As I set outside ESD I observe the following; escorts and cruisers. The game has nothing for science officers. There is no reason to fly a science ship. Everyone prefers cruisers and escorts over science ships.
Now you ask why? Well for one science abilities are grossly under powered. Almost all the abilities a science ship uses is on the same platform meaning you have to wait 15 seconds to use another ability. In pvp that 15 seconds will kill you.
As it stands, there is no reason to fly anything but an escort. And forget about pvp, with almost EVERY klink ship under cloak the science ships are usually alpha'd and then the rest of the fleet dies just as quickly.
So as it stands now, my advice to new captains... go tactical or engineer. You will be disappointed in your science officer.
You'll just be disappointed with a science ship, not necessarily a science officer. I'm loving my science officer in my escort. I love being able to blow the crap out of stuff in space and then switching to healer mode while on the ground.
My D'Kyr strongly disagrees with you. I do feel that the Devs gave us a big Nerf both by putting all the relevant boosting skills for Sci Abilities at the end of the Space Skills (While limiting how much we can spend in space... ) and they have had a problem with not fixing Tyken's Rift for several Months now since they broke it allowing it to be targeted and killed by any AOE Targeting effect like BFAW and the Point Defense System.
However, Science ships are still very powerful crowd control ships. They can mess up NPC's horribly and are vicious in PvP if you know how to fly them correctly. They are not an Escort and will not deal that kind of damage but they can tank rather effectively and can SHUT DOWN an enemy ship if used right. Just keep one proper adage in mind: An Un-Moving ship is a Dead ship.