How Data Engineers can win Friends and Influence People

To succeed in life, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

That advice seems counterintuitive to data engineers because it’s all about what you know: how to design data models, build data assets, and deliver data products. It is so essential in every data-driven organization today.

But because data engineers work with so many others, who you know is just as important.

  • Within your department, you collaborate with other data engineers, data architects, database administrators, data stewards, and more.  
  • Outside of your department, there may be data scientists, business analysts, and applications engineers who count on your data products as inputs to their work.  
  • Last but not least, your knowledge reaches all the line-of-business leaders whose success relies on your ability to deliver the right data, at the right time, to the right people–24/7, 365.

Relationships matter. They provide a sense of belonging, job satisfaction, and positive feedback that shows up in your raises, bonuses, and promotions. They are also important when you need help, which is something critical for data engineering success. 

That said, relationships are a two-way street: You have to develop them. How? With whom? Where do you start? 

How to win Friends and Influence People

One of the best-selling business books of all time, How to Win Friends and Influence People, provides a wealth of practical advice on successful ways to collaborate with others. These simple yet proven techniques can help enhance your relationships. In other words: make friends, so to speak. 

A fundamental principle espoused is to arouse in the other person an “eager want.” This is excellent advice for data engineers. By combining your desires with others’ wants, others become eager to work with you; and together achieve your mutual objectives.

Who are the Others and What do They Eagerly Want?

As a data engineer, your list of “others” and their varied desires is long and diverse. Here are some examples. 

  • Line-of-Business Leaders: Tasked with delivering business success, business leaders eager want is the data that fuels effective business decisions.  
  • Chief Information Officers: “Get to the cloud faster” is a mandate for every CIO today.
  • Chief Data Officers: Ensuring data integrity, security, and control are top priorities for CDOs. 
  • Chief Financial Officers: CFO agendas include profitability, return on investment, and financial integrity.
  • Data Scientists, Business Analysts, and Application Engineers: All strive to deliver data-driven solutions. 
  • Analytics and Reporting Consumers: Responsible for many functions, their shared need is the data and insights they need to do their jobs. 

These people also have a lot to give: Some control the budgets you need for additional technology or staff. Others possess the domain expertise you require when building data models. These are just a few examples illustrating the importance of combining your desires with theirs. 

How Data Engineers can Give Them What They Want

What do all of these stakeholders have in common? They each want the data products you provide. They want more of them, and they want them better, and they want them faster. 

It’s a huge, but not an impossible job—one which will require you to make friends and influence people.

And if you need to relate better, consider how Data Learning’s many benefits can help you influence them.  

After all, who you know matters!