What is the Difference Between Data Science and Machine Learning?

avcontentteam 04 Jul, 2023 • 8 min read


Data science vs machine learning are closely related fields that are pivotal in today’s technological advancements. Both disciplines involve extracting insights and knowledge from data to drive informed decision-making and create intelligent systems. While there is an overlap between the two, it’s essential to understand their distinctions and how they contribute to solving complex problems. This article will discuss the difference between data science and machine learning.

Data Science vs Machine Learning

AspectData Science Machine Learning 
DefinitionA multidisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data.A subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on developing algorithms and statistical models that allow computer systems to learn and make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed.
ScopeBroader scope, encompassing various stages of the data lifecycle, including data collection, cleaning, analysis, visualization, and interpretation.Narrower focus on developing algorithms and models that enable machines to learn from data and make predictions or decisions.
GoalExtract insights, patterns, and knowledge from data to solve complex problems and make data-driven decisions.Develop models and algorithms that enable machines to learn from data and improve performance on specific tasks automatically.
TechniquesIncorporates various techniques and tools, including statistics, data mining, data visualization, machine learning, and deep learning.Primarily focused on the application of machine learning algorithms, including supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, and deep learning.
ApplicationsData science is applied in various domains, such as healthcare, finance, marketing, social sciences, and more.Machine learning finds applications in recommendation systems, natural language processing, computer vision, fraud detection, autonomous vehicles, and many other areas.

What is Data Science? 

It is the complex analysis of the vast amounts of data a business or organization keeps in a repository. The sources of the data, an analysis of the data’s subject matter, and how the data might help the business grow in the future are all covered in this study. There are always two types of organizational data: structured and unstructured. When we analyze this data, we learn important things about market or business trends, which gives the company an advantage over rivals because they have improved their efficiency by identifying patterns in the data set.

What is Data Science?
Source: DevOps School

What is Machine Learning? 

Computers can now learn without being explicitly programmed, thanks to the field of study known as machine learning. Machine learning uses algorithms to process data without human intervention and become trained to make predictions. The set of instructions, the data, or the observations are the inputs for machine learning. The use of machine learning is widespread among businesses like Facebook, Google, etc. 

What is Machine Learning? 
Source: Mapendo

Data Scientist vs Machine Learning Engineer

While data scientists focus on extracting insights from data to drive business decisions, machine learning engineers are responsible for developing the algorithms and programs that enable machines to learn and improve autonomously. Understanding the distinctions between these roles is crucial for anyone considering a career in the field.

Data ScientistMachine Learning Engineer
ExpertiseSpecializes in transforming raw data into valuable insightsFocuses on developing algorithms and programs for machine learning
SkillsProficient in data mining, machine learning, and statisticsProficient in algorithmic coding
ApplicationsUsed in various sectors such as e-commerce, healthcare, and moreDevelops systems like self-driving cars and personalized newsfeeds
FocusAnalyzing data and deriving business insightsEnabling machines to exhibit independent behavior
RoleTransforms data into actionable intelligenceDevelops algorithms for machines to learn and improve

What are the Similarities Between Data Science and Machine Learning?

When we talk about Data Science vs Machine Learning, Data Science and Machine Learning are closely related fields with several similarities. Here are some key similarities between Data Science and Machine Learning:

1. Data-driven approach: Data Science and Machine Learning are centered around using data to gain insights and make informed decisions. They rely on analyzing and interpreting large volumes of data to extract meaningful patterns and knowledge.

2. Common goal: The ultimate goal of both Data Science and Machine Learning is to derive valuable insights and predictions from data. They aim to solve complex problems, make accurate predictions, and uncover hidden patterns or relationships in data.

3. Statistical foundation: Both fields rely on statistical techniques and methods to analyze and model data. Probability theory, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and other statistical tools are commonly used in Data Science and Machine Learning.

4. Feature engineering: In both Data Science and Machine Learning, feature engineering plays a crucial role. It involves selecting, transforming, and creating relevant features from the raw data to improve the performance and accuracy of models. Data scientists and machine learning practitioners often spend significant time on this step.

5. Data preprocessing: Data preprocessing is essential in both Data Science and Machine Learning. It involves cleaning and transforming raw data, handling missing values, dealing with outliers, and standardizing or normalizing data. Proper data preprocessing helps to improve the quality and reliability of models.

Similarities and Data Science and Machine Learning
Source: BBN Times

Where is Machine Learning Used in Data Science?

When we need to generate precise predictions about a set of data, such as determining whether a patient has a disease based on the results of their bloodwork, we rely on machine learning algorithms in data science. We can achieve this by providing the algorithm with a sizable sample set, which includes the lab findings. The two have many similarities, with patients and people who either had a disease or didn’t. In order to effectively identify whether a patient has a disease based on their test results, the algorithm will continue to learn from these experiences. 

The role of Machine Learning in Data Science takes place in 5 stages: 

  1. Data Collection

    In this stage, relevant data is gathered from various sources, such as databases, APIs, or sensors, to build a dataset for analysis and modeling.

  2. Clean and Prepare Data

    The collected data is cleaned by removing noise, handling missing values, and dealing with inconsistencies. It is then prepared by transforming and organizing it into a suitable format for analysis.

  3. Model Training

    Machine learning algorithms are applied to the prepared data to train a model. The model learns patterns and relationships in the data, adjusting its internal parameters to optimize performance.

  4. Model Evaluation and Retrain

    The trained model is evaluated using appropriate performance metrics to assess its accuracy and effectiveness. If necessary, the model is retrained by adjusting its parameters or selecting a different algorithm to improve its performance.

  5. Prediction

    Once the model is deemed satisfactory, it makes predictions or decisions on new, unseen data. The model applies the knowledge gained during training to generate insights or make predictions based on the input it receives.

Stages of Machine Learning in Data Science | Data Science vs machine learning
Source: Zuci Systems

Data Science vs Machine Learning – Skills Required

In Data Science vs Machine Learning, the skills required for ML Engineer vs Data Scientist are quite similar. 

Skills Required to Become Data Scientist

  • Exceptional Python, R, SAS, or Scala programming skills
  • SQL database coding expertise
  • Familiarity with machine learning algorithms
  • Knowledge of statistics at a deep level
  • Skills in data cleaning, mining, and visualization
  • Knowledge of how to use big data tools like Hadoop.
Skills required
Source: Berkeley Boot Camps

Skills Needed for the Machine Learning Engineer

  • Working knowledge of machine learning algorithms
  • Processing natural language
  • Python or R programming skills are required
  • Understanding of probability and statistics
  • Understanding of data interpretation and modeling.

Skills required
Source: AltexSoft

Data Science vs Machine Learning – Career Options

There are many career options available for Data Science vs Machine Learning.

Careers in Data Science

  • Data scientists: They create better judgments for businesses by using data to comprehend and explain the phenomena surrounding them.
  • Data analysts: Data analysts collect, purge, and analyze data sets to assist in resolving business issues.
  • Data Architect: Build systems that gather, handle, and transform unstructured data into knowledge for data scientists and business analysts.
  • Business intelligence analyst: To build databases and execute solutions to store and manage data, a data architect reviews and analyzes an organization’s data infrastructure.

Top 10 Data Science Careers | Data Science vs machine learning
Source: ZaranTech

Careers in Machine Learning

  • Machine learning engineer: Engineers specializing in machine learning conduct research, develop, and design the AI that powers machine learning and maintains or enhances AI systems.
  • AI engineer: Building the infrastructure for the development and implementation of AI.
  • Cloud engineer: Builds and maintains cloud infrastructure as a cloud engineer.
  • Computational linguist: Develop and design computers that address how human language functions as a computational linguist.
  • Human-centered AI systems designer: Design, create, and implement AI systems that can learn from and adapt to humans to enhance systems and society.

Career Options
Source: LinkedIn


Data Science and Machine Learning are closely related yet distinct fields. While they share common skills and concepts, understanding the nuances between them is vital for individuals pursuing careers in these domains and organizations aiming to leverage their benefits effectively. To delve deeper into the comparison of Data Science vs Machine Learning and enhance your understanding, consider joining Analytics Vidhya’s Blackbelt Plus Program.

The program offers valuable resources such as weekly mentorship calls, enabling students to engage with experienced mentors who provide guidance on their data science journey. Moreover, participants get the opportunity to work on industry projects under the guidance of experts. The program takes a personalized approach by offering tailored recommendations based on each student’s unique needs and goals. Sign-up today to know more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the main difference between Data Science and Machine Learning?

A. The main difference lies in their scope and focus. Data Science is a broader field that encompasses various techniques for extracting insights from data, including but not limited to Machine Learning. On the other hand, Machine Learning is a specific subset of Data Science that focuses on developing algorithms and models that enable machines to learn from data and make predictions or decisions.

Q2. Are the skills required for Data Science and Machine Learning the same?

A. While there is some overlap in the skills required, there are also distinct differences. Data Scientists need strong statistical knowledge, programming skills, data manipulation skills, and domain expertise. In addition to these skills, Machine Learning Engineers require expertise in implementing and optimizing machine learning algorithms and models.

Q3. What is the role of a Data Scientist?

A. The role of a Data Scientist involves collecting and analyzing data, extracting insights, building statistical models, developing data-driven strategies, and communicating findings to stakeholders. They use various tools and techniques, including Machine Learning, to uncover patterns and make data-driven decisions.

Q4. What is the role of a Machine Learning Engineer?

A. Machine Learning Engineers focus on developing and implementing machine learning algorithms and models. They work on tasks such as data preprocessing, feature engineering, model selection, training and tuning models, and deploying them in production systems. They collaborate with Data Scientists and Software Engineers to integrate machine learning solutions into applications.

avcontentteam 04 Jul 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

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