Don't you want to read? Try listening to the article in audio mode 🎧

In today’s modern world, organizations rely on data science to make informed decisions and strategies. As a result, the field of data science is rapidly growing. You’ll come across job postings for roles such as data engineer, data analyst, and data analyst. At first glance, they all seem to refer to the same job. While they share many similarities, there are key differences between these three roles in the field of data science.  

What Is A Data Engineer? 

A data engineer comes from a strong technical background, typically in one of the STEM fields such as math or statistics. They possess a master’s degree in data and a wealth of knowledge in programming languages such as Java and Python as well as SQL and NoSQL database systems. 

Role And Responsibilities Of A Data Engineer 

Data engineers are responsible for developing, testing, and maintaining data architectures. They are responsible for creating the databases and processing systems necessary for organizations to pull data for analysis. They build data pipelines that connect systems to each other and transform data from one format to another. It is the role of the data engineer to maintain the data infrastructures within an organization necessary for other roles such as data scientists and data analysts to fulfill their responsibilities.  

As William Humphrey, a tech writer at Originwritings and 1Day2Write puts it, “Data engineers build the infrastructure that makes it possible for data analysts and data scientists to do their jobs.” 

What Is A Data Scientist? 

While data engineers are focused on building and maintaining data infrastructures, data scientists tackle the data and interpret them. Data scientists typically come from technical backgrounds such as computer science, statistics, and mathematics. While most data scientists acquire a master’s degree in data science, it is not a requirement. 

Roles and Responsibilities of A Data Scientist 

A data scientist is responsible for gathering, organizing, and analyzing data to help organizations make the most informed decisions. They employ various techniques to analyze large volumes of complex data. These techniques range from programming to machine learning. In addition to these skills, data scientists must also possess a high degree of knowledge in risk analysis, statistical analysis, software engineering, data mining, research, and more. They allow others to visualize and understand the data through models.

“Data scientists work with messy data from sources such as social media and make sense of it,” according to Carolyn Clark, a journalist at Britstudent and Australia2write. “This is why organizations from businesses to non-profit to government institutions depend on data scientists to find the right answers.”  

What Is A Data Analyst? 

Unlike a data engineer and a data scientist, a data analyst does not need a background in math, statistics, or programming to excel in their role. While it might be beneficial to develop a general understanding of math, data analysts are more concerned with how to turn findings from the data into solutions. A data analyst uses data to reach meaningful conclusions that companies can use to devise better informed strategies and decisions. As a result, there is a great demand for data analysts across all industries.  

Roles and Responsibilities Of A Data Analyst 

A data analyst is responsible for retrieving, collecting, and organizing data to produce helpful reports. These reports provide companies with key insights, answers, and analysis. It is the role of the data analyst to spot trends in the data, interpret it, and present it. 

Essentially, data analysts find the narrative in the data and convey it to organizations. They find solutions and answers in the data for businesses and other organizations. 

Salary Comparison Between A Data Engineer, A Data Analyst, and A Data Scientist 

The average annual base salary for a data engineer in the US is around $122,000. The average annual base salary for a data scientist is $117,000. On the other hand, the average annual base salary for a data analyst is approximately $66,000.


The roles of data engineer, data scientist, and data analyst are often mistaken for each other. While these roles share many similarities, they approach data in remarkably different ways. To decide which role is the best fit for you, consider your strengths and specific interests in data science. 

Learn Business Data Science online at Talent Garden Innovation School

Discover the Talent Garden Innovation School’s Business Data Science Fundamentals Online Program. Through the course, you will gain high levels of confidence in evaluating and managing processes involving huge amounts of data produced by using new technologies. Apply now!

George J. Newton is a digital content manager and tech writer for Academicbrits and PhD Kingdom. He has a very patient wife of over ten years, who is his biggest supporter. He also contributes articles on the latest trends and news about the tech industry to websites such as Next Coursework.

Article updated on: 09 August 2023
Talent Garden
Written by
Talent Garden, Digital Skills Academy

Keep reading

The 6 Biggest, Most Common Myths About Data Science

The field of Data Science is diverse, with many people from many different backgrounds, working in many different ...

She Conquered STEM: 10 Women and Girls Paving the Way for Change

Today, on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, it's time to shine a spotlight on the groundbreaking ...

What is Data Scraping and what are its applications for Data Analysis

Data Scraping is an extremely wide-ranging subject that covers several contexts, from content optimization for search ...

Essential Strategies for Data Loss Prevention: A 7-Step Approach

The need for data security has become increasingly critical as the world continues to rely on digital data for business ...