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I don't think the author would disagree with you on that. His main point is that engineers don't want to be in a role where all he/she is doing is productionizing someone else's ideas. There should be areas of end-to-end ownership for both the engineering team and the data science team.

It doesn't sound like he's suggesting here that some types of technology are just generally horrible to work with or that it sucks to build ETL jobs in general. Maybe he could have done a better job defining what he meant by ETL engineer here, but he does qualify it in that quote with "ETL to produce data that you yourself never get to use or consume."

In general, roles that offer little areas of ownership do draw mediocre engineers.

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