Wondering what’s the better career option between a job profile of business analyst vs data analyst?

On the surface, the job profiles of these two different niches may seem relatively similar to a layman.

However, there are quite a few differences between the two which are based on their responsibilities, requirements, skills, and so on.

When comparing the two job titles, the question here is not about which one of these profiles is the better one.

It is much rather about the type of skills you possess and what better suits your education and inclination.

Although the primary duty of both business analysts and data analysts incorporates the task of dealing with and analyzing data, the difference lies in the implementation of their insights.

You see, data analyst is a figure-centric role dealing specifically and exclusively with data.

Whereas, a business analyst is an all-rounder role that not only includes data analysis but also the implementation of the acquired data into the development of business procedures and services.

If you are good with statistics and data structures, the job profile of a data analyst can suit you better.

As for candidates who are better with business structures and building prototypes, the role of a business analyst might be the one better suited for you.

Here’s what this blog will tell you about a business analyst vs data analyst niche:

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

A business analyst is responsible for analyzing sourced data to develop the business structures, procedures, and overall growth of the business.

With the constantly changing trends and digitalization of every aspect of businesses, business analysts play a vital role in ensuring that the company keeps up with the data-backed changes.

Besides, BAs also serves as a liaison between stakeholders and the general staff, ensuring proper communication and through the implementation of new changes in the business models, etc.

business analyst duties

Source: Medium

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

In simple words, data analysts are responsible for gathering, analyzing, and simplifying statistical data for businesses to comprehend them for their implementation.

All businesses, irrespective of their scales gather a massive amount of data. The key is to identify the data which are useful for their growth and use it to advance their businesses.

That’s precisely what the role of a data analyst entails in a business work-frame.

The data-backed reports produced by data analysts is crucial as it serves as the basis on which businesses and corporations decide on the products and services they must put forward in the market.

Data analysts mitigate risk and grow business profits, so to speak.

Some of the general responsibilities of a data analyst include:

  • Utilizing automated, statistical tools to gather data from open and private sources
  • Filtering out corrupted data and rectifying coding errors
  • Establishing databases and data systems to restructure data in a readable format
  • Analyzing compiled data to evaluate its quality and value
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest global industry trends that can influence the business or organization
  • Developing reports for the management and stakeholders concerning the data backed patterns and forecasts
  • Coordinating with programmers and the executives to identify areas for improvement
  • Presenting comprehensive yet understandable analysis reports to the stakeholders to aid their decision making and resolutions

Data analyst roles

Source: Baianat

Differences in the Work Approach of Business Analyst vs Data Analyst

The distinction between business analysts vs data analysts is not limited to their duties alone.

These professionals also have varying approaches as to how they successfully carry out their responsibilities.

Stages of Business Analytics

Basically, business analysts perform their work in three stages to analyze, forecast, and resolve any problems or queries that businesses may have.

Descriptive analytics:

In this stage, business analysts simply describe the data they have analyzed in a graspable manner that identifies emerged patterns.

They condense the vast data to extract the essential information and characteristics which are critical for businesses and companies.

Predictive analytics:

Predictive analytics, as the name suggests, forecasts the most probable outcome based on the established data and patterns.

Business analysts use machine learning techniques to help achieve predictive analytics and determine the likelihood of various outcomes.

Prescriptive analytics:

Based on the results acquired during the descriptive and predictive analytical stages, business analysts then proceed to reach a suitable resolution for various scenarios.

This stage is called prescriptive analytics and it combines business models and statistics to facilitate decision making.

Techniques of Data Analytics

With the vast amount of data accumulated by businesses, it is only natural that the techniques of data analytics have become almost completely automated.

The most popular and frequently used data analytics techniques that can weed out an enormous amount of data in minutes or hours are as follows:

  • Data mining
  • Predictive analytics
  • Machine learning
  • Big data analytics
  • Text mining

Data analytics techniques

Source: Zarantech

Business Analyst vs Data Analyst Skills

The key skill sets required for business analyst vs data analyst roles vary in several aspects.

Take a look at the different key skills required by business analyst vs data analyst:

business analyst vs data analyst skills

In addition to that, these two job profiles demand knowledge of different technical skills as well.

Jira Python
Rational Requisite Pro Oracle
Balsamiq Spark
Pencil Hive

Business Analyst vs Data Analyst Salary

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary of a business analyst in the US is $77,218. Whereas, a data analyst takes home a median pay of $69,517 annually.

The average salaries of these professionals change depending on the experience, location, company, and industry.

Here are the average business analyst salaries based on experience levels:

  • Entry level business analyst median salary: $56,915
  • Mid-career business analyst median salary: $85,381
  • Senior business analyst median salary: $1,01,277

Meanwhile, the median data analyst salaries based on experience levels are:

  • Entry level data analyst salary: $41,374
  • Mid-career data analyst salary: $69,251
  • Senior data analyst salary: $96,809

Whichever career path you decide to be the best suited for you, ensure to have a killer resume ready for job applications and a customized cover letter to go along with it.

How to Choose the Correct Career Path?

As the career paths of both business analyst and data analyst are equally rewarding, it is important to make a choice between the two based on the following factors:

Your Educational Background

This is one of the determining factors that will impact your choice when it comes to choosing between the two careers of business analysts and data analysts.

Aspiring business analysts generally have a degree in business or related fields while data analysts have a degree in maths, science, programming, etc.

Your Personal Interest

You are more likely to thrive in a career that also suits your interests and your natural inclination.

If you are drawn towards the more technical side of things and are more interested in working with numbers, the role of a data analyst is more suitable for you.

Whereas, if you are someone who likes to focus on the organizational and business aspects, starting your career as a business analyst could be the right choice for you.

Your Professional Goals

The salary and the potential of growth in these two career paths can differ based on the company you work for, the industry you're in, and your location.

With that being said, at the initial level, business analysts earn more than data analysts.

However, as data analysts advance in their career path and get promoted to data scientists, these professionals earn a higher range of salary as opposed to business analysts who are advancing in their career path at the same rate.

One of the reasons for this is because data scientist is a highly technical role and demands more training and technical knowledge like coding and so on.

To get more comprehensive details about these job profiles before making your career choice, here are some suggested reads:

Salient Points from the Blog

  • The job profiles of business analysts vs data analysts incorporate the task of dealing with and analyzing data but the difference lies in the implementation of their insights
  • Data analyst is a figure centric role dealing specifically and exclusively with data whereas a business analyst is an all-rounder role
  • Candidates who are good with data structures prefer the role of data analyst while those good with business structures prefer becoming a business analyst
  • Business analysts are responsible for analyzing data with the purpose of developing the business structures, procedures, and overall growth of the business
  • Data analysts are responsible for gathering, analyzing, and simplifying statistical data for businesses to comprehend them for their implementation
  • There are 3 types of business analytics, namely descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics
  • Some of the most commonly used data analytics techniques are data mining, machine learning, text mining, and so on
  • A few of the must-have skills of a business analyst include prototyping, process optimization, and root cause analysis among others
  • Data analysts must possess coding and scripting skills, along with proficiency in programming languages
  • The average annual salary of a business analyst and data analyst in the US is $77,218 and $69,517 respectively

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