The Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University recently received confirmation that the new BEng degree in Data Engineering will be fully accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) for registration as Professional Engineer. Through the agreements in the Washington Accord this means that the degree will also be accepted in a number of other countries as the required academic qualification for registration as professional engineer. These countries include the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. See here for a full list.
This degree will be a specialisation stream in the existing undergraduate degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the BEng (E&E). The purpose of this new specialisation in Data Engineering is to prepare engineers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution where the world of work has fundamentally changed and there is a deluge of data that needs to be structured, modelled and analysed to enable data-led organisations to discover the underlying knowledge and make well-informed decisions.
Data engineers are responsible for the discovery of trends in data sets and the development of algorithms to help make raw data more useful. This requires a significant set of technical skills, including a deep knowledge of database design and multiple programming languages. Data engineers are often responsible for building algorithms to give easier access to structured and unstructured data, but this requires an understanding of an organisation’s objectives in using large datasets. Data engineers need excellent communication skills to interface with various stakeholders inside and outside the organisation in order to understand what business leaders want to gain from Big Data and also to present their findings in a manner that can be easily understood by the audience.
Data Engineering encompasses all tasks required to make data available for analytics, knowledge discovery and decision-making processes. The main task of the data engineer is to develop and maintain an organisation’s data pipeline systems, and to implement algorithms to transform data into a useful format for analysis. The tasks of a data engineer include the collection of data, storing data, data synchronisation, data transformation, data cleansing, data governance, and the development of data models.
There are still a limited number of places available for first-year students who want to enrol for this new degree in 2020. Prospective students interested in pursuing a career in Data Engineering are encouraged to directly contact the Chair of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Prof Herman Engelbrecht, at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 021 808 2139. Only learners with a sustained distinction in mathematics will be considered at this late stage.
Industry partners can contact the Dean, Prof Wikus van Niekerk (email@example.com, 021 808 4204) for more information.
Go to section 2.11.6 in this document (Engineering Calendar/Year Book 2020) to see the curriculum of the new BEng (E&E) Data Engineering.