Software engineers, programmers, developers, and data scientists – are they all the same?

Today we have many titles for what many believe is essentially one role.  They have evolved over the years into very specific roles of their own.

  1. Programmer/Developer – read and write code which is specified for them.
  2. Analyst & Programmer/Developer – programmer/developer + the ability to specify, design, and document a software component.
  3. Data Scientist – developing methods of creating, updating, reading, deleting and analyzing data. NB: Data Analysts interpret data
  4. Software Engineer – Analyst & Programmer/Developer + Data Scientist + ability to specify, design, and document a software system of multiple and reusable components. Better ability to be self-managing and high-performing team member.The engineer sees the wider picture and communicates with other team members near and far to build a system to a specification that both during and after construction does not impede other engineers, developers, and programmers.  An engineer is more object-orientated.

Pre-Y2K it would not be unusual for a single software engineer to perform all four tasks but now nearing 2020 the art of software-engineering is being sub-divided further still with fewer practicing software engineers left.  It should be stressed though that a software engineer is not a “jack of all trades and master of none” as they are quite capable of being a master of all software engineering.

Is this sub-division a good thing or a bad thing?  That all depends on the projects you aspire to be on and how transferable you wish your skills to be.

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