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Not sure if this is a right forum. Please advise if not.

I am currently employed as a Software Engineer and am fairly happy. Except, I'd like to make more money. I hear data science is the hottest field these days but wasn't sure if it paid more. I was contemplating to get a certificate like this one.

I understand in the beginning it might not be more than what I currently make (~100K) as I am new to the field. However, in few years (let's say about 3 years) is it common to make 150K+?

I have a MS in Computer Science, and was good at math classes. So I feel confident in being able to transition.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are these figures in US $? your location will be important too. $\endgroup$ – JDL Sep 1 '16 at 9:23
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Data scientist won't actually make you better paid. You might have seen 150k+ for some data scientists, but those people usually have a Phd and they can get similar salary even they do something else.

Data science is a very big field; you can work in the field as a software engineer. But don't expect training a gradient boosting model; you'll more likely be asked to process Hadloop big data application, optimization Python workflow etc.

In my experience, a data science certificate is useless. If your next position is a software engineering in data science, you don't need a certificate; you'll just need have a good proven record that you can deal with data. If you next position will be mathematical modelling, you'll need something like a Phd.

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Let me talk only about my own attempt to transition from Software Engineering to Machine Learning area. First of all - it is definitely doable without becoming a Phd. I made my NLP stuff working pretty well using 3rd party libs after auditing some of:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/machine-learning

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/jhu-data-science

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/statistics

As for the salaries - this article could probably answer your question and help with salary negotiations:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-much-does-data-scientist-make-ill-show-you-vin-vashishta

Good luck!

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You can make plenty of money as a software engineer. It depends on how good you are, and how scarce your skills are. If you transition to data science, you'll be starting from close to scratch, and will be paid accordingly. I don't know where you live, but you can currently make $150K in Silicon Valley as a data scientist or a software engineer. Search for salary surveys in your area.

A certificate won't get you hired -- passing the interview will -- but it will help you get past HR. Maybe you should take the classes just to see if you enjoy it.

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