Data science vs product mgmt

Amazon / Other amzngap
Jun 27, 2018 15 Comments

Been in a dilemma the last few months over choosing one route over the other. Currently a business intelligence engineer with 4 yoe. Mgr asking me to choose one stream to specialize. Which way do I go? I'm trying to evaluate this from a comp perspective vs growth perspective. From what I understand, DS is paid higher compared to PM. But the growth curve for a PM is way faster. Also, I do want to keep my options open as i want to try to go for a MBA in a couple of years. Tbh, the reason for my confusion is that I enjoy building ML models and doing PM work, but the way Amazon is structured its hard to do both. Please help!

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TOP 15 Comments
  • Google / Eng v0
    PM.

    The kind of Data Science work you describe is being commoditized rapidly. All the interesting/challenging/remunerative jobs in Data Science require a PhD, which doesn't seem to be in your plans.

    A PM who can speak/understand technical concepts is better than one who cannot.
    Jun 27, 2018 3
    • Uber tikli
      Can you elaborate on how these jobs are being commoditized please
      Jun 27, 2018
    • Google / Eng v0
      "Building ML models" was the giveaway. Most serious data science work revolves around data collection and preparation, with model building taking up not as much time as newbies think it does.

      Judging from OP's post, I guess he is using scikit-learn, SparkML or something similar, and ends up with a multiple regression model every time. That type of work is no longer a differentiator. Alternatively, if he is working on deep learning models, image or video understanding, that is a totally different story; but then he wouldn't have asked this question if he did.
      Jun 27, 2018
    • Amazon / Other amzngap
      OP
      @v0, So you are partly right about me using out of the box algorithms, but I'm not limiting myself to just scikit learn etc, I did build a LSTM neural net for anomaly detection, plus I'm no mug when it comes to going under the hood and tweaking the out of the box algorithms or scouring academic literature for work. But I take your point, about the out of the box algos being commoditized.
      Jun 28, 2018
  • Amazon ~TC
    I am a former BIE. I agree with v0. high TC DS job all require PhD(like applied scientist in Amazon). You don’t have any advantage if compete with them. You will have Analytics and coding advantage comparing to non tech PMs.
    Jun 27, 2018 3
    • Amazon Pokebowl
      What are you now?
      Jun 27, 2018
    • Amazon / Other amzngap
      OP
      Yeah , just curious, what do you do now?
      Jun 28, 2018
    • Amazon ~TC
      I am DS now. Regret
      Jun 28, 2018
  • Microsoft Blinderrz
    “DS is paid higher compared to PM” — I don’t think this is always true. Maybe at Amazon but I know for a fact PMs get paid more than DS as they grow up the ladder.

    Is switching companies an option for you? We have Data Science PMs in my org at Microsoft which sounds exactly like what you want to do.
    Jun 27, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Other amzngap
      OP
      Its definitely an option. Could you DM me a few job links?
      Jun 28, 2018
  • Uber pmo
    If you like bs and bullshiting people, go PM. Else go DS
    Jun 28, 2018 0
  • Amazon SUBr22
    PM all the way!
    Jun 27, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Other amzngap
      OP
      Could you please elaborate, curious to know your rationale
      Jun 28, 2018
  • Facebook / Other lamboguy
    You won’t have any trouble getting into MBA even as a DS - got into a couple of HSW, and know many other DS’s who have done the same.
    Jun 28, 2018 0
  • Nvidia / Eng Fxwf50
    Can someone also explain why the growth curve for PM is faster?
    Jun 27, 2018 0