Data Scientist vs. Software Engineer Salary: What’s the Difference?

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Should you become a data scientist or software engineer?

Both professions are in high demand and offer lucrative salaries. Starting, you can earn a yearly salary between $70,000 – $90,000 in these careers. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is right for you?

This blog post will teach you the difference between the two fields and the expected salary. Keep reading to find out the salary of a data scientist vs. a software engineer.

And if you’re interested in becoming a data scientist, you can start by attending our online boot camp. You can earn a certificate and start working in the field in little as six months. For more information about the program, click here.

Related: Data Science Vs. Web Development: A Complete Guide

How Do Data Scientists and Software Engineers Differ?

While they may seem like similar roles, there is an essential distinction between a data scientist and a software engineer role. A data scientist is someone who primarily works with large amounts of structured or unstructured data, mining it and analyzing it to find helpful information and insights

A software engineer is someone who focuses on developing, building, and maintaining software systems. They work with programming languages to create applications through coding and debugging and often design architecture for larger projects. Both roles are valuable within the technology industry and fundamental to many product developments, but their primary focus lies in different areas.

How Are Salary Expectations Different for a Data Scientist and a Software Engineer?

Generally, a data scientist’s salary expectation exceeds a software engineer’s because of their unique skill set. Data scientists, who can leverage machine learning tools and algorithms to gain insights from data, are in high demand across industries. They often require a deep understanding of statistics and analytics, programming languages, and business acumen, allowing them to present their findings meaningfully. 

On the other hand, software engineers develop projects typically within a more limited scope. Their salaries are generally reflective of this lesser challenge. In an increasingly data-driven world, businesses have come to value data scientists more, meaning that their expected compensation is usually higher than that of software engineers.

What’s the Expected Yearly Salary of a Data Scientist?

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Different factors such as experience, industry, and location can influence the salary of a data scientist. In general, US data scientists earn around $103,000 per year. However, data scientists with higher levels of experience may earn well into six figures since they bring more knowledge and skill to the role. 

The location also plays an essential part in determining salary; data scientists in higher living cost areas like New York or California often command higher salaries than those initially starting out in smaller markets. Therefore, it is vital to do your research before selecting which market you want to work in as a data scientist, as it could mean a substantial difference in compensation.

What’s the Expected Yearly Salary of a Software Engineer?

The average annual salary of a software engineer depends on experience and specific skill set, but generally speaking, the expected salary for a software engineer ranges from approximately $80,000 to upwards of $120,000. According to, the median annual wage for a software engineer is around $92,216. 

Salaries vary depending on the specialization field and the position level (such as senior or junior). For example, those in web development roles may make, on average, $76,789 per year, while those in applications programming positions typically earn closer to $90,000 per year. As such, it’s vital to review job postings carefully to assess the knowledge and skills required and consider how they reflect personal experience when researching potential salaries.

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Related: Full Stack Developer vs Data Scientist

What’s the Job Outlook for a Data Scientist?

Career opportunities in data science are very promising for anyone interested in pursuing this field. In the coming years, businesses will likely seek qualified analysts to help them understand the growing amount of data.

Data scientists are also in high demand from technology companies creating products such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. With employers increasingly relying on data-driven decisions, now is an excellent time for those with the right skills and experience to become data scientists.

How Do Software Engineers Fare in the Job Market?

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Between the decades of 2021 to 2031, demand for software engineers is projected to increase by 25%, much faster than the 5% average growth rate for all occupations. As businesses worldwide seek more efficient ways to use technology for their commercial needs, the importance of qualified software engineers will become more precious. 

Software engineering encompasses various activities and specialized roles, such as systems analysis, web development, technical support, and software customization. Companies of all sizes require such expertise and skill sets within their operations, making it an attractive field for those interested in developing technical skills. 

With diligent attention to ongoing education in this field, software engineers are well-positioned to impact modern business operations. Overall, software engineers have strong employment opportunities.

Related: Software Careers with High Salaries 2023

Data Scientist vs. Software Engineer: Which One Will You Choose?

Based on the information above, data scientists and software engineer makes different salaries. While these two roles are relevant to the tech industry, they are very different. 

The best way to determine which role aligns with your skillset and interests is to research both fields if you are interested in pursuing a career in either. Then, with the right education and experience, you can pursue whichever path you choose and earn a good salary doing what you love.