Data Analyst Vs Business Analyst: An Easy 4 Step Guide


Being a data enthusiast, if you’re in a professional dilemma and not able to choose whether you want to be a Data Analyst or a Business Analyst, or are wondering if you should stay in the same domain or change it entirely, then this article is sure to help. So, let’s discuss the elephant in the room – Data Analyst vs Business Analyst.

Both Business Analytics and Data Analytics career paths allow you to leverage your enthusiasm for ‘all things related to data’ and engage your interest in problem-solving and analytics. While both jobs need in-depth knowledge of  Data Science, however, the roles of Data Analyst vs Business Analyst require different skills, making it vital to choose your career path carefully.

Let’s take a look at what these roles entail and the difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst.

In this article let us look at:

1. Who Is a Data Analyst?

A Data Analyst utilizes special analysis techniques and tools to decide how organizations can use data to improve the decision-making process. They’re answerable for recognizing the critical business problems, applying the proper measurable procedures to gather structured and unstructured data, and performing complex data analysis to extract helpful insights and develop conclusions. Data Analysts are additionally liable for securing an organization’s data and guaranteeing that all data warehouses produce reliable and reusable data.

Business Analytics vs Data Analytics is implemented similarly, especially if it is used for data-driven. Data Analysts today are hired in various industries. Proficient Data Analysts possess strong knowledge of Data Science and Analytics skills. A Data Analyst’s job responsibilities include data mining and cleaning data, gathering data, devising and maintaining databases, and potential troubleshooting issues.
Some of the must-have skills required to become a Data Analyst include data visualization and presentation skills, Microsoft Excel, Structured Query Language (SQL), and R or Python programming knowledge. 

2. Who Is A Business Analyst?

A Business Analyst recognizes innovative solutions for critical business problems. They work in diverse industries, including healthcare,  manufacturing, finance, banking, software services, etc. The International Institute of Business Analysis characterizes a Business Analyst as a ‘problem solver’ – the one who identifies and executes new ideas for an organization’s profitability. Business Analysts typically have promising careers as a Business Systems Analyst, Systems Analyst, Functional Analyst, Risk Analyst, to name a few.

Business Analysts’ job responsibilities are assessing the efficiency of business processes, expenses, communicating insights to teams and business stakeholders, developing strategic process arrangements, procedures, and production improvements for business profitability. Before understanding the key difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst, you must know the skills that an excellent Business Analyst possesses.

The must-have skills required to become an expert Business Analyst include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and process improvement. Business Analysts must have a strong understanding of the organization’s goals and various functions to analyze business performance, recognize incompetence, recommend and execute solutions.

3. Data Analyst vs Business Analyst

While Data Analysts and Business Analysts both work with data, the primary difference between Business Analytics and Data Analytics lies in what they do with the data. Business Analysts use data to aid organizations in making more effective business decisions. In contrast, Data Analysts are keener on collecting and analyzing data for the business to convert them into insights and use them to make decisions on their own.

Below mentioned points will help you understand Data Analyst vs Business Analyst a little better.

  1. Goals: A Business Analyst focuses on identifying trends in the business domain that can optimize overall business functions, planning, and productivity. Whereas, a Data Analyst focuses on identifying patterns in data and devising precise predictions based on events for the organization’s benefit.
  2. Data: While for a Business Analyst, the data is pre-defined as per the project’s objective, a Data Analyst has to collect, clean, and extract insights from the data produced by the systems.
  3. Skill sets: Business Analysts require data science knowledge and interpersonal skills, analytical thinking, and management skills. Data Analysts need similar skills with more focus on technical data manipulation.
  4. Consumer Interactions: As business facilitators and managers, Business Analysts frequently have to interact directly with systems users, customers, and key stakeholders than Data Analysts do. Business Analysts may frequently interview customers to acquire more information about how they can improve their products/services or business functions. While Data Analysts may initially interact with internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to recognize significant data sets, most of their jobs are done independently.

Now that we have established the difference between Data Analyst and Business Analyst let’s take a look at how you can choose the right career path from Data Analyst vs Business Analyst.

4. How to Choose A Career Between Data Analyst And Business Analyst?

Which is the right career for you, Data Analyst vs Business Analyst? To find the answer to this question and choose between Business Analyst and Data Analyst, consider these two points:

  1. Academic Background: You need to be a graduate for both the job roles, but Business Analysts come with a business-focused background. On the other hand, a Data Analyst comes with more comprehensive knowledge in math, science, programming, databases, modeling, and predictive analytics along with their graduation degree.
  2. Interests: Your interests influence your choices. Do you prefer numbers and statistics, or do you like problem-solving as well? As a Data Analyst, you will have to work extensively with numbers and statistics. Whereas, as a Business Analyst, your work will be more focused on solving business problems using data-generated insights.


Despite having so many differences between them, Business Analysts and Data Analysts are some of today’s most popular data-related job roles. These roles have come out as resilient to any crisis or recession and are always in demand. We hope that after this detailed article on the difference between Business Analysts and Data Analysts, you’d be able to choose the right career path.

If you wish to become a Future Leader with data and core management skills, check out our online 10-month-long Integrated Program In Business Analytics (IPBA), in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.

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