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When Should I Build a Data Engineering Team?

Calendar icon 7th February 2022

By Josue Ngandu, a Consultant  within our Engineering team, based in Zeren‘s London Office.



The year 1600 is when early interpretations of Data were first thought to be documented. Fast-forward to 1640, and the word ‘data’ first saw its use in the English language. In 1663, John Graunt, the Founder of Demography, introduced Statistical Data Analysis during the Bubonic Plague. Four centuries later, and humanity is now obsessed with data; it now serves as one of the biggest industries across the world, and is widely viewed as the ‘new oil’.


In 2021, Big Data was estimated to be worth $215.7 Billion; a 76% increase from its value of $122 Billion in 2015. Data jobs are predicted to rise by 28% through now until 2026, and there has been a huge uptake in the need to hire within the industry. There are many roles and responsibilities within the world of Data, including how to process and store it; naturally, Data Engineers are imperative for taking on this challenge. So, what is Data Engineering?


Data Engineering is the complex task of making raw data usable to Data Scientists and groups within an organisation. There are different stages that exist within this process, and various positions within the overall life-cycle of converting raw data into something tangible. Data is developing at an exponential rate, and the need to hire more individuals to form a crucial part of the process that helps businesses provide Data to their consumers, is greater than ever.


672,890 Start-Ups were founded in the UK in 2018/2019 alone. That’s 1,843.5 a day or 76.8 per hour. Unfortunately, as of 2021, around 42% of Start-Up businesses fail, the main reasons being that there is no market-need for their services or product, that they run out of money, or that they simply hire the wrong individuals for the business.


How do you know that your business will not form part of the 42%? Firstly, you should only be ready to hire when you have a steady position that needs to be filled; it is crucial that you do not rush this process. Secondly, you should ensure that you have a great product-market fit; avoid becoming unoriginal, and be passionate about what it is that you are looking to build. Finally, and potentially the most important factor, is hiring the right talent at the right time. The team is pivotal to the success of a great product; working with like-minded individuals, who share the same passion and dedication, will give you a great chance of succeeding.


Within the realm of Data Engineering, there are different stages involved in the process of converting raw data to something tangible. If we break it down into five stages, in chronological order, you: Collect; Clean; Analyse; Build, and Deploy Data. There are many Languages and Data Engineering Tools that you will need to use to become a master at any of these steps. Each part of the process is solely so important, that employees have different roles and responsibilities to make sure everything is as efficient as possible. 


Hiring a valuable Leadership Team within the Data function is essential; ensuring that you have your VP of Engineering, or a Head of Data Engineering in place, is a must. Then, hiring individual contributors to work in a selected division is equally as important. Once a business begins its hyper-growth journey, they will need talented individuals to support their Managers, and organically grow the team’s structure, ensuring that continued scale is successful.


As a Data expert, I partner with high-growth businesses to support their scale journeys, offering both market advice and resourcing capabilities from Individual Contributors all the way through to Data Leadership positions; feel free to reach out to me, at:



Zeren exists to empower the world’s change makers. We do this by building high-performing teams in the world’s most innovative businesses, to accelerate growth by connecting visionary leaders and ambitious talent.


We are a leading global Executive Search & Recruitment Firm with offices in New York, London and Frankfurt. We partner with both high growth, investor backed businesses and ambitious corporate brands around the world.