(First published on Quora on Jan 2, 2018)
There are numerous factors at play here and you should pick the offer that provides the best balance among lifestyle/career/financial well-being /family.
Let’s get the location bit out of the way first. Weather-wise, yes it does get cold but mostly manageable and you will love the cooler summer/fall. Plus there’s more to Chicago than just the winter. I moved to east coast from bay area 12+ years ago and now I actually love the seasonal changes. Weather should not be high on the priority list, especially if you can check the other boxes on your wish-list. Don’t let it deter you especially if the role is to your liking.
Now of the 2 roles, the data scientist role is more comprehensive requiring more competencies in math/stats and biz domain expertise. You will probably be closer to the management, providing inputs to the business. But you would have the exact job requirements, so can be a better judge.
If not already, you should have a career plan in place and then figure out which role is a better fit and provides maximum growth opportunities. If in doubt, reach out and consult seniors/experts and even peers to help you with this. It may take some serious soul searching but you should come with a clearer view of where you are headed.
If you want to be objective, a little weighted-factor analysis should be right up your alley. You can get a worksheet off the web. I’d recommend that be comprehensive and figure out at least 20 factors you strongly feel about (both +ve and –ve) and do assign the weights before scoring. Here’s a sample of factors:
From this analysis, If the total scores for each role diverge, then you have a clear winner. But If scores are similar, then don’t overthink, just trust and go with your gut.
Hope that helps.