There is some confusion between the roles of data analysts and business analysts. The confusion is because, in smaller companies, the roles overlap or are used interchangeably. However, in larger organizations, both the business analyst and data analyst are employed. So what is the difference between these two roles if both deal with numbers?
An Overview of Data Analyst and Business Analyst
Knowing the work each role performs goes a long way in clearing the doubts regarding their differences.
The fundamental job of a data analyst is to collect data, organize, use it to address problems, and make informed decisions. The work of the data analyst also depends on the type of data being handled. For example, he/she can work with information related to sales, health, insurance, retail, etc. The job involves the following responsibilities
- Designing the databases, maintaining it and also troubleshooting in case of issues with the data systems
- Preparing the data for analysis by cleansing the data and mining it for useful content
- Report generation of the mined data and communicate the findings to the stakeholders.
To apply for entry-level positions a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in analytical and statistical skills is essential. One can also learn data analytics through various training programs and get certified to become eligible. To apply for senior positions, work experience in the relevant field is essential and a master’s degree in analytics is a plus.
Business Analyst, BA
A business analyst will use the data that is generated and make strategic decisions. He/she is more concerned about the implications of the data on the business and the actions that need to be taken. Some of the other job titles for a BA could be a business data analyst, operation research analyst to management analyst. The job responsibilities of a BA are:
- Examining and validating the business processes so that they are valuable, efficient, and cost-effective.
- Creating recommendations on business processes and procedures, adjusting them, and ensuring improvements in performance and productivity.
- Presenting the insights to the stakeholders
A business analyst needs to be good in problem-solving, critical thinking, process improvement, and communication skills. Having a working knowledge of data analytics is enough, but if you are looking to move up the ladder quickly, data analytics courses can help gain knowledge. For entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree in business administration is needed. For senior positions, advanced data skills are needed.
Differences between Data Analyst and Business Analyst
- It is to be noted that both work with the data but the main difference is in what they do with the data. The data analysts gather and analyze the data and come up with reports so that the business can make useful decisions. On the other hand, business analysts use the data generated by the data analysts and propose effective decisions so that the organization succeeds. Simply put, the work of business analysts starts when the work of data analysts ends.
- In terms of technical knowledge in data skills, data analysts need to have programming language, analytical, and visualization skills. Whereas the business analyst need not be technically adept but have critical thinking and decision making skills.
- A business analyst is in equal demand when compared to a data analyst but earns a salary that is a little lower than the data analyst.
Now that you know the differences between both roles, a promising future awaits irrespective of the role you choose.