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Riya P Mathew
Riya P Mathew

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Data Analyst vs Business Analyst

The contemporary world hosts an exceedingly large volume of data that needs to be analysed and scrutinized to have reflective insights that pave the way to wiser decisions and tactical business actions. The harness of Big Data is seen quite common these days by different companies to outpace their peers. At this juncture, it can be safely speculated that none of the businesses can survive without the bytes and megabytes of data that define their growth. The two key roles in the field of data are business analysts and data analysts, whose job roles often give rise to common confusion. The two titles play a crucial part in harnessing data, with a range of similarities and some distinct key facts that make each unique from the other – how do they deal with data?

In smaller or seed firms, these titles are often used interchangeably to describe roles concerning data or systems analysis, while larger firms often employ both business and data analysts to perform unique duties, hence promoting the need to understand the distinctive hallmarks of the two titles. Martin Schedlbauer, the associate clinical professor and director of Northeastern University’s Information and Data Sciences Programmes, says, “In the simplest terms, data is a means to the end for business analysts, while data is the end for data analysts”.

Image Credits: 365DataScience

What is a Data Analyst?

A data analyst uses specific analysis methods and tools to determine how businesses can use data to make more cognizant decisions. Their key agendas can be conceived as :

  • understanding vital business questions
  • applying the appropriate analytical techniques to harness structured and unstructured data
  • performing complex data analysis to extract useful information and develop inferences
  • create reports on their conclusions and communicate further steps to potential stakeholders.

Data analysts are increasingly hired in industries such as agriculture, travel, food, oil, auto insurance etc. Successful data analysts can be regarded as those who can harness and analyse data as well as present results with perfect clarity and organisation. This requires a novel balance of technical data knowledge and business expertise.

What is a Business Analyst ?

Business analysts are more concerned about the business repercussions of data and envision the reaction of a particular business strategy or course of action. The International Institute of Business Analysis defines a business analyst as an “agent of change”, who identifies and executes new opportunities for businesses to capitalize on technology. A business analyst should ponder over questions like - should the company invest more in one project or the other ? Their key agendas may include:

  • reviewing data about current work habits
  • interviewing users to detect technology summonses
  • preparing records that outline thorough functional requirements needed to address those challenges
  • executing change requests related to a particular project.

Successful business analysts must possess strong base data science skills as well as an ability to formulate strategic business and project plans, recognize key performance pointers, create use-case settings, and engage and communicate with stakeholders at all levels of the organization. They must be able to take a full view of a business problem and work with different individuals to get the information requisite to push IT changes.

Key Requirements

It can be justifiably speculated that both the roles will allow you to capitalize on your indulgence and love for Bigdata and require a very good command over problem-solving skills. However, the roles of business analyst and data analyst entail distinctive skillsets making it vital to choose your path carefully.

For a Data Analyst:

  • An explicit combination of analytical skills, intellectual interest and inferential acumen
  • A strong perception of data mining techniques
  • Experience with SQL/CQL, R and Python
  • Advanced Excel and Microsoft Office skills
  • Solid command with emerging technologies such as MapReduce, Spark, large-scale data frameworks, machine learning etc.
  • Sound written and verbal communication skills * Awareness on agile development methodology

For a Business Analyst:

  • Quantitative mindset and analytical abilities
  • Data Research and Analysis
  • Ability to self-serve, investigate and attain data
  • Strong Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skill
  • Project management

Key Responsibilities

The responsibilities of both roles vary depending upon the industry where they are employed.

For a Data Analyst:

  • Transform data into visualisations and goals
  • Render consumer data analysis and research
  • Extract actionable acumens from large databases
  • Perform recurring day-to-day analysis to support strategic decision making.

For a Business Analyst:

  • Conduct analysis to understand broader view within a firm’s revenue blocks.
  • Recognise problematic areas within data and research to fix the most suited plan of action to evaluate and correct it.
  • Suggest recommendations on project enhancements that speculate on business needs or resolve conflicts.
  • Coordinate with internal teams to detect and resolve issues within the revenue realm.

Salary Analysis

Salary is indeed the most welcoming factor that attracts people to the two job prospects.

Data Analyst

Business Analyst

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Both data analyst and business analyst have many equivalents in par with their competencies and require an analytical mind and strong communication skills. A data analyst normally has a more mathematical or statistical mindset while a business analyst must inculcate more of a business and strategic mindset.

However, it can be stated without question that both roles are indeed promising in terms of several aspects that are most professionals often seek!!

Top comments (5)

dallasapper profile image
dallasapper • Edited

All these guys are not necessary for good company. Maybe a data analyst can be somehow beneficial, but the second one is worthless to my mind.
The first one can also make good presentations to show the managers what is going on with the company and what direction they need to choose to make more profit. I do this work sometimes too, but I am less professional and just use free templates from okslides.cоm. This tool makes my work much easier, and I use it for all the presentations that I make for my job. You can try and see for yourself too.

riyamathew11 profile image
Riya P Mathew

Thanks for the comment @blackthornvision . The blog is a good reference too. Thanks for sharing !!

chandranjr profile image
Govind B Chandran

Really insightful!!

riyamathew11 profile image
Riya P Mathew

Thank you !!