Data Science and Software Engineering are two popular career disciplines that offer high-paying jobs in various industries. Although both fields offer tremendous growth opportunities, students often face difficulty choosing between these courses. In this guide, we will discuss important aspects of Data Science and Software Engineering, their key differences, how to select the right fit and other interesting information.

Key Highlights

  • What is Data Science?
  • What is Software Engineering?
  • Key differences: Data Scientist vs Software Engineer
  • Is Data Science harder than Software Engineering?
  • Data Scientist or Software Engineer: Which one is right for you?

What is Data Science?
Data Science is an interdisciplinary domain that aims to analyse both structured and unstructured data to gain meaningful insights and information. Companies employ Data Scientists to perform these responsibilities and achieve pre-defined goals by relying primarily on the latest technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistics.
The course structure of Data Science is designed in such a manner that students get in-depth knowledge of algorithms, programming, and other analytical subjects and learn how to deal with humongous data and extract valuable information successfully.

What is Software Engineering?
Software Engineering is a detailed study of engineering concepts for software development. A Software Engineer is involved in planning, designing, developing, testing, and maintaining software applications to meet the unique requirements of companies. Well-experienced and qualified Software Engineers are competent in creating everything from network systems to game consoles by using programming languages, structures and platforms.
The course structure of Software Engineering aims at imparting knowledge about computer programming, data structures, web development, and project management so that students get practical knowledge of software designing & development and software testing.

Key Differences: Data Scientist vs Software Engineer


Data Scientist

Software Engineer

Main responsibilities

  • Convert unstructured & structured data into meaningful information
  • Developing software and system for organisations and businesses


  • Statistics and Data Analytics
  • Object-oriented programming and software development lifecycle

Essential Skills

  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Programming languages (Python and R)
  • Data interpretation and visualisation
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Engineering and design techniques
  • Computer coding
  • Programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python and C++

Education requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in  Engineering or Science
  • A bachelor’s degree in a computer program
  • Knowledge of programming languages

Top Employers

  • Deloitte
  • Amazon
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft
  • Ernst & Young
  • PwC
  • Accenture
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
  • Infosys
  • Google
  • Netflix

Is Data Science harder than Software Engineering?
The distinct responsibilities and challenges of Data Science and Software Engineering will attract students with unique interests and aptitudes. It is an acknowledged fact that both Data Science and Software Engineering involve programming skills, but Data Science focuses more on Statistics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), whereas Software Engineering focuses more on programming languages.
Hence, Data Science is neither harder nor easier than Software Engineering, as both courses demand different skill sets and educational backgrounds for fulfilling the desired responsibilities.

Data Scientist or Software Engineer: Which one is right for you?
So, you may wonder, which is better: Software Engineer or Data Scientist? Of course, it is a tough choice as both career choices are highly in demand and offer rewarding growth opportunities. But you can make the right career decision by assessing your choice of interests, strengths, academic and career goals, and technical skills you aspire to acquire. For instance, a career as a Data Scientist might be a good fit if you enjoy data and numbers. On the contrary, if you have a knack for software development, programming languages and coding, you will have a flourishing career as a Software Engineer. Thus, weigh these factors and choose the right career path wisely.

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