Full Stack Developer vs. Data Scientist: Which Career is for You?

The need for new websites and web applications is constantly growing. Additionally, data is taking on a more prominent and significant role in and outside tech. This has led to massive growth in two careers: full-stack development and data science. 

So, which of these two options is better? The answer comes down to which of the jobs’ advantages and disadvantages you care about more. Keep reading to find out about these and to discover which career is for you. 

Related: Navigating the Current Job Market in Tech

What Is Data Science? 

Data science involves a number of different professions that all center around data. Some examine data, some manipulate it, some use it to power other technologies, and some do all of the above or any combination of these things. Because of this, there are a lot of different jobs in data science. 

These include some jobs you would expect to see. These include a data analyst who looks at a company’s records to find helpful information. However, jobs in data science also include jobs you wouldn’t expect to see. For example, jobs related to developing artificial intelligence and some aspects of healthcare use data science. All in all, data science encompasses a lot. 

What Is Full-Stack Development? 

Web development comes in two parts. One is front-end development, which is the portion of web design that the user sees. The other is back-end development, which is the web design portion hidden from the user but essential in running the website. Where these two parts meet is in full-stack development. 

A full-stack developer is responsible for both front-end and back-end development. This makes them the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to web development. Because of this, they have to have the skills to back up their responsibilities. So, a full-stack developer is someone who approaches all aspects of web design because they understand all aspects of it. 

Differences Between a Full-Stack Developer and a Data Scientist

There are a few key differences that separate these two jobs. This section of the article will explore specific differences in detail. 

1. Career Opportunities

The general career path for a full-stack developer and a data scientist is different. This is because of the specific demand for both jobs. 

Companies, both large and small, require full-stack developers. Because of this, opportunities are available at all ends of the spectrum. 

Meanwhile, data scientists are typically only employed by larger companies that have the ability to afford a data scientist. This means that jobs for data scientists are typically more prestigious and often pay more. 

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2. Job Availability

The job outlook for web developers in general, the category which full-stack developers fall under, is expected to increase by 23% from 2021 to 2031. This growth rate is much faster than the growth rate for most careers. 

While this is promising, things are even more promising for data scientists. Jobs in this field are expected to increase by 36% over the same period. This clearly gives data science the edge in this category. 

3. Salary

Salary is another category in which data science has the advantage. A data scientist can expect to make around $100,000 per year on average. Meanwhile, a full-stack developer can expect to make a little over $85,000 per year. While this isn’t a huge difference, it is still another place where data science beats out full-stack development.

4. Job Roles

The actual roles in each job are incredibly different. They are so different that they are hard to contrast against each other. 

However, the difference that separates them the most clearly is in what they work with. A data scientist works with, manipulates, and analyzes data. Meanwhile, a full-stack developer works with, creates, edits, and maintains websites and/or web-based applications. 

In this, neither job has the edge over the other. It all comes down to personal preference. If you like working with numbers and exploring data, data science may be more your style. If you like working on websites and making them run correctly, you may be better suited for full-stack development. 

Related: Los Angeles Full Stack Developer Coding Boot Camp Curriculum

5. Job Requirements

A job as a data scientist typically requires a bachelor’s degree, at minimum. Many data scientists go for a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. to stay competitive within their field. These degrees are typically in fields like computer science or a related branch of math. 

Meanwhile, a job as a full-stack developer often requires either a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree. However, this isn’t always the case. With enough programming experience, someone can get a job in full-stack development without any degree. With this in mind, many people choose to enter web development with a coding bootcamp under their belt rather than a degree

In this category, full-stack development wins out. The requirements for a full-stack developer job are more accessible to obtain than those for data science. 

6. Required Skills

Becoming a data scientist starts with a high degree of skill in mathematics. Data scientists also need critical thinking skills to put this math to use. 

After that, data science requires knowledge of computers. This means knowledge of how datasets work and how to work on them. This often comes with knowledge of the computer systems that run and operate all of this. 

Meanwhile, becoming a full-stack developer starts with programming skills. This includes knowledge of programming languages, specifically ones related to web development. 

Full-stack developers also need a complete understanding of every aspect of running a website. This needs to include front-end and back-end design. 

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Which Job Is For You?

When choosing between a career as a full-stack developer and one as a data scientist, the most important thing to consider is which career is best for you. 

A data scientist makes more, and the field as a whole is expected to take on even more importance in the future. However, obtaining the qualifications to become a full-stack developer is far more manageable. 

In addition, consider which job appeals to you more. Job satisfaction directly relates to overall happiness. So, picking the job you like will make you happier.

Full-Stack Developer vs. Data Scientist

When picking your career, you must choose what will work for you. These two careers have their own advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider. Doing so will allow you to determine which one is best for you. 

Related: Switching Careers and Getting a Job as a Web Developer
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