Differences of a business analyst vs data analyst. There are a lot of similarities between these roles which can cause them to be a little confusing to people. There are a few key differences though. Are you ready for an analytics career? Get the comprehensive guide “How to Become a Data Analyst”. Topics include key skills and how to build them, career paths, gaining experience, and launching your career. Check out the link in the description for more. Let’s take a look at business analyst vs data analyst. We’ll talk about what they focus on, who they mainly interact with, and the main skills that are needed for each of these roles. First, let’s look at the focus of a business analyst vs data analyst.
The main focus of a business analyst is analyzing the organization, processes or problems through a business lens. As the name implies, they’re heavy on the business aspect. On the other hand, while the work at data analysts does is used to make business decisions, their focus is primarily on the data side of things and analyzing that data. Because business analysts focus heavily on the business side of things, they’re going to need strong communication and leadership skills. In many cases this leadership is going to involve influencing without authority or influencing people even when you don’t manage them. This means your powers of persuasiveness are especially important as a business analyst.
You need to be able to relate and connect with people and communicate the importance of the work you’re doing and get buy-in of why it’s valuable for that person to participate all as part of doing your job as a business analyst. Sure there are times when management’s going to dictate that certain people have to provide things or have to work with you but you’re going to be a much stronger business analyst if you work on those persuasiveness and influencing skills. Data analysts need skills that are stronger in the data area. While you do need communication and leadership skills to be a really outstanding analyst, it’s equally as important or more critical even that you have skills when it comes to working with data whether that’s programming or math and statistical skills.
That’s going to be your primary focus area as a data analyst. Still spend time building those communication, leadership, persuasiveness, influencing skills. They’re great to have as a data analyst. But also spend a lot of time on how you analyze data, how you visualize data because these are going to be key components of how you communicate and what you communicate to the rest of the organization. Business analysts will also spend some time analyzing data and visualizing data, however, not to the degree that a data analyst typically will.
They’re either dealing with simpler data sets to work with or doing simpler visualizations, but in general – in most roles – they’re not going to be spending the amount of time that a data analyst is on this visualization and data analysis part. Let’s look at the type of background you need to be a business analyst vs data analyst. A data analyst will typically have some sort of math or programming background though not always. They will have some stronger technical skills than most people in the organization though. There are data analytics and data scientist degrees available now but it’s safe to say that most people entering these jobs don’t have one of these specialized degrees because they’re just not as widespread as math degrees are which you can get at most colleges and universities.
And if you graduated more than five years ago then you probably didn’t go to the handful of colleges or programs in the country that offered a data analyst degree. You could also transition into a data analyst career if you have a strong technical background and have built up your data analyst skills over time. A business analyst on the other hand is more likely to have a business background though some business analysts have that same background as a data analyst. It really comes down to what you choose to specialize in.
It’s extremely common for people to transition from business analyst to data analyst or data analyst to business analyst during their career based on which aspect of the job they found more enjoyable and that they tend to be better at. A business analyst who really likes the programming or the data side of things may decide to transition into being a data analyst and a data analyst that really likes to work on solving practical problems may decide to transition to a business analyst where they’re more hands-on in the business. There’s also some variability depending on how companies implement the role and how you personally perform the role. There are definitely business analyst roles out there and people in business analyst roles that tend to be very technical business analysts.
And there are people in data analyst roles that tend to be very business oriented data analysts or very problem-solving focused data analysts. In terms of pay, both of these positions are fairly similar with pay starting out in the high 70s to low 80s. Data analysts tend to pay a little bit more because they tend to need more specific technical expertise that’s not as widespread available as business analyst backgrounds. There are more people graduating with business degrees than with data analysts and math degrees so the pool of candidates tends to be larger for business analysts than data analysts which also drives a slightly higher salary.
At the end of the day, there’s not a huge difference and you shouldn’t make a decision on which of these fields you go into based on the pay because it’s within a few thousand dollars of each other. And if you’re an outstanding business analyst your pay is going to go up better over time then if you’re not that great of a data analyst and you’re just doing it because you start out with three thousand dollars more a year. With the numbers we’re talking about in terms of pay, you’ll be well paid and what you decide to spend your money on is going to make a much bigger difference than the actual salary difference between those two positions of business analyst vs data analyst. those are the key differences and some similarities between a business analyst vs data analyst. Were you surprised by any of them?Let me know in the comments below. Or if you have other questions about the differences or similarities let me know below. I’d be happy to answer them.