How to choose between software engineering and data science | 5 Key Considerations

How to choose between software engineering and data science | 5 Key Considerations

Last year i was fortunate enough to have two internship offers, one from amazon for software engineering and the other from goldman sachs for data science. I ultimately chose to go with data science at goldman sachs and now i'm a full-time data scientist at one of the companies at feng. So today, i'd like to go into more detail about the differences between data science and software engineering and also how i made the decision in choosing between the two. The five key considerations. I'D like you to think about is first having a building versus discovering mindset. Second, how well-defined do you want your role to be third career progression and salary? Fourth, how much do you like coding and finally, the entrance barriers between software engineering and data science, so, firstly, building versus a discovery mindset, so software engineering is very much around building building using engineering tools as well as computer science and programming skills. The products that you build can be games, systems, websites or applications, for example, building youtube. So data science is much more focused on discovery. You use a bunch of tools in computer science and programming math statistics as well as general scientific insights and methods in order to extract insights from data and then using those insights to drive impact in both business and products.

Data science rules can also be much more specialized into machine learning roles or say data mining and all of the between all of these different sub rules. The thing in common is that they're all very discovery focused you're, always trying to discover things from the data and then doing something with those insights. The first thing, i'd like you to think about is: are you more passionate about building products, or are you more passionate about discovering insights? The second key consideration is: how well-defined do you want your role to be in general, software engineering is a very well defined role compared to data science, and that's mostly just because the office software engineering has been around for a lot longer than data science. In most companies, you have a pretty good idea of what your role as a software engineer is going to be you're, going to be working with a team of other software engineers to build a product to push bugs to push a bunch of changes that are happening And maintaining your product and you have more clearly defined roles. You could be an ios developer.

You could be an android developer. Web developer front end back end like that, On the other hand, for data science, it's a lot more varied there. Isn'T that clear of a structure, because it's just a much newer role. Data science is inherently an interdisciplinary field and it involves a lot of different components. So you're going to be focusing on not just one thing, you can be coding a model. You could be even thinking about the question that you're trying to ask to begin with. You also be thinking about how to communicate these insights so that you can present them to business leaders so that they can drive those insights into impact because it's also a less mature field. Each data science role can also be very, very different, in my case. I'Ve actually worked at three different data science roles, and each of them has been wildly different from the other. So the question i'd like you to ask yourself is: do you want a more clearly defined job or would you prefer something? That'S more interdisciplinary.

So the third thing i'd like you to consider is the career progression and salary between software engineering and data science. So for software engineering it's pretty well defined in terms of your career track. You work as a couple years as a software engineer, and then you can choose if you want to continue down that track and become better and better at your craft or you can become a technical manager and manage other software engineers for data science.

There'S also specializations, for example, you can become a machine learning expert or you can become a domain expert, say something like ads or you can become someone that helps business leaders drive insights. Some data scientists also ultimately become data science managers, so the software engineering salary is already pretty set out for you. So, according to glassdoors, on average, it's around 92k and ranging from 63k to 134k, the salary for data scientists would vary a lot more depending on the work that you're doing on glass doors, the average is 113k ranging from 83k to 154k

So, even though it feels like the data science, salary on average is higher from my experience, it's actually pretty similar. In fact, if you're working as a data scientist, your salary might be a little bit lower than that of a software engineer. But in general, though, these two jobs are both amazing in terms of salaries and there's a lot of career progression. So ask yourself if you want to have a more clearly defined career progression, or do you prefer more flexibility? I wouldn't overthink the salary component that much because both both of these careers are really similar in terms of salaries, and you can make a lot for both of them. The fourth thing i'd like you to consider is how much you actually like coding. This is the more practical consideration, but how you spend your day at work does matter a lot in the end and the reality is, as a software engineer, you're going to be spending a lot of time. Coding.

As a data scientist, you might also spend a lot of time coding, but you also have a lot of other things to consider such as brainstorming and formulating questions to ask thinking about maths and just reading papers and general research and articles. Finally, communicating your insights to your manager and to business leaders. I would say if you love coding, a lot stick with software engineering, if you see coding as more of a skill in order for you to discover insights and to drive impact, then consider data science. I'D like you to ask yourself: do you like coding just for the sake of coding itself? The fifth thing i would like you to consider is the difference in entrance barrier between software engineering and data science.

So the reality is that data science has a higher entrance barrier. When i was trying to get a full-time job, i applied to a lot of data science roles and software engineering roles. I think in total i applied to around 50 software engineering roles and about 10 data science roles and the reason why there's a discrepancy between those numbers is because i noticed that there was just a lot more software engineering jobs out there and of those 50 software Engineering jobs that i applied to, i got around 15 first round invites and for data science, though i only got one so for my internship at goldman sachs, i actually applied for the general summer analyst role in technology and then asked to work on more machine learning And data science based work as an entry-level candidate software engineering will be much easier to get an interview and ultimately land a job. So if you want to go into data science, it's definitely still doable.

I managed to do it, It'S just a lot more hustle and you really have to be much more committed to getting that interview and you have to probably think about some creative ways to actually get your foot in the door if you're still on defense between software Engineering and data science - i Think this is a key consideration to think about, because software engineering does have a much lower barrier of entrance. So in summary, i've went through five different key considerations in making that decision between software engineering and data science. First, a building versus discovery mindset; Second, how well-defined you want your role to be third career progression and salary. Fourth, how much you enjoy coding and fifth, the differences in entry barriers. I hope this video has been helpful in helping you make the career decision between data science and software engineering, Although honestly they're both two really great careers, and you really can't go wrong choosing either of them. I would also love to hear your thoughts, So please message me leave a comment. Contact me in any way and i also actually just started making videos but i'm planning to make one to two videos a week.