Data Scientist vs Software Developer [Ultimate Comparison Guide]


Data science is a management and business development domain. The principal idea here is a business-centred approach where it focuses primarily on individual problem areas to eliminate them and overall develop the business using data analytics tools. Software Developer is more of a technical, engineering speciality which focuses on developing applications and software programs. 

The profession of data science pertains to the use of scientific skills of data extraction, mining, and analysis to solve business problems. It is a vast area that covers various industries. Whereas, Software Development or Software Engineering, on the other hand, is the branch of study that deals with the development and creation of new software by applying the principles of computer science and mathematical analysis.

Are you data-driven?  

The world is getting more data-driven, and with this upscaling progressions, all businesses are changing. Whether it is a service or product industry, the absolute requirement momentarily is data.

Companies all across the globe are using this data extracted from their customers. And through research working to bring about developmental changes to meet market demands. 

While working on data, you get to understand your interest areas. An affinity towards the result of business process development and re-engineering by finding out problem areas everywhere and using the data science tools to solve those problems is the data scientist’s approach. 

And, a role that demands the creation of new software and their development using computer software skills is the software developer’s approach.

Choosing the right career

If there is an inclination towards the problem-solving process that leads to business development, then the data scientist responsibilities befit your requirement. But if the role of data handling does not suit your interests and you are more inclined towards the creation of an end product resulting from computer analytics and science, then the software engineer profile is the one that will suit your needs.

With software development, you will be on the engineering side that will lead to the end product’s creation. Whereas with the data scientist profile, you will be on the business development side, working on complex data to analyze problems and influence data-driven decision making.

Inter-relation between the two profiles

The science and application of Machine Learning forms the thin line between these two specifications. 

Data Scientists are professionals with the knowledge and familiarity in technical know-how and use the concept of machine learning with its algorithms to deduce solutions on problem-solving. Similarly, the software developer is the professional in the technical space working on the machine’s product development aiming at the software.

Analysing Data Scientist vs Software Developer on these grounds:

1. Consequence

With the technological revolution and prevalence of information technology, Data Science emerged as a solution to the vast data that was being extracted universally. An understanding of interpreting this data was essential, and for this, the profile further moved toward the business domain to find solutions to industry problems by analyzing the data.

Software Engineering emerged as a platform to create software products in the growing industry of information technology. Creating applications that aren’t vulnerable to bugs and help in the industry’s growth using skilled product-development tools was the primary aim.

2. Methodology

Data Science methodology is best described with the data mining and processing tool. In this, the data is extracted from a source, transformed using appropriate tools in analysis, and then loaded into the system software to resulting solutions.

Software Development works on the methodology of Software Development Cycle.

3. Road-plan

Data scientists are constrained to the business industry, directing to find answers to business problems. By applying the science of data analysis into technical know-how, they work to eliminate the operations quandaries.

The software developer aims to control the information technology industry by using the computer skills and technical expertise to create products that deliver excellence in processes.

4. Mechanism

Data Science tools include data extraction and mining processes, data visualization, and analytical tools to find solutions.

Software Development tools include Programming, Application, Software Development, Integration processes, and algorithm tools.

5. Environment

Data Scientists work in the business industry. Working to find problem areas and finding solutions by rigorous data analysis, their ultimate aim is enhancing businesses and reducing operational loopholes.

Software Developers work in the technology application, where they work with software development tools to create a high-quality software end-product.

6. Required Skills

Data Scientists have to develop skills in machine learning, algorithm, big data, data mining, Structured Query Language(SQL) of computer language, and analysis tools. These are necessary to initiate the processes from data mining through cleaning and transformation to data modeling.

Software Developers need to develop expertise and training on programming languages, building, and configuration tools.

7. Roles and Responsibilities

The Data Scientist working with the responsibilities of their profile is focussed on the algorithms of the data, machine learning, and business plans to create the industry dashboards, which will map the problem journey until completion. A step-wise approach to meet ends using data science.

The Software Developer profile demands engineering and re-engineering processes to develop applications of high-quality to meet the client’s requirements. Working on the software development cycle, the software developer passes individual steps, including coding, testing, and reviewing.

8. Common Data Outline

The data scientist’s report lays the ground for the solution in technological improvements to eliminate hurdles in operational methods.

The Software Developer works on the needs of the client that comes after brainstorming the field requirements. The brainstorming results from a particular set of points that have resulted after discussing solutions to key problem areas, and this is where the data scientist is related to the end product. 


Conclusively, both profiles are different in expressions of the results that they have to meet. While data scientists work on codes to develop processes to meet business resolutions, software developers work on these solutions to create high-quality software results.

Data Scientists work to identify opportunities in the organization where there can be development by finding the problem areas, and software developers endeavour to use the programming into creating technological solutions by engineering codes and programs.

If you are curious about learning data science to be in the front of fast-paced technological advancements, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s PG Diploma in Data Science.

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