As the field of data science continues to grow and mature, it is nice to begin seeing some distinction in the roles of a data scientist. A new job title gaining popularity is the data engineer. In this post, I lay out some of the distinctions between the 2 roles.
A data scientist is responsible for pulling insights from data. It is the data scientists job to pull data, create models, create data products, and tell a story. A data scientist should typically have interactions with customers and/or executives. A data scientist should love scrubbing a dataset for more and more understanding.
The main goal of a data scientist is to produce data products and tell the stories of the data. A data scientist would typically have stronger statistics and presentation skills than a data engineer.
Data Engineering is more focused on the systems that store and retrieve data. A data engineer will be responsible for building and deploying storage systems that can adequately handle the needs. Sometimes the needs are fast real-time incoming data streams. Other times the needs are massive amounts of large video files. Still other times the needs are many many reads of the data.
In other words, a data engineer needs to build systems that can handle the 3 Vs of big data.
The main goal of data engineer is to make sure the data is properly stored and available to the data scientist and others that need access. A data engineer would typically have stronger software engineering and programming skills than a data scientist.
It is too early to tell if these 2 roles will ever have a clear distinction of responsibilities, but it is nice to see a little separation of responsibilities for the mythical all-in-one data scientist. Both of these roles are important to a properly functioning data science team.
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The inaugural issue of Big Data was published a few weeks ago. The journal is excellent. The articles are relevant, readable, and free. In the first issue, most of the articles were not super technical (meaning there was not a lot of equations or algorithms). I would like to highlight just 5 of the articles (feel free to read the others as well).
The very first issue of Big Data Journal is out. All the articles are freely available for download. The titles and authors of the articles look quite good. I will probably be posting more as I read through some of the articles.