Data is just like a small piece from a big puzzle. When you look at one article alone, it does not make much sense. But when put together in a proper structure, the whole picture appears in front of you, making it easier to understand.
If you are one of those people who like to play with data, arrange it, catalog it and use it to build a bigger picture, from which further decisions can be made, and values can be extrapolated, then you might be suited to become an analyst.
But when it comes to analytics and choosing a career path in this field, one of the biggest problems people face is the difference between a data analyst and a business analyst and what option is best suited for them.
Here, we point out the critical differences between the two so that this problem is solved.

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

A business analyst uses the data and makes decisions that are consequential to the firm that they work for. As a business analyst, you have to think about how the decision you are about to make will impact your company by considering cost, labor, efficiency, etc.
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A few tasks that are given to business analysts are:

  • Solving any business problem that a company faces
  • Managing a product and developing it
  • Analyzing the various requirements of the business
  • Improving the current business processes, technologies, and services
  • Budgeting and Forecasting

What Does a Data Analyst Do?

A data analyst is like a puzzle solver. You collect all the data, put it in an organized manner, and convert it into information. In other words, you make sure that the data is easily understood by anyone else who reads it.

You then hand over this solved puzzle to another group of people who use the information to make decisions for their company or firm.
Some of the responsibilities that a data analyst is entrusted with are:

  • Converting data to meaningful information
  • Solving equations and plotting graphs to give further insight
  • Maintaining the data in a structured manner

So, What’s the Difference?

Now that you have learned what a data analyst and a business analyst do and their duties let us dive deeper into the differences between the two.

Usage of Data

Both data analysts and business analysts work with data. Their job mainly involves working with data alone all day long. But the main difference between the two is how they use the data and what they end up doing with it.
Data analysts concentrate on organizing and analyzing the data for another team to use and make decisions. A business analyst uses the data to make decisions for the company by themselves.

Skill-Set

The primary set of skills that both these analysts require vary from each other, even though they both work with data.
As a data analyst is supposed to arrange the data, the skills that you need are related to technical data manipulation like math, statistics, programming, and machine learning.
But for a business analyst, the skills required from you are critical thinking, negotiation, communication, and project management.
There is a huge need for data analysts as well as business analysts in the market today. That is why it is better to do a few courses like data analyst certification courses to improve your skills and build your credit.

Interaction with Customers and Chief

Business analysts have more interaction with people in general due to the job description compared to data analysts.
Business analysts often work in a team. You analyze the data and brainstorm amongst yourselves to get a viable solution for a problem. You even have frequent interactions with consumers to learn more about an issue or ways of improving services and also have interactions with your chief or higher authorities to get your plans approved.
Data analysts, on the other hand, work more independently. You sort the data and put it in order all by yourself. The only interaction that you will have regularly is handing over the information to a team.

Salary

The salary of both vary because of several factors like experience; skills possessed, company, and location. Due to the presence of so many factors, let us take a data analyst alone, for example.
The average annual salary for a data analyst in the United States of America (USA), according to Simplilearn, is over USD 65,000. But statistics have shown that experience plays a significant contribution to the salary of a data analyst.
For instance, the average annual salary for a senior data analyst is around $81000 in the United States of America (USA).
Depending on the particular job for which a business analyst is hired, the salary may either be lower than or higher than the salary of a data analyst.

Which One is a Better Option for You?

The answer to this depends on only one person – you.
In addition to doing thorough research on what skills are required or what duties do the two analysts have, one more critical factor that you must take into consideration is yourself.
Only when you genuinely know where your interest lies and how strongly you desire to learn more for a job so that you can contribute more towards your field will you be able to make the right decision for you.
With that said, both professions’ opportunities are vast, and both of them are equally rewarding for the right person.

Conclusion

Each second, a lot of data is created in the world. This has lead to a considerable surge in opportunities and openings in the data science and analytics sector. To be precise, according to DataQuest, it was estimated that a whopping 2.7 million job postings for data professionals would open by 2020 in the United States of America (USA) alone.
Now that you have learned about all the significant differences between a data analyst and a business analyst, it is your turn to sit down and think about which role is better suited for you based on your passion and the skills you possess. Good luck!

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