Can data engineer become a data scientist?

By - Kaustubh Katdare • 1 year ago • 91.8k views

I was recently asked if a data engineer can become a data science. How difficult is it for data engineers to switch career to data scientist and what type of training is involved. Looking for responses from data engineers and data scientists.


  • Steve
    Steve Gracia

    Can a mountaineer become a swimmer? Yes! What do you need? Appropriate training.

    A data engineer can easily become a data scientist. All you need is proper training and a few projects to hone your skills. I've helped 3 of my friends switch their career path from data engineer to data scientist.

    Data science and data engineering go hand in hand. In general, if you have some exposure to programming languages, your transition from data engineer to data scientist will be smooth.

    In fact, until a few years ago, data engineering and data science were just one job. Later on, as the scale got bigger, the industry required separate skills-set for data engineers and data scientists.

    The data engineers performe the ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) operation on data and make the data available for data engineers. The data engineers run the data through their AI-ML models and made sense of it for analysis.

    So, how can a data engineer become a data scientist?

    1. Learn and master one or more of the following languages -

      • Python : Easy to start with and a large community for support
      • Scala: Very robust programming language, may take time to pick
      • SQL: Not a programming language; but super handy when dealing with structured data
    2. Some exposure to statistics would be handy. If you can, get some exposure to SAS, Hive, Apache Hadoop etc. YouTube is your best source to get started.

    3. Data visualisation: There are several tools in the market that help you with this. I'll recommend getting some exposure to tools like Power BI from Microsoft or Tableu.

    I'm available to answer any question you may have on making a switch from data engineer to data scientist.

  • Kaustubh
    Kaustubh Katdare

    Indeed. Data engineers can easily become data scientists, provided they undergo right training. Thankfully, there are plenty of courses available on the Internet for data science basics.

    Another common question most people ask is -

    Is data engineering a part of data science?

    There is an overlap between data engineering and data-science. But they aren't the same thing. Data engineering, in the recent years has evolved as a separate career option while data science continues to gain popularity.

    Broadly speaking, there are two aspects of handling data. First - you've to collect the data, process it, transform it into data that can be consumed and analysed. Second - the collected data needs to be run through various data-models to make better sense of it.

    These two domains require different skills. With the knowledge of how data is collected, processed and maintained, it becomes easier for the data engineers to switch to data science career.

    Thus, a data engineer can become a data scientist.

  • Kaustubh
    Kaustubh Katdare

    Someone who's muling about career in DE, can refer to the following discussions on CE: Will data engineering be automated and Demand for data engineering. These should help you make a better choice for your career.

  • Rohit
    Rohit Joshi

    Interesting discussion.

    Data engineers work on building data pipelines, storages and optimizing the data processing and make the data ready for data scientists.

    Data scientists will collect the data and build their predictive models to make data-driving decisions.

    You'll have to develop a strong foundation in statistics, probability, linear algebra, and calculus. Learning programming languages like Python or R, which are popular for data analysis and machine learning will be super useful.

    Certifications for Data Science

    • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
    • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
    • Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer
    • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Certification

    I'll be happy to provide more information.

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