds and leads teams, influencing decisions and results.

  • Uses discretion to fully scope, design, and implement solutions to complex technical problems.

  • The individual provides regular technical advice and direction to technical teams and management.

  • Models and helps set high standards for effective interactions with internal and external individuals.

Communication & Influence:

  • Communicates with parties within and outside of their job function and typically has responsibilities for communicating with parties external to the organization.

  • Works to influence others to accept and understand new concepts, practices, and approaches. Requires ability to communicate with executive leadership regarding matters of significant importance to the organization.

  • This individual may conduct briefings with senior leaders within the technical function.


  • Frequently responsible for providing guidance, coaching, and training to other employees across the Company within the area of expertise.

  • Responsible for managing large, complex project initiatives or strategically important solutions to the organization, involving large cross-functional teams.

  • May have direct reports but generally fewer than three.

Job Qualifications:

  • M. S. in Business, Management Information Systems, Computer Science, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of experience and training.

  • Seven or more years of experience as a Data Engineer, Data Integration, Big Data, or Business Intelligence Engineer with a background as a Software Engineer.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong experience with distance education and distance learning students is preferred.

  • Higher Education domain knowledge

  • Experience as a Lead or Staff Data Engineer



As an equal opportunity employer, WGU recognizes that our strength lies in our people. We are committed to diversity.