Key Difference Between Business Analyst And Data Analyst That You Should Know

Do you know the difference between a business analyst and a data analyst? There are a lot of similarities between Business Analysts and Data Analysts when it comes to their roles and responsibilities in an organization that sometimes confusing to people. However, there are some key differences between them.

Difference Between Business Analyst And Data Analyst

Before we find out the key difference between business analysts and data analysts, it is very important to know who they are?

Who Is A Business Analyst?

A business analyst is someone who analyses the organization, processes, and recommends improvement that could benefit the organization in some way. They are also seen as a bridge between the business stakeholders and IT i.e. development team.

As the name suggests, the business analyst profile is more concerned with the business implication of the date. They are more focused on business enhancement like revenue generation and improvement in business operation. They are more into business requirements, problems, gaps, and suggest optimization ways for the same.

Read Also… Top 7 Most Wanted Career Paths For The Business Analysts

Who Is A Data Analyst?

Data Analysts are the professionals who collect, analyze, and interpret numeric data using statistical tools. He uses the data to generate meaningful results out of it by creating various reports and visual representations. This helps in making strategic business decisions.

A typical data analyst spends his or her time in collecting data by reaching out to the stakeholders or from any other available options and investigating the desired output. Their goal is to find the business problem and try to find a possible solution by using the existing data.

  • Reach out the business stakeholders for requirement gathering
  • Solve the business problems
  • Do the analysis and research for addressing the issue

Then, what makes them different?

The business analysts and data analysts both works with the data but difference lies in what they do with it. The goal of a business analyst to help to make the practical and robust decisions for an organization however the goal of data analysts to collect, analyze and generate visual representation so that it could be used by the business to make appropriate decisions. A data analyst also;

What’s the difference between a business analyst and data analyst?

The difference between a data analyst and business analysts can be determined based on;

  • What they do and focus on i.e. Roles and responsibilities? Whom they interact with as part of their work?
  • What are their qualifications?
  • What are their key skill-sets?
  • How much do they make?

Of course, there might be other things as well but the above four criteria are sufficient to understand the difference between them.

Roles and Responsibilities

Business Analysts and Data Analysts position also differ in their roles and responsibilities in an organization.

Business Analyst

Business Analysts act as a bridge between the business stakeholders and the technical development team. However, following are some key business analysts role in a company;

  • Requirement Elicitation
  • Analyzing, evaluating the implementing the finest solution
  • Analyzing the organization and business processes
  • Problem-solving through a business point of view.
  • Documentation
  • Communication management, and more.

Read Also… 7 Essential Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

Data Analyst

Data Analysts are more focused on the data side and help the business stakeholders and business analysts with required reports from the data available. Moreover, the following are the key roles that a data analyst plays in an organization;

  • Data mining from the primary and secondary resources
  • Data Cleansing to filter the irrelevant data
  • Analyzing the data using the statistical tools
  • Interpreting the data and creating visual reports for the business users.
  • Presenting the meaningful reports to the stakeholders.

The data analyst also works with the business analysts to develop the efficient reports for the business. Since the business analyst is aware of the overall business processes and has insight into what business wants to see, the results are more effective if they both work together.

Required Skill-Sets

Business Analyst

A Business analyst acts as communicator, facilitator, and mediator, these flexible professionals seek out the best ways to improve processes and increase effectiveness through technology, strategy, analytic solutions, and more. They get involved in the project from the beginning and responsible for the complete requirement gathering and required stakeholder approvals.

Since they are managing stakeholder and interesting with clients very frequently and it is their primary work, therefore, business analysts have the following skills;

  • Strong communication
  • Relationship building skills
  • Influencing skills
  • Convincing power or power of persuasiveness
  • Leadership skills, etc.

Read Also… 23 Essential Business Analyst Skills That Are High In Demand

Data Analyst

One the other hand, a Data Analyst plays with existing data and transforms them into meaningful information that could be used by the management to make strategical decisions for the organization. Data Analysts also interact with stakeholders for the requirement gathering but most of the time they rely on the business analyst.

Business analysts also analyzes the data but at the deeper level as a data analyst does. they use a small dataset or simple data for their analysis. Therefore, a Data Analyst has the following skill sets;

  • Data Warehouse
  • Statistical Knowledge
  • SQL/ORACLE query
  • Python, R language
  • Reporting Skills, Spreadsheet, Math, etc.

A Data Analyst also needs analytical and interpersonal skills like business analysts but they are more into the technical role.


Business Analyst

A professional should have the required educational qualification to become a business analyst position. However, the qualification criteria are not standard across all the organizations and it may differ as per their requirements and expectation from the business analyst candidate.

A business analyst usually have the following educational background;

  • Bachelors Degree
  • Masters Degree in IT, finance, etc.
  • MBA i.e. Master in Business Administration
  • Specialized in domains like healthcare, finance, banking, etc.
  • Professional certification like CBAP (Certified Business Analysts Professional)

Data Analyst

Similar to the business analyst position, the criteria for hiring a data analyst may differ from company to company. However, a typical data analyst has the following qualification;

  • Bachelors Degree
  • Masters in Computers or other specialization.
  • Degree in statistics, mathematics, finance, etc.

Data analyst is a technical profile and they need a statistical or analytical approach to deliver their tasks.

Earning Potential

Coming the key point that could be the primary deciding criteria for many people. 🙂

Business Analysts and Data Analysts earn somewhat similar salary however, in some cases the data analyst earns little more than the business analyst. This is because of the additional technical skills that a data analyst has.

But, the salary difference in no that much to divert your mind. In the long run, a highly skilled business analyst can earn more than the data analyst. It all depends on the experience and skills the professional has. Therefore, you shouldn’t consider only salary as your career deciding factor.

Which One Is Right For Me?

Now, which one is right for you? Well, it all depends on what you like the most?

If you like interacting business users, requirement gathering, presentations, meetings, brainstorming, solving practical problems, etc, and you have the required skills for the business analyst position then you can for the Business Analyst.

However, if you like playing with data, technical work attracts you, enjoy developing reports, running database queries, etc. then you must go for the Data Analyst profession.

Remember, you shouldn’t choose your career based on how much it pays. If you chose the Data Analyst profession but hate doing data gathering or building reports then you won’t be an efficient resource for the company. You will find a hard time to survive and progress in your career.

There could be a business analyst who is highly technical sound and there could be a data analyst who is more business-oriented and into business problem-solving. Expectations and roles differ from company to company.

They both interest with each other and work together in many companies.

Is The Career Transition From Business Analyst to Data Analyst Or Vice Versa Possible?

To give you the short answer to this question, YES!

It is possible to transition your career from a business analyst to a data analyst or from a data analyst to business analyst. It is because they share many similar responsibilities and have many common qualities.

However, you might require to sharpen your skills and knowledge before jumping into another profession. If you are a business analyst then you might want to learn statistics or math, get your hands on reporting tools, etc before applying for a Data Analyst role.

On the other hand, if you are Data Analyst and want to jump into the Business Analyst profession then you might want to work on your interpersonal skills and get the basic knowledge about the business analysis. Going for an entry-level business analysis certification could be a great idea for this.

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To sum up, Business Analyst and Data Analyst are not the same profession and they are different based on their roles in an organization, qualification they have, and skill-set they carry.

Data Analysts can make more money than the business analyst at the beginning however, a highly skilled business analyst with great experience in many domains can outshine in the long run.

Now, you know which profession is the best fit for you and whether or not you can transition your career into a business analyst or data analyst.

I hope this article helped you to gain insights into the basic difference between the business analysts and data analysts. If you enjoyed reading the article and found it helpful then don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Business Analyst and Data Analyst the same?

No! Business Analysts and Data Analysts are two different professions. They can be differentiated based on their role in a company, skill-set they carry, and the qualification they have.

Is Data Analyst makes more money than a business analyst?

Yes! Most of the data analysts make more money than the business analyst due to the additional technical skill they have which a BA might lack. However, in the long run, a highly skilled and experienced business analyst can earn more than a data analyst.

Is transition possible from the Business Analyst to a Data Analyst?

Yes! A business analyst can become a data analyst. Since the data analyst role demands some technical and statistical knowledge, a business analyst might have to go for training on statistical tools, database queries, reporting skills, etc.

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