How related is Data Science to Computer Science? | Coursera Community
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How related is Data Science to Computer Science?


Hello everyone,

Once again being inspired by @richk , as mentioned in another thread ( https://coursera.community/data-science-8/data-science-versus-bioinformatics-what-are-the-differences-173 ) , who courageously asked the question, "What is Data Science" : https://coursera.community/data-science-8/what-is-data-science-106 , I am curious about relation of computer science to data science too. How different are these fields? Computer science involves a lot more programming, I guess? But so does data science?

It would be great if some of you could shed some light into this as well.

Thank you.

5 replies

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Hey Denise,
According to my experience, Computer Science and Data Science have lot of similarities, like both requires good programming skills and all. Basically the ones working in this field of Data Science have good knowledge of Computer Science. But vice versa is not always true.
Data Science also contains statistics and Business Knowledge. Basically, when parts of all these three combines, then Data Science is form.
Data generated in today's world is filtered using computer science and statistics knowledge, and the results extracted from it is used to aid the business.
Data Scientist as defined by Josh Wills :
" Person who is better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician "
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Computer Scientist is the person who specilizes in the computation and/or the computetional systems design.

Data Scientist is the person who uses algorythms, methods... in order to find the hidden stories in the data, the insightsof the data, whether the data is structured or unstructured.
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I'm not sure that we'll gain too much by being super-picky about the meaning of one term over another. I can think of some topics that are definitely "Computer Science but not Data Science" (for example operating system schedulers, parsing methods), and some definitely in Data Science but not "computer science" (bias elimination in recommendataions).

When I started in computing, a computer was a large roomful of equipment, and even those of us developing on it were lucky to get more than one development run each day. Today I've got orders of magnitude more computer power than that in my phone. Today computer power is so readily available that we emphasize using it in particular interest areas, rather than as a specific topic in its own right.

That's my instinct about data science. It is the use of computers to solve business problems that involve lots of data.
Thanks so much @Satyam Kumar , @Elias_P and @Gordon for your very helpful comments. These are quite enlightening indeed. Yes, I wonder about how strict one has to be about the definition of these terms too @Gordon . I had a quick look online, here are a few links I spotted that might also help to understand these two amazing fields:

https://datascience.berkeley.edu/about/what-is-data-science/ which has some good flow charts explaining it.

https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zxgdwmn on computer science, but I am not sure if this is far too basic.

So, here is this one from Python: http://interactivepython.org/runestone/static/pythonds/Introduction/WhatIsComputerScience.html

Here is one comparing the two fields as a career choice: https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/computer-science-vs-data-science/

What do you all think? Are these definitions accurate? If you have more links to share or comment, please feel free to contribute further. Thank you.
Thank you @Denise for posing this question. As an Arts and Humanities type person, I was wondering what the difference was myself. And thank you @Elias_P , @Gordon , and @Satyam Kumar for taking the time to answer. I found your thoughts very enlightening.

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