Is It Better to Be a Data Scientist or Data Engineer?

Note: The original article was accidentally deleted. It turns out that LinkedIn does not utilize the concept of “Soft Delete.” Live and learn.

By now you have seen or heard about an article from the Harvard Business Review that declared that Data Scientist was the “sexiest job of the 21st Century.” That’s quite the statement from such a prestigious publication.

However, that article was written nearly ten years ago and, while it has largely been proven to be quite prophetic, it has missed the mark in at least one way.

Let me explain.

Screen shot of the original Harvard Business Review with an arrow pointing to the publish date. There's a shock emoji and text saying "That was 10 years ago?"​

The years following that article’s publication saw an explosion in interest in Data Science. To be clear, the field was already exploding. This article made more people aware of it. This was the era of a “Learn to Code” and now students and professionals alike sought to get educated on this data science thing.

While Academia stumbled to keep up, a plethora of boot camp programs, online courses, and YouTube filled the void.

As interest in the field expanded, demand outstripped supply. As a result, salaries went through the roof, which encouraged more people to join the field. Data scientists were minted at a fast and furious pace.

However, something was amiss.

Consider the following news headlines around AI:

Screenshots of AI news headlines.

Obviously, these breakthroughs were all brought about by teams of data scientists.

But have you considered how much data munging, wrangling, and engineering went in to making it all possible?

The Big Opportunity

All of the courses, YouTube videos, books, etc were all geared into making people into data scientists. But the reality now is that it is the humble Data Engineer that is in top demand.

If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, it may be time to re-think your plans on being a data scientist.

Don’t get me wrong, either is a hot choice, but there are a lot more people clamoring to get the “sexiest” job title of the century.

What do you think?

Do you think Data Scientist is still the hot ticket or has Data Engineer eclipsed it?

Let me know in the comments below.

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Frank

#DataScientist, #DataEngineer, Blogger, Vlogger, Podcaster at http://DataDriven.tv . Back @Microsoft to help customers leverage #AI Opinions mine. #武當派 fan. I blog to help you become a better data scientist/ML engineer Opinions are mine. All mine.