Data Engineering: How Sportsbet is Innovating in the Information Age

Leigh-Anne Sharland - Technical Product Owner

When I tell people I’m a Data Engineer at Sportsbet, I get a lot of questions about what that actually means, and what a normal day looks like. Today I’d like to share exactly that. At Sportsbet I get a perfect mix of consistency and variety. There are days spent on exciting one-off projects, and there are days of ‘business as usual’. No matter what is served up, there are always plenty of opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute to the broader data team. We’re kept on our toes and use a variety of tools that demand technical skill and critical thinking.

For me, this is a job that rewards people who are both organised and flexible. It’s the only way to ensure that the desired outcomes are delivered accurately and on time.

What it takes to be a Sportsbet data engineer

As a Sportsbet data engineer my experiences are quite diverse and unique. I work with both structured and unstructured data, accessed from both external sources and internal systems, using platforms like Data Lakes, MSSQL and Redshift. I could be supporting data science one day, and working on search engine optimisation or self-service reporting and analysis the next.

The sheer volume of data, and the endless insights that could be hidden within, is awesome. Our work sees us collating and analysing literally billions of data points in order to deliver amazing outcomes for our customers.

I’ve found that an inquisitive and agile mind are critical at Sportsbet. It’s a highly tuned business in a super competitive space, so asking pointed questions and being open to surprising answers can be the things that help us get those small steps ahead. If you’re too rigid in your thinking you can miss opportunities, take longer than required, or entirely miss the mark. It’s important to explore new technologies and ideas to ensure that you are making the most of all the opportunities available.

Unleashing the power of data

There’s never been a more exciting time to be a data engineer. Not so long ago, data was used almost exclusively by the financial sector. It’s only been in the last couple of decades – and for some industries even the last few years – that the importance and opportunity of data has been understood and capitalised upon.

Almost everything in life is going digital, which means that everything in life is being represented in data. In 2021, the amount of data created, captured, copied and consumed worldwide will be almost double that of 2019. The ability to harvest, cleanse and model this endless ocean of data will only become more important in years to come, making this the most exciting and future-proof of careers. As we move into the future, we engineers will be charged with unleashing the power of data.

Sportsbet has an eye on the future

Sportsbet understands the importance of data engineering. It has launched an internal Data Academy initiative, aimed at increasing the breadth of data knowledge and skills across the organisation. It’s an exciting place to work; one that puts itself on the leading edge of innovation, which is right where any good data engineer wants to be.