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Principal Data Engineer - Retail

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About us.

We’re The Very Group, home to, and a team of 4,000 super-talented people.

We’re the UK’s largest integrated digital retailer and financial services provider, and we’ve been helping customers say yes when it matters most for over 100 years. In that time, we’ve consistently reinvented our business to adapt to economic conditions and industry changes – going from bricks, to clicks, to mobile.

But despite our passion for reinvention, we’ve never wavered from our purpose; to make good things easily accessible to more people. It means giving our customers the brands they love, an outstanding shopping experience and flexible ways to spread the cost.

We’ve continued to deliver for our customers throughout the Covid-19 outbreak – and we’ve done it by transforming the way we work.

We’re fired up for the future and the next stage in our development. We’ll give customers access to more great brands for themselves and their families, a seamless shopping experience and even more control of their finances through innovation in flexible ways to pay.

Data in Retail

The Very Group has a “Tribe” and “Squad” Technology Delivery Model. This means that each primary area of the business is fully aligned to its primary function e.g. Financial Services, Customer Care, Logistics & Fulfilment, Digital Customer Experience (DCX) (front-end web and app development), Data and Retail. We do not operate as a traditional, centralised IT/technology team, though we do have some central technology functions such as operations, platform, security, risk, networking etc. Generally, each tribe is responsible for its own technology solutions and delivery of those solutions (bought or built) and interaction/integration with other tribes/3rd parties. Each tribe consists of the business operations colleagues and technology roles needed to support that tribe. This QA Engineering role is aligned with the Retail Tribe.

The Retail Tribe own the master and dynamic data attributes associated with products sold to customers by The Very Group via our websites or app. Among many other processes such as sourcing, merchandising, buying, marketing, Retail also owns the forecasting, planning, pricing and replenishment processes which rely heavily on having accurate data available for high-quality forecasting, pricing and inventory holding. We are striving to improve our data quality through people, processes and technology. At the moment these processes are held in several legacy systems that we are looking to decommission and modernise our estate and make use of the wealth of data that is available to us. We are also looking at initiatives to improve our data quality before products go on-sale on our websites and app. We are currently undergoing a cloud migration to AWS.

For information, we also have a separate Data Tribe who work across the business and various tribes and are responsible for areas such as data science, AI/ML, corporate analytics, data strategy and core data engineering. They have embarked on an ambitious journey, to modernise our Data domain working with cutting-edge technology working within the Data Science, Analytics, Strategy and Engineering teams.

About the role:

The Principal Data Engineer is a senior role in the Retail Tribe. They will play a significant role in defining our data strategy and infrastructure and our migration path to a better set of data management systems and data quality.

The Principal Data Engineer will work within squads and would play a leading role in developing our data strategy and infrastructure in areas such as our product setup methodology, analytics, pricing, replenishment and forecasting solutions. The Principal Data Engineer will also be able to automate processes, removing the need to manually maintain solutions. They will also be involved in decommissioning some tightly coupled, critical legacy data systems as we move to modernise the estate. They will also play a significant role in ensuring that our data infrastructure is built and maintained to a high standard and provides and satisfies the requirements of our demanding, fast-paced business, its customers and shareholders.

You will be comfortable taking part in and leading Agile ceremonies and communicating with senior stakeholders.

The Principal Data Engineer is comfortable collaborating effectively and works well in cross-functional, Agile squads and plays a hands-on role in coding, coaching, guiding and mentoring others in the squad. The role is a trusted role in the tribe and our primary interface to the Data Tribe.

Day to day:

  • Significantly contribute to the data strategy for the Retail Tribe.
  • Oversee and engineer across multiple squads ensuring deliveries remain on time and in budget.
  • Own the delivery assigned via a backlog to successful completion and report on risks/issues/blockers.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally on issue resolution seeking support from Tech Leads and Architects when required.
  • Escalate to the nominated Tech Lead any challenges that may affect delivery of work packages.
  • Manage the expectations of the Delivery Manager, Product Owner and peers around progress on deliverables.
  • Build relationships & collaborate across the wider business community, working cross-functionally and cross-Tribe.
  • Mentor and support others in the team.
  • Ensure you understand and apply good software engineering principles and standards to coding and deliverables.
  • Involved in planning, designing and delivering the replacement of current, business critical, tightly-coupled legacy data applications.


  • Experience working in a data engineering function
  • Experience with one or more programming languages such as Java, R, Python, SQL, PL/SQL or Scala.
  • Familiarity with a major cloud environment, ideally AWS
  • Experience of data modelling and of data-cleansing and de-duplication techniques.
  • Hadoop, RDS, S3, auto-scaling and Lambda experience would be great
  • Knows regulatory requirements around areas such as data storage and retention, security, GDPR etc.
  • Knowledge of working with Data Lakes, Data Warehousing Technologies within a cloud environment using large sets of data is not essential but would be nice to have.
  • Also, experience of legacy, smaller-scale technologies e.g. MS Access, Excel, SQL Server etc. would be advantageous as we look to replace some of these systems and migrate and modernise them in a cloud environment (AWS).
  • Oracle RDBMS, PL/SQL, Snowflake, Teradata, and SQL Server. AWS technologies such AWS Glue would an advantage.
  • Open-source database technologies such as MySQL and PostgreSQL would be an advantage.
  • Knowledge of data/systems integration.
  • An ability to articulate the processes around ETL, data ingestion, EDW, BI and analytical software.
  • DevSecOps knowledge that can balance development and provide 24x7 support
  • Experience in migrating from on-premise to cloud-based technology.
  • Can apply auto-scaling and automation of instances.


  • Generous and competitive starting salary
  • Regular salary reviews and career progression
  • £1,000 of flexible benefits allowance (can take a part as salary uplift)
  • Bonus up to 14%
  • Matched pension at 6%
  • 1x Life Assurance / Private Medical
  • Brand discount up to 25%
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • 30 days holiday + bank holidays
  • Free on-site gym
  • Discounted coffee houses and food outlets

How to apply.

If you're interested to find out more please contact Jordan Barlow or Steven Williams in the talent acquisition team at The Very Group or apply online.

Please note that the talent acquisition team are managing this vacancy directly, and if successful in securing this position, you may be required to undertake a credit, CIFAS and CRB check.

We're an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

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