Data Scientist vs SWE

Samsung / Eng qgoX52
Oct 26 24 Comments

What's a better career to have? I have offer from two different job profile.

Data Scientist/Machine learning or SWE backend development.

Cons: Experience in one doesn't translate into other profile.

Please correct me if my understanding is wrong:
1) I use to believe data Scientist and ML jobs are very cool. But now I have a doubt as Data Scientist role dont have proper career path as Sde have. SDE jobs are from many years and there are proper market standards to measure what's compensation or level someone deserves. Whereas Data Scientist profile are very new jobs in tech.

2) Skills what Sde develop with years can't be gained by data Scientist and vice versa is not true.

3) I see data Scientist role as addon to what sde develop. So will sde profile be more important and compensated more compare to futuristic data or ML jobs?

PS: Dont want to hurt any jobs value. Just want to get an idea what's Data Scientist/ML jobs worth now and in future?

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 24 Comments
  • Twitch yikesman
    Might be "grass is greener" syndrome, but SWE all day erryday.

    I'm a PhD + few YoE in data science. DS is a dead-end job in the places I've been; it's mostly product analytics with no production code. SQL, some Python or R, dashboards, maybe a report no one will read. No career path; there are dozens of directors of engineering at Twitch, but only one for DS (and he was hired from outside).

    Production ML is the hot new skill, and SWEs can deliver that better than DS. I don't do much ML at all. At Twitch, and Amazon proper, ML is owned by Applied Science.

    So yeah, higher TC, proven career path, no PhD requirement, and better futureproofing? SWE all the way.
    Oct 26 4
    • SAP gjksk
      I think this is an example of where the role was renamed to a Data Scientist for the sake of attracting talent. I work as a DS and I do a lot of machine learning and I come from a CS background so I have the option of product-ionizing my own models
      Oct 26
    • Twitch yikesman
      We have a separate Analyst role that does less research. The lack of ML is a cold start problem, lack of platforms, and lack of experience. Twitch hired DS thinking they would solve all data problems.

      I think this is an industry wide issue. Companies ready to use ML are not common. DS is therefore a product analyst role most of the time.
      Oct 26
    • Sony / Data
      iXgsmg

      Sony Data

      PRE
      King
      iXgsmgmore
      yikesman would you recommend going after Machine Learning Engineer gigs to strike the balance between DS and SWE?
      Oct 27
    • Twitch yikesman
      What 'balance' are you looking to strike? DS work around analytics, modeling, and research is different from SWE and ML.

      ML is a valuable skill and arguably brings the stability and career of SWE. I'd argue it really is SWE in the end. So if that's your passion, chase it.
      Oct 28
  • SAP gjksk
    I think it depends on your personality. The sad part about DS is that a lot of companies have renamed their Data Analyst position with data science. Data analysis is a part of DS but it doesn't stop there. If you find a company which has the following three things as part of a Data Science role it'll be good.
    - Statistics and Analysis: asking the right question and providing interesting insights to help the business
    - Machine Learning and Engineering: being able to figure out a way to automate and model complicated problems and engineer solutions. Also, working with the engineering team to productize it.
    - Product Management: Talking to customers or stakeholders and identifying what the actual problem is. And, communicating results back to the team.

    I think with Data Science it depends a lot on how you set yourself up for it. But if you enjoy the above tasks, DS is a good place to be. Also Blind has a lot of SWE so it'll be a biased opinion.
    Oct 26 5
    • Axtria racers
      I have been a data scientist for a long time now, and I can attest to this.
      Oct 26
    • Samsung / Eng qgoX52
      OP
      My offered DS role has all these points. So it's good. But I am concerned what is the career growth as DS. Different companies work on various problems as DS. Most of the time companies require someone very specialized about something very specific knowledge. So isn't it hard to switch as DS ?
      Oct 26
    • SAP gjksk
      I don't think it is hard to switch as a DS. I currently work as a Data Scientist and when interviewing I got the opportunity to interview for Machine Learning Engineer roles and DS roles. The recruiters would always ask me what I would like more.
      Oct 26
    • Samsung / Eng qgoX52
      OP
      Do you have masters or PhD in Data science ?
      Oct 26
    • SAP gjksk
      I have a master's in computer science and a specialization in DS
      Oct 28
  • Blind is very SWE biased so take opinions with a grain of salt. In my opinion, DS is suffering from the problem that BAs have. A great talented BA or DS is indispensable to a company/team, but unfortunately the market is so chockful of them that it's hard to separate the good from the bad. With SWE, typically even an average SWE adds some sort of value to company since the barrier to entry is higher.
    Oct 26 4
    • Samsung / Eng qgoX52
      OP
      by BA you means business analyst
      Oct 26
    • Yes
      Oct 26
    • Samsung / Eng qgoX52
      OP
      So it's better to accept sde job thinking in future I can have much larger option to switch and grow as an sde.
      Oct 26
    • Yepp...of course the key factor being "do you like to code all day?" If you like interacting with people and teams, DS will probably be better. With DS, I think it's more about how you sell yourself not just raw technical talent. That's a good and bad thing, depending on your personality.
      Oct 26
  • Walmart suul61
    TC for SWE is usually greater than TC for DS roles; especially for product DS roles that don’t require a PhD. So keep that in mind.
    Oct 26 2
    • Samsung / Eng qgoX52
      OP
      As I dont have PhD in data science. Just a bachelor degree. In future companies might prefer PhD guys over me. So it's better to Be SDE. And can you explain why product DS role dont require PhD ?
      Oct 26
    • Walmart suul61
      Most product DS people work on metrics, A/B testing and dashboards. They do a bit of Python, SQL but don’t write production level code like the SWEs. So these roles don’t require the deep specialisations that PhD’s have.
      Oct 26
  • IBM / Data @Leon
    When you say SWE can become DS but not vice versa I have to disagree. To be a good DS you you need strong communication/interpersonal skills. Many SWE are out at that point alone lol... DS needs to be detail oriented but also be able to think at a high level when needed. Pretty rare from what I have seen. Overall though I agree with the sentiment of your post. Personally I chose DS anyway because I found SWE too 1 dimensional. As SWE your company wants you to eventually reach the point where nothing is new to you and you just apply the same best practices/patterns over and over.
    Oct 26 1
    • SWEs on Blind think they can master any role and don't seem to understand the nuances of business and why different personalities excel at different roles. It's funny because SWEs certainly can articulate the nuances between two backend languages etc
      Oct 26
  • New / Mgmt SW daddy
    Same TC?
    Oct 26 1
    • AVL / Eng R162
      Nope.
      Oct 26
  • Walmart suul61
    @Sony I saw this post the other day about a PhD guy with experience in both SWE and DS saying that the uncertainty involved in DS driven products is often difficult to quantify and control. This made more traditional SWE tracks like web development more stable and easier domains to work in for pretty much the same compensation.
    Oct 27 0

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees