What is the difference between all the data professionals? 

Data Scientist, Data Engineer,

Data Analyst…


Big Data


22 November


5 Minutes

The question is:  Which kind? 

Data science is a relatively new field, but it already has three distinct groups of people whose jobs are different enough that they don’t seem like different aspects of the same job. There is room for more than one kind of person to be called a data professional. 

What is a

Data Scientist?

A data scientist is a person who does data science. They can work in any industry that uses data and processes it, which, today, is everywhere. 

Data scientists play two roles in their organization’s data and intelligence process. First, they help visualize the data infrastructure, such as the data warehouse, the data pipeline, and the data marts. Second, they work on the problems, creating new algorithms or refining existing ones, analyzing data, writing programs, and building dashboards. They may collaborate with domain experts such as business analysts or data engineers.  

 In this field, they will often work closely with business managers, who ask questions of data analysts. The main difference is that the data analysts produce data sets that can be used by data scientists. They also sometimes collaborate with statisticians in more complicated or broad problems, which means that data scientists do not have to know it all. While they often use statistical methods, statisticians know which statistical methods are appropriate for certain types of problems. 

 Another usual collaboration is with data engineers. Data engineers, as we will discuss later, are the people who build and maintain the data science infrastructure and data marts. 


What is a

Data Analyst?

Data analysts, like any other kind of analyst, examine and interpret data. However, these days they usually do so using some combination of software and business acumen; we tend to think of them as a specific set of tools and techniques. The tools and techniques that make up this discipline are useful for solving problems, but what makes us call someone a “data analyst” is seeing how those tools and techniques are used.  

This art is not just the practice of those tools; it is also the practice of thinking about those tools in a particular way. Different kinds of problems require different ways of thinking about the problems, and so different kinds of analysts.

This kind of data professional is a special sort of generalist. Most people are specialists; they know more about some things than others. A data analyst knows how to work with information in general. The skills that make an analyst valuable (pattern recognition, communication, analytical thinking) are the same ones that make someone good at anything else. The value of a professional depends on more than just the tools they use; more on the way they think than on the systems they use or the data they have. All these qualities will be more valuable in the future than they were in the past. But this role is not new; it has always been important to find ways to make sense of things.  


What is a

Data Scientist?

Data engineers work on a wide range of data-related projects. They take on projects ranging from implementing data clean-up processes on existing systems to deploying entirely new data architectures.  

The people in this discipline are often the bridge between data scientists and developers. They are the ones who understand the ins and outs of how data is stored, accessed and processed, becoming a crucial resource for the data scientists, providing the bridges between the data analysts and the programmers. Their main goal designing and implementing data pipelines. A data pipeline is a designed collection of processes and tools used to process and analyze data. 

They are often part of an organization’s data science or business intelligence teams, although they can be just as valued in positions like data architect or data analyst. 

Data engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, or a related field. While a computer science degree isn’t required, it’s helpful, because it provides a foundational knowledge of programming, data structures, algorithms and computer architecture. 

 Usually employed by large companies, they can be useful in some fields that require special data treatment.  


Data science is a broad field, and job titles are often misleading. Data scientists need skills in statistics, computer science, and mathematics. They also need communication skills. Because it is a relatively young field, there isn’t a set procedure for becoming a data professional. People who want to become a data scientist usually start by working toward a computer science or statistics degree.