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Machine Learning Engineer vs. Research Scientist

Knowing the distinction helps take better academic and career decisions. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the distinction between the positions of machine learning engineer and research scientist. ML engineers are primarily concerned with development and not theory. Most ML Engineers hold Master’s degrees, and only a few ML Engineers have undertaken PhDs. In contrast, most research scientists hold specialized doctorates because they highlight the theoretical side of the solutions.

Machine Learning is an evolving multidisciplinary field and a fluid concept. Descriptions usually do not paint the full picture of the roles. ML Engineers need to look at the bigger picture. Research scientists need a more oriented viewpoint, and their work appears to be quite problem-focused and precise. Both professions take a considerable amount of time and commitment to achieve, but the rewards are substantial.

Machine Learning Engineers, Data Scientist, and Research Scientists

From a wider perspective, a research scientist focuses on discovering new ML approaches and devising novel algorithms, while a machine learning engineer assists in applying them to real-world applications. Engineers help advance machine learning by arriving with clever ways to operate such algorithms or creating open-source libraries. On the other side, research scientists come up with quick implementations of such algorithms that render running them in production more effective and useful.

Machine learning engineers can get by without knowing the intricacies of the underlying mathematics of the predictive models. A data scientist collects, analyzes the data, and interprets insights from massive quantities of data. In comparison, the research scientist develops and experiments with new types and kinds of networks, changing and devising new optimization and minimization algorithms.

A machine learning engineer can function without an advanced understanding of the mathematics behind predictive and statistical models. A data scientist is a researcher who collects, analyzes, and interprets incredibly vast volumes of data. In contrast, the research scientist creates and experiments with new networks, modifying and formulating new optimization and minimization algorithms.


Machine learning engineers combine software engineering and data science. They harness big data techniques and computing systems to make raw data meaningful. A data scientist’s role involves managing and operating large datasets from various sources. The roles & duties of a data scientist include tracking the data collection method when further data is needed and consults with customers to discuss how organization data may be utilized for business outcomes.

A machine learning engineer’s responsibilities depend on the nature of the project they work on. They control the process of building statistical modeling algorithms: data scientists store and clean the large sets of data. In a nutshell, ML engineers use tools that research scientists create.

Research scientist’s responsibilities include research into probabilistic algorithms and developing innovative solutions at a scale, guiding the data scientists and engineers, and work in conjunction with ML engineers, data scientists, and data engineers, and collaborate with product management.

Machine learning engineer’s responsibilities include understanding computer concepts, producing outcomes, fixing issues, collaborating with project teams, managing the infrastructure, building statistics-based algorithms, and bringing code to production.

Machine Learning Engineer and Researcher's Job Description is As Follows

The function of a machine learning engineer is much more well-defined than the position of a research scientist in most cases. The organizations that employ people with that job description are the ones that have an evident understanding of how and why they want to apply machine learning in their operations. Furthermore, since these organizations nearly always employ data scientists, they have established a clear line of demarcation between the two professions. The job title of a research scientist is often misunderstood. It’s generally an analyst who has a working knowledge of programming and machine learning techniques. A machine learning engineer is a full-fledged software engineer who has chosen to specialize in machine learning as part of their career.

The following are the most significant roles of machine learning engineers and researchers, in broad terms: Machine learning experiments are carried out using a programming language that includes machine learning libraries. ML engineers put machine learning solutions into production. ML researchers evaluate the performance and scalability of solutions. These experts use data engineering to ensure that data flows smoothly between databases and backend systems. They also ensure that custom machine learning code is being implemented.

A machine learning scientist seeks to comprehend the fundamental concepts that underpin machine learning. For the most part, statisticians are the most significant examples of machine learning scientists. In machine learning, the most profound results may be found in statistics. Some of the most well-known classifiers, such as support vector machines and boosting, were developed due to machine learning research. Throughout history, science has sometimes come before engineering, and, conversely, engineering has sometimes come before science.

In some instances, engineering comes first, followed by science, like deep learning. In the presence of sufficient data, it seems to perform astonishingly well when the test data follows the same distribution as the training data. Additionally, as a result of the efforts of ML researchers, the next generation of scientifically designed deep learning architectures will be much better than the approaches now available. Scientists and engineers have a complex connection that is intricately intertwined.

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