Data Analyst vs. Business Analyst: Which Is For You?

Confused about choosing between these two fields? You’ve come to the right place!

The information spawned in this era is so massive due to technological and computing advances. For the businesses to grow and set up proper strategies, they have to hire analysts to help utilize the data more efficiently.

The work of data analysts and business analysts is closely related. While both job titles help the business grow and make better data-driven decisions, their focus and role are a little bit different.

This post will discuss the two professions and provide you with insightful information to choose the most suitable career path.

What Is Data Analyst?

Data analysis includes gathering and studying data to help solve problems and make better decisions based on the analyzed information.

The process of data analysis usually goes through 5 phases:

  • Address the problem and identify the data needed to deal with it.
  • Gather the data (from documents, the Internet, and other sources of information).
  • Assess and clean the data for analysis.
  • Analyze the data and information.
  • Interpret the uses and results of analyzed data.

Data analysts are often hired by companies and organizations to gather and analyze the data to make better business decisions.

To handle the task, the analysts have to possess excellent skills relating to data mining, analysis, and hygiene. Also, you must be proficient at presenting the results of your work through visualizations, reports, and communication.

Analyzing Data And Statistics

What Is Business Analyst?

The business analysis is essential for businesses to operate more efficiently and come up with necessary changes. Their main job is to solve business problems.

To do it, they have to gather and investigate technical and non-technical data or information. A business analyst also helps evaluate the operation of a company (efficiency or cost, for example).

After they have examined and defined the problems businesses have to solve, the analysts will inform the teams and executives of the companies to come up with solutions for these issues.

The roles of business analysts are various based on the types and sizes of the company they work for.

However, your ultimate aim is to help the organization operate and perform better with new strategies and solutions for its existing problems.

Analyzing The Operation Of The Business

Key Differences

The two professions help companies perform better by presenting new ideas, solutions, and strategies based on the analysis of information.

In small organizations, a data analyst can perform the role of business analysis and vice versa. The core difference lies in the focus of the two professions.

Data analysts focus mainly on gathering and analyzing data, while business analysts focus on addressing and solving problems.


Data Analyst

  • Identifying and gathering data.
  • Assessing and cleaning the data.
  • Examining and analyzing the data.
  • Interpreting the results and purposes of the analyzed data.
  • Presenting the results to the executives and business leaders.

Business Analyst

  • Examining the business’s current operation and structure.
  • Addressing and gathering the business requirements.
  • Analyzing the data relating to the operation of the business (cost, budget, salts, for example).
  • Identifying opportunities for growth and improvements.
  • Creating and facilitating the solutions.
  • Presenting the results to business leaders.

Skills and Prerequisites

Most companies prioritize candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. Besides the technical skills relating to gathering and analyzing data, workers in the two professions should possess these soft skills:

Data Analyst

  • Data Visualization.
  • Data Cleaning.
  • Machine Learning.
  • Programming languages (Python, SQL, and NoSQL, for example).
  • Linear Algebra and Calculus.
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communicating and presenting skills.
  • Deep knowledge of data structure.

Business Analyst

  • Engaging with the company stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving and decision making.
  • Communicating and interpreting skills.
  • Documentation and writing skills.
  • Presenting skills.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Deep knowledge of business structure.


Data Analyst

  • Work with clients to address and solve problems.
  • Use the analyzed data to come up with solutions for the problems.
  • Interpret and present the client’s requirements to the team.

Business Analyst

  • Work with the IT department and teams of the organization.
  • Use the investigated data to make strategies for business growth.
  • Write reports and documents.
  • Present the result to the executive and stakeholders.


Both professions are highly sought after by the companies and businesses, offering great job opportunities with high salaries on average. The more skillful and efficient you are at the job, the more money you earn.

On average, the salaries of business analysts are slightly higher than data analysts (about 10%). indicated that the business analysts in the US earned $97,218 a year, while the figure for data analysts is $83,750.

How to Choose?

To be successful at a job, you need to have passion and interest for it while possessing suitable skills and abilities to perform the work efficiently.

Here are a few factors to consider when selecting between the two careers:

Choose The Profession You Love

Your Background

If you have earned a bachelor’s degree in business, economy, or finance-focused majors, you have higher opportunities to find jobs working as a business analyst.

On the other hand, most data analysts graduated from STEM majors as their main job is to work with data all day. Go for data analysts if you are excellent at math, databases, programming, and analytics.

Your Interests

As a data analyst has to deal with data and statistics all day long, the job is more suitable for those who love calculating numbers and analyzing statistics.

Meanwhile, business analysis is the best choice for the problem-solvers who love researching and solving issues relating to the business and finance world.

Final Words

Choosing the right profession that suits our abilities and interests is one of the most crucial tasks in life. You should consider all the information carefully to have understood the basics of each career before making the decision.

We hope that you are satisfied with the information provided in this post.