Introduction

Accumulating and preserving data is not new to mankind. It has been done for centuries to pass on valuable information and knowledge for upcoming generations. However, the power of using the same data by processing and manipulating it to extract new strategies and business insights for better productivity was only discovered two decades ago. Also, the advent of Big Data has brought an impetus to data-related professions all over the world. Nevertheless, a huge difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst role in companies has emerged in recent times because of the increase in the breadth and depth of data being examined.

What sets the  Business Analyst apart is their strong business acumen and the level of influence they hold on the organizational structure of the company. Their review and suggestions will hold the key to restructuring teams and hierarchy for better team productivity. 

Similarly, a good Data Analyst will not just address data-related business problems; they will pick the right problems whose solutions will add the most value to the growth of the company. They acquire all kinds of data from all available sources to make the business take the more logical path.

More often than not, the role of a Business Analyst and Data Analyst tend to be confused with one another. In smaller enterprises, the line between these two job profiles tends to get blurred. However, in larger organizations, the job roles and key responsibilities of a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst are more nuanced and niched. If capitalizing on data for better career opportunities has been your dream, then you might find yourself confused in choosing between wanting to be a Data Analyst or a Business Analyst. To help you make an informed decision, we have elaborate below the major difference between Data Analysts and Business Analysts in terms of their roles, responsibilities, salary, and many more criteria.  

  1. What’s the Difference Between Data Analyst and a Business Analyst?
  2. How to choose a career between a Business Analyst and a Data Analyst?
  3. Roles
  4. Skills and Prerequisites: Difference Between Data Analyst and Business Analyst
  5. Responsibilities: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst
  6. Career Path: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst
  7. Salary: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

1) What’s the Difference Between Data Analyst and a Business Analyst?

A Data Analyst is a Data Science professional who analyses a massive amount of raw data by using data analysis tools. They focus on designing and maintaining the database, deriving patterns and trends to finally obtain useful and actionable information from the data which is then used to make important data-driven business decisions.

Business Analysts on the other hand are excellent decision-makers with keen business insights. They have a clear picture regarding the objectives of their organizational goals with a deep understanding of its process, allowing them to think critically regarding business strategies. They scrutinize organizational data to review performances and identify shortcomings. They then work with business heads to improve and implement solutions for better business performances.

2) How to choose a career between a Business Analyst and a Data Analyst?

Given the status quo, it is important for us to be able to make a distinction between the job description of a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst in order to have a more realistic understanding of them both.


If data mining, processing of raw data, fabricating data intelligent business stories and helping organizations to make data-driven innovations for better financial returns is your area of interest then being a Data Analyst must be your priority.

Conversely, if reviewing organizational data, evaluating employee achievement, assessing business performances in the metrics of cost, investment, returns on investments to derive innovative working models for profitable business strategies excites you, then you must choose to shape your career as a Business Analyst.

3) Roles

Although both are data-focused roles, the difference between Data Analysts and Business Analysts lies in the kind of data analyzed by them.

A Business Analyst scrutinizes data and assesses requirements from a business perspective related to an organization’s overall system. Their primary role includes: 

  • Determining business case
  • Analyzing situations and validating necessary solutions
  • Making data-driven decisions along with stakeholders
  • Performing quality testing of new methodologies
  • Manifesting strategic advice for process improvements, methods, and performance advancements
  • Evaluating work practices, communicating with associates, and keeping up with emerging technologies
  • Assessing business methods for efficacy, cost, returns and other valuable parameters
  • Understanding business fundamentals and requisite
  • Multiple project development and management 
  • Communicating performance and process insights with business teams and key stakeholders 

A Data Analyst is more focused on the relationship between the organization’s database and the impact it would make when compared with competitors’ data to develop innovative business solutions. They perform statistical analysis on data and provide insights based on that analysis. The primary role of a Data Analyst include : 

  • Mining and cleansing of data to remove all unnecessary variations and prepare it for analysis
  • Creating and managing reports for various departments and company functions
  • Preparing reports for both internal teams as well as for client understanding
  • Designing data systems and databases
  • Maintaining and troubleshooting for potential issues in databases for its protection and data preservations
  • Furnishing reports which efficiently communicate their analysis to senior executives and stakeholders facilitating them to take up necessary actions. 

4) Skills and Prerequisites: Difference Between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

The skills of a Business Analyst may include expertise in the implementation of particular software or applications. A Business Analyst at times also acts as a crucial link between the IT staff of the company and the rest of the working community. The technical skills and prerequisites of a Business Analyst include: 

  • Possessing a detailed knowledge of the business structure
  • Planning, managing, budgeting and forecasting for project development and execution.
  • Identifying business specifications and communicating them back to stakeholders
  • Expertise with data research
  • Strong Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint skills
  • SQL proficiency
  • Mathematical mindset, expert analytical thinking and problem-solving capabilities
  • The ability to accumulate, investigate and distinguish critical data
  • Proven SAP skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills along with interpersonal and consultative skills
  • Performing a detailed business data analysis to outline problems, opportunities and solutions for a smooth-running business
  • In-depth knowledge of, databases, networks and other technology

A Data Analyst’s skill is more oriented towards conversing with numbers. They need extremely high mathematical acumen to be able to process a huge amount of data to obtain valuable insights. Their skills mainly include the following : 

  • Deep knowledge about data mining and the tools used to perform the same.
  • Being able to identify patterns, trends and other critical data to expand the business.
  • Being able to process historical data of the organization so as to pave a better path for future decisions.
  • Microsoft excel, SQL/CQL, R, and Python background
  • Good understanding of emerging technologies, data frameworks and machine learning
  • An expert analytical thinker with intellectual curiosity
  • Seasoned in organizing and reporting accurately the derived data and its conclusions.
  • Be able to apply the results of data ming, predictive analysis and machine learning tools to convert data into actionable business insights

5) Responsibilities: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

Both Data Analysts, as well as Business Analysts, need to be excellent problem solvers. Their acute need to exist is in IT departments, managerial positions in business and project development roles. 

The main responsibilities of Business Analysts’ include:

  • Interpreting large amounts of business process data
  • Discovering process gaps that need immediate actions for smooth workflow
  • Addressing business needs and necessities of the hour
  • Act as a bridge between internal teams and third-party organizations to resolve issues
  • Recommending  solutions for creating a more productive work process

The main tasks of a Data Analyst are to collect, manipulate and analyze data. They prepare reports, which may be in the form of graphs, charts and histograms, detailing the significant results they deduce.

The main responsibilities of Data Analysts’ include:

  • Acquiring data from primary and secondary sources to create and manage a reliable database
  • Quantifying statistical analysis and implementing the same for better business opportunities
  • Utilizing statistical techniques to derive fresh business insights
  • Data mining to identify and understand recurring or new business trends or opportunities
  • Work in conjunction with the management as per the business needs. 

6) Career Path: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

The role of a Business Analyst, as well as a Data Analyst, capitalizes on a person’s capacity to identify, analyze and manipulate the available data. They must be able to convert them to business intelligence to design sustainable and profitable market strategies.

However, the basic difference between Data Analysts and Business Analyst lies in the kind of data they analyze and the area of business that they make an impact on. A bachelor’s degree with a major in related fields is preferred for a Data Analyst as well as a Business Analyst. An entry-level Data Analyst might preferably have a background in Finance, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, and Information Management Etc. Whereas for a Business Analyst background in Finance, a Master of Accounting or a Master of Business Administration(MBA) is preferred. 

At times, people tend to want to have a change in their career for better career opportunities or to break free from stagnation. At such times, they can pursue a course related to data science or business analytics to improve their chances of having promising career opportunities.

7) Salary: Difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst

Salary is one of the most critical aspects while choosing a career path. Therefore it is important to know the salary difference between Data Analyst and a Business Analyst role in an organization.

The salary of a Business Analyst and a Data Analyst is influenced by various factors. It involves several parameters like previous experience, geographical location, tools known, educational background etc.

According to Payscale.com, on average, a Data Analyst can earn up to ₹432,223 per year. On the other hand, a Business Analyst makes up to ₹605,131 per year. These salaries are bound to increase with higher positions and an increase in the number of years of experience. 

Conclusion

Data Analysts and Business Analysts in some form or the other have always existed, a group of statisticians, technologists and business experts, who solved problems and provided solutions. But they were inconspicuous, obscured by the walls of a server room in an IT department. However, in recent times, the demand for these individuals, who possess a deep understanding of advanced mathematics, data engineering and domain expertise, has never been higher. The need for seasoned analysts who can process a tsunami of information is on the rise. It is the largest imbalance of supply and demand in the workforce in the recent past. 

What does this mean for all Business Analysts? It’s time to be on your toes! Data science courses are offered at multiple training academies and even universities today, to enable those interested in this new career to become equipped in the language of big data. Think relevant, think big!

If Data Science interests you, then you can pursue our 11-month in-person Postgraduate Diploma In Data Science – PGDDS (Full-Time). If business analytics is your area of interest, our Integrated Program in Business Analytics(IPBA) will help you immensely. Check out our website to know in detail about our programs and how they will aid you in your upskilling journey! 

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