Data Analyst vs. Software Engineer

Data analysts and software engineers play an important role in many technological fields. They contribute by building the applications using data and tools. Yet, these two professions are different in many facets.

So, what are the differences between data analysis and software engineering? Which profession is more suitable for you? This comparison will bring you the answer.

I will dwell into their core features, tasks, and benefits to give you in-depth comparisons. Now let’s jump straight in!

What is a Data Analyst?

A data analyst’s (DA) main job is to collect and analyze data. It can come from many sources like documents and surveys. Then, they will use their work to help companies and firms improve.

In other words, DAs help analyze and convey data into information. After that, they will share their work with the organizations they work for.

There are four popular types of DA’s work

  • Determine the action and methods a firm should take in a situation.
  • Check the cause of a certain situation by analyzing many data sets.
  • Check a trend by analyzing data collected from the past. It can be the sales revenue of a company, for instance.
  • Predict the outcomes that are most likely to happen. DAs use tendencies and patterns to assist the organization.
DA deals mainly with data

What is a Software Engineer?

A software engineer (SE) helps build and maintain software for clients. They will design the solutions to accommodate customers’ needs. Thus, the daily responsibilities of this profession are diverse.

You can take a look at these common duties of a software engineer.

  • Understand customers’ needs.
  • Work with programmers and system analysts in other fields.
  • Examine the requirements of a system.
  • Predict the capabilities of the software.
  • Design and maintain software functions.

A software engineer aims to create new software and applications. Sometimes, a software engineer can help design video games using his technical knowledge.

Programming and coding

Key Differences

Data analysts and software engineers focus on different goals. Though they involved programs and technical tools, their natures are different.

For this reason, there are many differences between these two professions. In this comparison, I will discuss their necessary skills and career prospects.

Comparison Table

Now, we take a look at this comparison table. It will help you know the core differences.

FeaturesData AnalystSoftware Engineer
ImpactCreating software, websites, and systemsBenefits many fields (sales, entertainment, and work).
DutiesCollect and analyze dataBuild and maintain systems
SkillsProgramming and statisticsProgramming, coding, and problem-solving
ToolsMongoDB, MySQL, and Amazon S3Emacs, Vim, TextWrangler, and Atom
CertificationsMongoDB, CCA, CAPCSS, CSE, C programming language
Career PathsData engineer, architect, or analystWebsite, software, and system developer

1. Impact

The contribution of the two fields is significant. For instance, the applications on your devices are the work of software engineers. They bring more comfort and functions to your life.

Meanwhile, data analysts play an important role in the development of business. They help analyze data and improve all aspects of our lives, from sales to work and entertainment.

2. Duties

A data analyst’s main duty is to collect data from many sources. Then, you will have to analyze that data using tools and systems. Lastly, you will convey and report the result to your customers.

Meanwhile, a software engineer will research, build, and maintain new software. Besides, it can be online systems, games, and other applications. Your job also involves identifying errors and improving the systems.

3. Skills

There are many skills applicable to both professions. For instance, both software engineers and data analysts must be good at programming.

Yet, a data analyst should have decent skills in data visualization and statistics. Meanwhile, a software engineer focuses more on coding and programming.

High-tech skills are necessary for both fields

4. Tools

DAs and SEs use many precision machinery and tools. Some common tools for DA are MongoDB, MySQL, and Amazon S3.

Meanwhile, SEs commonly use programming languages and web development tools. Some examples are Emacs, Vim, TextWrangler, and Atom.

5. Certifications

A college degree is indispensable for both the data analyst and software engineer. Yet, you should seek some additional certifications for greater job opportunities.

A data analyst should have popular certifications like

  • MongoDB (advanced database),
  • CCA (processing data via Hadoop software)
  • CAP (Certified Analytics Professional)

Meanwhile, a software engineer can seek certifications like

  • CSS (Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional)
  • CSE (Certified Software Engineer)
  • C programming language
College certification is indispensable

6. Career Paths

With a degree in data science, you can look for many career paths. These fields mainly involve using data and analyzing data to create beneficial outcomes.

Besides data analyst, you can work as a data engineer, architect, or IT analyst. Some people choose to work as machine learning engineers. In this profession, you will train AI systems using large datasets and models.

Meanwhile, a software engineer job doesn’t involve software only. For instance, you can help develop websites, systems, and applications. Plus, some software engineers also program computers via coding.

7. Salaries

Our research indicates that data analysts in the US earn around $83,750 on average. Meanwhile, the number of software engineers is around $133,722.

Yet, your salary depends on the scale of the firm you work for. Plus, your competence and skill will decide how much you can earn. Thus, there is no fixed salary for both professions.

What is a typical working day and routine of a data analyst? This article will give you more insights.

Which Should You Choose?

Choosing between the two professions is simple if you understand their essence. Consider your interests and available skills before making the decision.

For instance, a software engineer is more suitable if you love building systems. Meanwhile, choose a data analyst if you prefer working on data.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, both professions bring promising benefits and career prospects. In the two fields, you can seek decent salaries and job opportunities.

Ensure that you find your interest in the profession you choose. It will motivate you to work harder and improve your skill daily. I hope our comparison of data analysts and software engineers can help you. Thank you for your time!