Concepts for Data Engineers: Idempotency

Cássio Bolba
5 min readMay 3
free image by freepik: Pipeline Construction

In this series I’m introducing several important concepts that new Data Engineers should be aware of. The other topics I talked so far:
Data Modelling

I also have 2 series about python:
🐍 Efficient Python
🐍 Software Engineering with Python

Welcome, fellow data engineers! Today, we’re going to talk about idempotency — a concept that may sound intimidating, but is actually quite simple once you break it down. In this article, we’ll define what idempotency is, discuss how to implement it in data projects, and explore the benefits of using idempotency in our work. And of course, we’ll do it all with a healthy dose of humor. So grab your favorite beverage, get comfortable, and let’s dive in!

What is Idempotency?

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is idempotency? In layman’s terms, an operation is considered idempotent if performing it multiple times has the same effect as performing it just once. To use a non-technical example, imagine that you’re trying to assemble a piece of furniture. If you tighten a screw multiple times, it doesn’t change the outcome — the screw is still just as tight as if you’d only tightened it once. That’s idempotency in action.

In the world of data engineering, we can think of idempotency as a way to ensure that our operations are consistent and reliable. When we’re processing data, we want to be confident that our operations will produce the same results every time we run them. By designing our systems with idempotency in mind, we can achieve that consistency.

How to Implement Idempotency in Data Projects

Now that we have a basic understanding of what idempotency is, let’s talk about how to implement it in our data projects. There are a few different ways to achieve idempotency, depending on the specific project and tools you’re using. Here are a few common approaches:

  1. Use Unique Identifiers

One common way to implement idempotency is by using unique identifiers. When processing data, you can assign a unique identifier to each…

Cássio Bolba

Senior Data Engineer | Udemy Teacher | Expat in Germany | Mentor ->