Key Differences between Data Science and Machine Learning

These days, data science, machine learning, and analytics are growing at an astronomical rate. All these concepts work together to help professionals in making swift business decisions in the hour of need. Both data science and machine learning play a key role in this process.

Due to the existing similarities between the concepts, people oftentimes tend to confuse between them. Notwithstanding the comparable elements of both these aspects, there also exists a clear line of distinction.

This post will outline the elements that help delineate the differences between both the concepts, despite the existing similarities between them.

Data Science vs. Machine Learning: Differences in their meanings

Key Differences between Data Science and Machine Learning

Data science refers to the interdisciplinary field comprising scientific methods and algorithms, processes, and systems for the extraction of knowledge. In addition, it also involves insights from structured and unstructured data. It has its direct links not only with data mining and machine learning but also with big data. Among other things, it provides meaningful information based on larger blocks or chunks of data which proves to be helpful in computation as well as decision-making processes.

On the other hand, machine learning is one of the subsets of data science. In other words, it is one of the components of data science that simplifies the process of data interpretation or extraction. Machine learning provides the algorithms for the analysis of big data – one of the core aspects of data science. Thus, knowing the basics of machine learning is an important criterion for data scientists to perform their tasks with efficiency.

Skills for becoming a data scientist

Anyone interested in building a strong career in the domain of data science needs the requisite skills and expertise in programming, analytics, as well as domain knowledge. The combination of both comes in handy in the prominent fields of data science such as Python and SAS. Besides, emerging data scientists also need a good understanding and hands-on experience in the SQL database coding.

Data science is all about data; as such, apart from structured data, data scientists also need relevant skills to work with unstructured data from various sources such as videos and social media. Multiple analytical skills play a critical role in understanding the algorithms in machine learning.

Skills for becoming a machine learning expert

Machine learning works as a different perspective related to statistics. There is some critical skill set that can become the jump start of a career in the fast-growing domain. Machine learning experts need expertise in computer fundamentals, development of in-depth knowledge of the programming skills, data modeling, and evaluation skills in connection with probability and statistics.

Data Science -Process

It goes without saying that the proliferation of both digital technology and smartphones has had a massive impact on the lives of people over the last couple of decades. In line with Moore’s Law, the computing world is becoming more powerful with the passage of time without the need for a high budget. The credit for this change goes to the emergence of data science as an important discipline.

The definition of data science has changed due to the advancement in its processes over the last few years which culminates in the skills of data scientists. At present, the majority of them bring a unique combination of the skills as well as experience in programming languages such as Python.

Besides, they also excel at the art of employing statistical methods to figure out database architecture while handling real-time queries pertaining to huge blocks of data. The data science experts start building the existing knowledge for ensuring that they are having enough practical applications to hold a long career in the ever-growing field. However, there are some limitations to data science as well.

No doubt, big data has its own share of advantages. But it also presents some challenges related to the analysis of smaller chunks of data without using huge resources that are generally used for massive blocks of data.

Thus, despite numerous ways to manage big data, there is a scope for further improvement in the capacity of data science to analyze data chunks of lesser size without using larger resources. Data scientists are on the frontline to overcome this challenge.

Machine learning-Process
Machine learning-Process

Machine learning courses create useful program models by autonomously testing solutions against the available data. By virtue of it, it provides an easy viable option to accomplish labor-intensive tasks. For some, it can go ahead with the creation of informed decisions by making predictions about complex topics in a smart and efficient way. It proves to be helpful in numerous sectors such as the healthcare sector, computer security, as well as more machine learning algorithms.

These days, both engineers and programmers are trying to optimize algorithms for generating solutions to all kinds of queries. Despite some existing issues with machine learning, it has been handy in cost-cutting. Thus far, its ability to help businesses in overcoming complex issues without a huge investment has been amazing.

The application of the techniques in the industry is like lending medicine for hiring. It also makes the ethical concerns in the long run. Machine learning algorithms start operating without the enforcement of explicit rules. The machine learning algorithms come in the form of the black box that helps in understanding the neural networks as well. Machine learning is now proving to be the tool that becomes the belt of the data scientist. It also allows making machine learning work with the skilled data scientist who can start with the organizing of the data as well as the application of the proper tools for the functioning of the numbers.

A concise list of the key differences


The rationale behind using data science is to connect the dots to find a pattern within a given set of data. This pattern helps develop product features or derive insight. Data teams work together in sync to attain these goals.

For simplifying matters in achieving their goals, the data team relies on the four-fold components of data science. These include data strategy, data engineering, data analysis and models, and data visualization and operationalization.

Other than the selection of data, a data strategy also includes the ways to collect the requisite information about it. As far as the prospect of data selection is concerned, most companies let go off the thought of using a specific mathematical technique. Instead, their concerned data scientists plan things from the standpoint of collecting the data that would help in the attainment of business goals. After its identification and determination, professionals draw up a strategy to analyze it against the company goals.

Data engineering corresponds to those systems or technologies that make it a breeze to access the data and organize it for ease of use. First up, professionals create a data system. Next, they make data pipelines, and endpoints either using a single technology or even multiple technologies at once.

According to most people, data analysis is one of the key aspects of machine learning. This component makes use of mathematics after data extraction to create an algorithm. This algorithm helps in predicting the manner in which a model works. Other than mathematics and statistics, it also involves the use of computing, the scientific method.

On pen and paper, visualization and operationalization are the two processes that are believed to be distinct from one another. However, in practical terms, they are interconnected with each other. Operationalization deals with the idea of using a large chunk of data in a specific manner, whereas visualization plays an important role in determining the output after using a large chunk of data in hand.

On the contrary, machine learning comes with a completely different set of components. It is a data-driven concept that revolves around the idea that the solution to a problem lies in the evaluation of data. While it is true to a greater extent, and also works well for offering a solution to most problems, it may not be applicable in certain cases.

The success of machine learning as a solution to a problem depends on two important factors: iteration and visualization. Both of these factors play a critical role in its success. ML has close links with artificial intelligence (AI) which deals with the concept of predicting future outcomes. Analysis of data is of paramount importance to execute this task.

From detecting a credit card fraud to operating self-driving cars, machine learning can perform a wide range of tasks. To accomplish these tasks, it makes use of three primary components: representation, evaluation, and optimization.

Representation in machine learning is all about the ways to represent knowledge with the help of support vector machines, neural networks, graphical models, instances, and different sets of rules. Depending on the approach of an entity (either an individual or an organization), there can also be some other elements on the list.

Evaluation in machine learning refers to the process of assessing hypotheses or candidate programs. Some of the best examples of it include entropy k-L divergence, margin, cost, posterior probability, likelihood, squared error, prediction and recall, and so on. For the success of tasks related to machine learning, evaluation plays a key role. However, the only requirement is that it should be accurate.

By and large, optimization is concerned with the generation of programs through search processes. The best examples of optimization include constrained optimization, convex optimization, combinatorial optimization, and so on.

Methodology of development 

The alignment of data science, to a large extent, resembles that of engineering projects with well-defined milestones. Most data scientists aim at achieving those targeted milestones.

On the other hand, machine learning, it starts with a hypothesis that corresponds to the availability of data and its proper analysis.


Visualization, in general, goes ahead with the data science representation of the data directly with the use of popular graphs like pie and bar machine learning. It starts with the representation of the mathematical model for data training and the visualization of a confusing matrix. Its multi-class classification comes with the quick identification of false positives as well as negatives.

Involvement of language 

SQL and SQL like Syntax languages like Spark SQL are the most used language in the data science world. Besides, other data processing languages, especially the framework-specific well-supported languages, that act as a script are also in use these days.

When it comes to the machine learning world, you can see that Python and R work in the form of the most popular kind of language.

Nowadays, Python is also gaining momentum in the form of the deep learning model for the conversion to Python SQL which plays a part in the data exploration phase of machine learning.

A highlight on the scalable versus none scalable jobs

Most organizations have a streamlined and well-defined process for hiring data scientists for different projects. At the initial stage, a new hire contributes to their company with their manual effort. Thereafter, they progress to the next stage wherein they work with machine learning.

As a part of their job role, they work on scalable jobs. The creation of general-purpose machine algorithms exemplifies it in the best possible manner. While they create a machine learning algorithm for a general task, they may also come up with a separate algorithm for a specific task.

For a company, the benefits of hiring machine learning experts for a company goes beyond the tasks that are related to it. The job of a data scientist is a case in point. To a large extent, these professionals depend on the algorithms of machine learning for performing their tasks. Thus, employing expert machine learning professionals also helps data scientists in performing their jobs.

Machine learning is not just confined to highly scalable jobs. As much important as it is for the latter, it is also equally useful for low scalable jobs. Such jobs usually involve the assessment of the assets of a company and other such tasks. As such, the role of ML experts becomes important.

Due to the rapid transformation of the definition of machine learning at the present time, the priorities of professionals linked to it are also changing at the ground level. Perhaps it is the reason for which they are channeling all their efforts into developing algorithms that can simplify the task of data analysis without compromising with the ability to make accurate predictions.

Final word

Data science is a versatile concept with the potential to grow further in the future. It is about two things: collecting larger blocks of data, and analyzing them for predicting insights. There are different ways of doing it but they all need an algorithm that comes from machine learning. Despite showing some similarities in the concept, they also have numerous differences that mark a line of distinction between them. At present, most companies use these concepts in conjunction with one another to achieve targeted business outcomes. The points listed above delineate the differences between the concepts.

If you wish to employ these aspects to reap the maximum benefits of both for your business, getting help from professionals is the best solution to your need.

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