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What is the Difference Between Business Analyst and Data Analyst?


There is a common dilemma in the minds of numerous professionals who are new to the business analysis space, what is the difference between a business analyst and a data analyst. As the name suggests, the business analyst role deals with analysis from a business perspective, though the data analyst role deals primarily with analyzing data. Some significant differences between both the roles are given below.

Business Analyst vs Data Analyst

Data analyst

Business analyst

The person can be an individual contributor. The person needs to be a great team player.
The team contribution level is medium. The team contribution level is relatively higher.
The person needs to have strong analytical capabilities and mathematical mind. The person should have great communication or interpersonal skills.
Data mining and business intelligence skills are needed. Knowledge of requirement management tools, modeling, wireframing tools is needed.
Knowledge of statistical tools or techniques is recommended. Knowledge of domain can be added advantage.
The average salary of a Data analyst is calculated $70,246 per year. The average salary of a Business analyst is calculated $75,575 per year

Both roles allow you to capitalize on your love for data handling, and both would appeal to your affinity for problem-solving. Both positions are connected with a wider knowledge of Data Science. However, the role and responsibilities of data analyst and a business analyst are certainly different. They require a different set of skills or focuses, making it necessary to choose your career path wisely.

What is Business Analyst?

Before we discuss Business Analyst vs Data analyst in depth, let us first understand what is a business analyst, what is a Data analyst, and their role or responsibilities within an organization in detail.

A business analyst identifies technical solutions for most complex business problems. He works for different industries including healthcare, transportation, banking, finance, telecommunications, IT industry etc. A Business Analyst can also be defined as the agent of change who identifies or executes new opportunities for business to capitalize on technology. Business analysts often specialize in two or multiple roles like system analyst, functional analyst, agile analyst, service request analyst based on the area of interests. For example, a functional analyst helps organizations to integrate or use technology with other systems. A service request analyst handles user queries and responsible for system enhancements.

A successful business analyst possesses strong analytical and data science skills. He has the ability to develop strategic business solutions, identifies key performance indicators, creates use-case scenarios, communicates with stakeholders at different levels of the organization. He is able to take a holistic view of the business problems and works with individuals to get information insights necessary to drive IT changes. In a few cases, software developers or project managers are transitioning to the business analyst role, so they are enough technically sound.

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The routine activities of a Business Analyst may include data reviewing for current work habits, interviewing users to identify technical challenges, document preparation that outlines detailed functional requirements to address technology challenges, flowchart creation for programmers to follow, executing or designing test scripts, designing test scenarios, change request management related to the project.

The key objective of a business analyst is to create a discipline program of improvement. It is a strategic role where analysts are using data to identify problems and solutions. BA does not go deep into the technical data. Usually, he is operating at the conceptual level – defining strategy, implementing new workflows, setting up communication with workflows.

Business Analyst Role and Responsibilities

A business analyst does a lot of things and named as change enabler too. In most IT projects, the role of a business analyst moves around the requirements management or analysis.

At the higher level, the set of tasks performed by business analyst are given below.

  • Understands valid issues of stakeholders or business users.
  • Elicits or documents business requirements.
  • Ensures completeness or effectiveness of business requirements
  • Manages requirement changes that are faced throughout the lifecycle of a project.
  • Ensures that development team comprehended functionalities and headed them in a coveted way.

At the strategic level, BA is responsible to perform a number of tasks as given below.

  • Asking the right questions
  • Solving complex business issues
  • Thinking ahead of the solution
  • Solving the needs of business users
  • Coming up with better solutions with stated or implied needs and so on.
  • Product visioning roadmap, etc.

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Read: How To Write the Perfect Business Analyst Resume To Get an Interview Call?

What is a Data Analyst?

Data analyst uses special tools to check how businesses utilize data to make more informed decisions. It may sound highly similar to the role of a business analyst; however, data analyst works more directly with the data itself. Data analyst is majorly responsible to identify important business questions, apply the appropriate statistical techniques, perform complex data analysis to extract useful information and develop conclusions.

He is responsible to protect data of an organization, ensures that data repositories produce more consistent or reusable data. Data analysts are increasingly employed in industries like agriculture, food, travel, oil, auto insurance etc which has already begun to tap into the power of big data.

Successful data analyst is able to extract or analyze the big data and present results to management or departmental managers. It requires a perfect balance of the technical data knowledge and the business acumen. The person who is transitioning to the data analyst role may have previously worked in fields like accounting, healthcare, database administration, business, computer science etc.

The routine activities of a data analyst include data analysis using advanced computerized models, removing erroneous data, performing analysis to assess the data quality, extrapolating data patterns, preparing charts or reports to management etc.

Business Analyst vs Data Analyst – What are the major differences?

Although data analyst and business analyst have a lot of things in common. Still, here are four major differences to understand the concept in deep. Difference between Business Analyst and Data Analyst

  1. Key role and responsibilities: A business analyst provide functional specifications laying the foundation of IT system design. Data analyst extracts meaning from the data produced or collected by the system. Data analyst may often automate the business analyst’s tasks and able to provide meaningful business insights as well.
  2. Salary: The average salary of a data analyst is $70,246, according to The average salary of a business analyst includes $75,575. When any of these roles is transitioned to the Data analyst profile then salary gets higher or it is calculated $113,846 on average.
  3. Skills Set: Business analysts require data science knowledge, communication skills, analytical skills, negotiation, and management abilities. Data analysts require almost similar skills with more focus on technical data manipulation.
  4. User Interaction: Business analysts usually have more direct interaction with system users, customers, system developers when compared to data analysts. Business analysts frequently interviewing people to learn more about how technology can be improved to help business processes. They work collaboratively throughout the duration of a single project. At the same time, data analysts initially interact with subject matter experts to identify important datasets and bulk of their work is done independently.

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How to choose a career between data analyst and business analyst?

Now, you are sure who is a business analyst, and who is a Data analyst and major differences between these two profiles. Let us see ahead which career path is more suitable for you and why? Here, you should consider these facts before making any final choice. How to choose a career between data analyst and a business analyst?

Read: Business Process Modeling Notation Is So Famous, But Why?

A). Consider Your Background

Business analysts and data analysts tend to come from a different educational background. Business analyst usually have a bachelor degree in a business-focused domain. He majorly uses data to make effective business decisions. They have the knowledge but not necessarily expert in different programming languages. At the same time, data analyst works with large datasets to identify trends, make charts, visual presentations for business to make effective decisions. He usually has an advance degree and an extensive background in math, science, databases, modeling, predictive analytics etc.

B). Focus On Your Interests

Analyze yourself either you are stats obsessed or more kind of a problem-solving person. Business analysts usually have stronger communication skills as compared to data analysts. Data analysts are people who have a good background in statistics or programming.

C). Choose Your Desired Career Path

Although both profiles share a lot of things in common, they are different in terms of salary, responsibilities, and skillset. Business analysts usually enjoy higher salaries when compared to data analysts. Most importantly, both roles can be transitioned to data analyst profile later.

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The Bottom Line

Despite the differences between both the profiles, individuals in both careers have promising future. Both roles are in high demand today. Big data is a hot topic for Companies these days and a lot of companies are hiring data professionals and building out data team to derive meaningful insights from available content. This is the right time to be on your toes. So, think relevant and join the best online training program today to get hired by leading Companies worldwide.

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