Computer Science vs. Data Science!

Written By: Saniya Kalamkar

The fields of computer science and data science are increasingly pursued and their applications are limitless. However, it may be confusing to know which field in particular you may want to pursue, especially since they share so many similarities. In this article, we will break down computer science and data science to give you a better understanding of both fields.


Before we go into the similarities and differences between the two fields, it may help to get a brief overview of each field. Computer science is the study of computers and computational systems. Computer science is a pretty big field, and includes web developers to hardware engineers, making it hard to clearly define. However, computer scientists often have to understand systems and software for a specific problem. Data science on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary field that studies and analyzes data. Data scientists often have to study and find new data using Machine Learning algorithms. Unlike statistical analysis, data science often requires greater computational power and makes use of much larger data sets.

So now that you have an understanding of both fields, what are the similarities between CS and data science and why are they often confused with each other? Both computer science and data science share common duties. Both fields require understanding of programming languages (even using the same languages like Python and Java), they often have applications that can be applied to any field (medicine, business, etc), and a working knowledge of the data and products being made. People of both fields can also switch careers easily (for example, a data scientist can become a computer scientist or vice versa). However, despite these commonalities, both computer science and data science share many differences.

Specifics of Computer Science

  1. Computer scientists focus more on the hardware and software of a computer

  2. Computer scientists tend to have a background in computer engineering

  3. Bachelor’s degree is often enough for this field

  4. Computer scientists are more concerned with building and testing new applications

Specifics of Data Science

  1. Data scientists focus more on database systems and processing tools, like Apache Spark and Tableau

  2. Data scientists tend to have a background in statistics

  3. Data scientists work with Product Managers more

  4. There is more of a focus on Machine Learning algorithms in data science

  5. Master’s degree is sought for by employers more

  6. Data scientists more concerned with analyzing data and coming up with conclusions based on it

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