MLOps Engineer vs Data Scientist: What's the difference?

MLOps Engineer, Data Scientist, Careers,
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As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to revolutionize various industries, a range of roles has emerged to support this growth. Two key players in this domain are MLOps Engineers and Data Scientists. While their roles may seem similar at first glance, there are important differences between the two. In this article, we’ll dive into the distinctions between MLOps Engineer vs Data Scientist, and explore how each contributes to the world of machine learning.

What is a Data Scientist?

A Data Scientist is a professional who specializes in extracting insights from vast amounts of data. They combine their expertise in mathematics, statistics, and programming to analyze and interpret data, solve complex problems, and ultimately drive better decision-making within an organization. Data Scientists work closely with business stakeholders to understand their goals and develop machine learning models that can help achieve those objectives.

Key responsibilities of a Data Scientist include:

What is an MLOps Engineer?

An MLOps Engineer, on the other hand, focuses on the operational aspects of machine learning. They work to ensure that machine learning models are efficiently and effectively deployed, monitored, and maintained within an organization’s infrastructure. MLOps Engineering is the bridge between Data Science and software engineering, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, automation, and robust processes to support machine learning workflows.

Key responsibilities of an MLOps Engineer include:

MLOps Engineer vs Data Scientist: Key Differences

While there is some overlap between the roles of MLOps Engineer and Data Scientist, the main differences lie in their areas of focus and expertise.

  1. Focus: Data Scientists are primarily concerned with developing and refining machine learning models, whereas MLOps Engineers work on the operational side of deploying, monitoring, and managing those models.
  2. Expertise: Data Scientists possess strong analytical and mathematical skills, along with knowledge of machine learning algorithms and techniques. MLOps Engineers, in contrast, have a deeper understanding of software engineering principles, cloud services, and infrastructure.
  3. Collaboration: While both roles require excellent communication and collaboration skills, MLOps Engineers work more closely with software engineers, DevOps teams, and IT professionals to ensure seamless integration of machine learning models into an organization’s existing infrastructure.
  4. Model lifecycle: Data Scientists are involved in the early stages of the machine learning model lifecycle, from data collection and preprocessing to model development and evaluation. MLOps Engineers, however, are responsible for the later stages, including model deployment, monitoring, and maintenance.


Understanding the differences between MLOps Engineer vs Data Scientist is crucial for organizations looking to build a strong machine learning team. While both roles contribute significantly to the success of AI and ML projects, they each have unique skill sets and areas of focus. By recognizing and appreciating these distinctions, organizations can better allocate resources, foster collaboration, and drive innovation in their machine learning initiatives.

If you’re looking to become an MLOps Engineer check out our article about the 5 skills you need to be successful.

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