The difference between data analysts & business analysts

Businesses today are becoming increasingly data-driven, something that has also led to an increase in the need for handling and understanding data. A scenario like this quite inevitably leads to a demand for data analysts and business analysts alike. However, professionals who are new in the field of data analysis may often get confused about the differences between the two.

While both data analyst & business analyst interpret data to make informed business decisions, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

Where the primary role of a data analyst is to gather and analyse data, a business analyst analyses data from a more business point of view. Here is a more detailed breakdown of how a data analyst is different from a business analyst.

Who is a Data Analyst?

A data analyst is a specialist who collects the data, processes it and then statistically performs a report on that data. Business houses or companies can take fruitful decisions for their companies from the analysis provided by data analysts. Various organisations collect relevant data such as logistics, market research, sales figures, and transportation costs, and more, which is where the role of a data analyst fits in. A data analyst can help by studying and analysing available raw data and offering profitable solutions to business problems.

Here are a couple of skill sets required to be a data analyst:

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking: An able data analyst should be able to make a hypothesis, experiments and inferences from the data available at their disposal.
  • Data management and analysis: A proficient data analyst should be comfortable and skilled in collecting, understanding and manipulating large amounts of data available.
  • Programming: A thorough knowledge of programming is not only useful, but most of the times necessary to solve problems where ready-made software may not be a viable or flexible choice.
  • Visualisation and communication skills: A data analyst must be able to put forth the finding in an accessible and informative manner to aid decision-making.

A data analyst’s job is broader and more extensive than a business analyst. Some of the avenues that a data analyst may pursue a career in include data quality, higher education, sales, marketing, data assurance, and more.

Who is a Business Analyst?

The role of a business analyst helps the growth of a business into an influential trade in the given market. A business analyst can indirectly impact the financial prospects of a company by taking critical decisions. Therefore, the primary job of a business analyst entails examining and interpreting data for making changes in policies, information systems, and business processes. A business organisation can move towards better productivity, efficiency, and profitability when guided by an able business analyst. In simpler terms, a business analyst understands how a business works and determines ways to improve its existing processes by identifying and designing new features to implement.

Here are a couple of skill sets required to be a business analyst:

  • Good leadership skills: A business analyst needs to lead a team for helping and directing team members in solving problems. 
  • Enhanced analytical skills: Outstanding analytical skills can help a business analyst for analysing data, user inputs, documents, workflow, and more. 
  • Technical knowledge: A good hang of database concepts, hardware capabilities, operating systems, and networking skills will come handy for a business analyst to understand operations better. 
  • Processing and planning skills: Planning for the scope of the project, understanding its requirements, and knowing how to implement them are a must for any professional to succeed as a business analyst.  

Lately, there has been a boom in business analyst jobs, especially in the information technology sector. Some of the business analyst jobs include roles as a computer systems analyst, information security, analyst, budget analyst financial analyst, management analyst, and more.


Whether it’s the job of a data analyst or a business analyst, each comes with its own set of advantages. As a business analyst, you get to have the opportunity to establish a broader network and stronger alliances. You can also have a fast-paced career with visible growth. While, if you choose to be a data analyst, then you have more comprehensive job profiles to choose from. The demand for data analysts is continually rising with most jobs offering a handsome payoff too.

This article is an updated version of the article titled – What’s The Difference Between Data Analysts And Business Analysts?

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