Devops Engineer to Machine Learning

Hello! I’m looking for some career advice, for or against a move I’m considering making. I’m thinking of moving from a senior position in “DevOps (see description below)” to machine learning. I’m wondering what people here think, is it a good move or no?

My Experience
My current skillset is that of a “Devops Engineer” - heavy on the “ops” side. Basically a bastardized combination of systems engineering with some development and lots of automation thrown in. So in general I’m more familiar with setting up infrastructure, automating things, configuring monitoring etc, but also have some knowledge of python and golang.

I have about 10 years in the tech field in general, and about 5 in the “devops” field.

I have put together a pretty comprehensive learning plan based on other forums, articles, etc etc . . . and I’ve already started learning.


  1. Overall would you say stay away from the ML field? I’ve got some pretty rough discouragements from one forum I was on .
  2. If you’ve made a similar move, was it worth it?
  3. Is it possible to build the necessary skillsets on your own time so that you could enter at mid-level or should I expect it will only be possible to drop back down to junior level?
  4. Maybe a good move would be to move to ML/Ops - which is very similar to DevOps but for the ML field, then later move to an ML Engineer position?
  5. Are there really very many career opportunities out there for ML engineers (I’m living in the EU - idk if people can answer to that)? I do see a lot fewer job reqs for ML engineers than DevOps for example.

it’s a really interesting field, it may be difficult if you don’t have a related degree as it relies a lot on statistics, mathematics and such, but I don’t believe it’s impossible.

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Personally I would recommend to continue what you have begun.

You need Strong Mathematics, Statistics,Theoretical ML, Python/R/Scala and also SQL, Hadoop,Spark.
You may be right, but these requirements may not be easy to fulfill.
2. Let´s clear misunderstandings:
2.1. ML engineer is not generally an entry job option.
2.2. For most of the jobs you will need at least a Master degree in a Quantitative Discipline, indeed some PhD’s make a career move to the ML field
If you have at least the half of the requirements, it may be a good idea.
In any case is your decision.
Good Luck


Thank you, I do appreciate your input.

Ok, so right now I’ ve started self-learning on all of these things, so maybe to clarify, you don’t think it’s reasonable to move careers with self-learning/online courses?

Can I ask what people usually start with to get to ML engineer if it’s not the entry-point?

I cannot answer to that because this is a question with different opinions and testimonials and may work for some and not for others.
However, personally I think is always good to learn, even about another fields.

Data Scientist, Data Engineer or Software Engineer
I think you first should learn more about ML, and then decide.
Personally, I started Machine Learning with the theory, watching lectures (In part because I love Statistics and Mathematics).
There may be another approach to you. Perhaps, you find the practical part more easier.
Don´t get me wrong, if this is what you want to do, you sure can do it, but first you must be sure and confident about it, because a career specialization(not to say a career change is not easy).
This is a very, very good introduction to ML.

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Ok thank you; I’ve actually gone through some basic courses. I suppose probably the best approach right now is to keep learning it on the back-burner and see where it goes.

I would say I find it incredibly interesting, but if I’m honest I’m not 100% certain. Thank you for career clarifications also. I was under the impression that Data-scientist was a subset/related field, but didn’t think of it as an entry point.

So, in your opinion - for breaking into the field would it make sense to:

  1. Start improving software development skillsets more strongly (a positive for my current field anway)
  2. Work on introductory classes to ML, datascience, and related maths.
  3. See if I can break into a Data scientist or Software Engineer career-path, and if that works out and is enjoyable then start working toward ML Engineer?
  4. Do you have any thoughts on ML/OPs? I’m starting to think it might not be so relevant if I really want to move to ML.

Ofc at some point I may just decide it’s really not for me ofc, but does that sound like a reasonable approach from your point of view?

Again, really appreciate you taking the time to explain :smiley: .

DS is a field it its own, however a ML Eng, must understand what a DS do.
you could find orientation here

This would be great in any case.

As career orientation, yes. However, know that many jobs descriptions require at least a Master degree.

Sorry, sincerely, In this case I don’t know too much to write about it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: , I’m concerned with ML and Data Mining but not too much with Software Development.
In any case, first see if the path likes you or not. If the answer is yes, you should make a plan about how to pursue the career change, it will take time.
Finally, as far as I know, FCC will launch a Data Science Curriculum in the future, this could be a good start to you.
Best wishes

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Ok, thank you very much. I’ll look over the resources you’ve posted and do some more work and thinking!

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You have time. In any case, is good you continue earning more work experience in Software Engineering :wink: .
Sometimes you have the skills, but not work experience, so earning it as much as you can is a wise choice.

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