Homebreadcumb forward arrow iconBlogbreadcumb forward arrow iconData Sciencebreadcumb forward arrow iconData Analyst Vs Business Analyst: Which One You Should Take?

Data Analyst Vs Business Analyst: Which One You Should Take?

Last updated:
19th Sep, 2019
Read Time
6 Mins
share image icon
In this article
Chevron in toc
View All
Data Analyst Vs Business Analyst: Which One You Should Take?

Analyst roles are all the rage right now, thanks to the conversion of the industrial economy to a data economy. Anyone, despite the technicality of their educational background, can excel in this role. But, which one really matches your potential and your aspirations? The role of a data analyst or a business analyst? This article will help you answer that question.

Who is a data analyst?

Data analysts work directly with the data. They are the ones working in the darkroom and sorting through the company’s data to separate the important facts from the unimportant ones. They identify important business questions, apply statistical models and techniques, and also perform analysis to eke out crucial conclusions. They are also responsible for protecting the organization’s data.

Skills needed:

  • Fluency in at least one language like R, Python, SQL
  • High level of mathematical ability
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • A logical and methodological approach
  • Working in a high-pressure environment

Possible courses/ degrees:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in finance, marketing, computer science, mathematics, or economics
  • Masters in business analytics or data science (not necessary to get this straight out of college)
  • Specialized coding, statistics, machine learning, and Excel courses to refine your skills

Who is a business analyst?

A business analyst is a person who is concerned with using technological means to solve business problems and drive business growth. Apart from having basic technological knowledge, these people are excellent at drafting strategies, identifying business opportunities, and communicating with a variety of people.

Learn data science courses from the World’s top Universities. Earn Executive PG Programs, Advanced Certificate Programs, or Masters Programs to fast-track your career.

Skills needed:

  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Ability to manage and inspire/ encourage people
  • Negotiation and persuasion skills
  • Decision-making skills

Possible courses/ degrees:

  • Bachelor’s in accounting, information systems, or computer science
  • Masters in business analytics, information management, and business administration (if the job requirement states so)
  • Additional certifications- like those from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

The difference between the two is captured succinctly by Martin Schedlbauer, associate clinical professor and director of Northeastern University’s information and data science programs. He said: “In the simplest terms, data is a means to the end for business analysts, while data is the end for data analysts.”

Knowing that, let’s get to the crucial part:

upGrad’s Exclusive Data Science Webinar for you –

Transformation & Opportunities in Analytics & Insights

How to decide

Assess your skills

Which courses and degrees do you have under your belt right now? 

Business analysts usually have business-focused degrees that keep their eyes on the goal of generating and growing a business. They use data to optimize business operations and might or (mostly) might not know programming languages. 

Data analysts, on the other hand, are technically fluent and have studied one of the STEM courses with a background in science, engineering, IT, maths, physics, or statistics.

Assess your interests

Despite your skills and background, which field are you attracted to?

Do you want to be the tech genius behind the scenes who mines all the gold that the company then uses? Or do you want to be front-and-center, making using of the mined gold to drive business growth?

Business analysts carry out qualitative tasks like research, organization, problem-solving, and managing. More often than not, they have good communication skills- both verbal and written since they have to explain a lot of things to a variety of people.

Data analysts, on the other hand, are able communicators with a computer. Their main task would be number crunching and spending time doing statistics and programming. They aren’t as good at managing and running a business as business analysts but have a deep and thorough knowledge of their industry.

Consider the path you want your career to take

Apart from the ‘analysts’ in the designation, both data analysts and business analysts differ in their future career path including growth opportunities and salaries.

Here, data analysts score gold because due to the deep and specialized knowledge required for their work, they have a high earning potential. It easily reaches up to a six-figure amount. They also have more options for their career path. With advanced knowledge and degree, they can easily transition into a developer or data science role. If they do not desire that transition, then they can just work better with databases by becoming more fluent in R and Python.

Explore our Popular Data Science Certifications

Business analysts do not enjoy similar wide horizons. They have a cap on their salary package simply because the role does not require any form of specialized or deep knowledge. Additional certifications and degrees are required to change gears.

Read our popular Data Science Articles

Top Data Science Skills to Learn

Finally, both roles will require hard work and commitment. If you are willing to promise those, then you should be good to go, irrespective of which one you choose. Learn how upGrad transformed more than 200 careers with Data Science PG Diploma by IIIT-B.


Rohit Sharma

Blog Author
Rohit Sharma is the Program Director for the UpGrad-IIIT Bangalore, PG Diploma Data Analytics Program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1In which job is user interaction more common- data analysts or business analysts?

Business analysts have more direct interaction with system users, customers, system developers, and others than data analysts since they are project facilitators and managers. Since business analysts may interview individuals on a regular basis to learn more about how technology may be enhanced to aid company operations, this is the case. Throughout the course of a single project, they collaborate with others. Although data analysts may collaborate with corporate subject matter experts to discover significant data sets at first, they conduct the majority of their job on their own.

2Which job pays more- data analysts or business analysts?

A Data Analyst's beginning pay in India is normally between 3 lakhs and 5 lakhs. When you have 2-3 years of experience in the sector, it rises to 7 lakhs. With more expertise, it can reach up to 10-15 LPA. If you obtain a job anywhere else in the world, such as the United States, your income may be much higher.

In entry-level roles, a business analyst might earn anywhere from 4 to 6 lakhs. It can go up to 12 LPA if they get an MBA from a reputable institution. In India, they may make up to 20 LPA with good expertise.

3How is the career path of a data analyst different from that of business analysts?

For entry-level data analysts, a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject is required. Hiring managers frequently favor candidates with a graduate or master's degree in analytics for senior roles. Graduating from a data analysis program should easily lead to an entry-level data analysis employment, especially if you have a good grade point average and a high class ranking. Even a less-focused bachelor's degree in mathematics, statistics, or economics from a respectable university will get you in the door. Refreshing your familiarity with the abilities needed for a business analyst after becoming a data analyst will demonstrate to employers that your knowledge is relevant and appropriate. Training and courses, whether in person or online, may provide you with the skills necessary to break into the field of business analytics.

Explore Free Courses

Suggested Blogs

Priority Queue in Data Structure: Characteristics, Types & Implementation
Introduction The priority queue in the data structure is an extension of the “normal” queue. It is an abstract data type that contains a
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

15 Jul 2024

An Overview of Association Rule Mining & its Applications
Association Rule Mining in data mining, as the name suggests, involves discovering relationships between seemingly independent relational databases or
Read More

by Abhinav Rai

13 Jul 2024

Data Mining Techniques & Tools: Types of Data, Methods, Applications [With Examples]
Why data mining techniques are important like never before? Businesses these days are collecting data at a very striking rate. The sources of this eno
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

12 Jul 2024

17 Must Read Pandas Interview Questions & Answers [For Freshers & Experienced]
Pandas is a BSD-licensed and open-source Python library offering high-performance, easy-to-use data structures, and data analysis tools. The full form
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

11 Jul 2024

Top 7 Data Types of Python | Python Data Types
Data types are an essential concept in the python programming language. In Python, every value has its own python data type. The classification of dat
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

11 Jul 2024

What is Decision Tree in Data Mining? Types, Real World Examples & Applications
Introduction to Data Mining In its raw form, data requires efficient processing to transform into valuable information. Predicting outcomes hinges on
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

04 Jul 2024

6 Phases of Data Analytics Lifecycle Every Data Analyst Should Know About
What is a Data Analytics Lifecycle? Data is crucial in today’s digital world. As it gets created, consumed, tested, processed, and reused, data goes
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

04 Jul 2024

Most Common Binary Tree Interview Questions & Answers [For Freshers & Experienced]
Introduction Data structures are one of the most fundamental concepts in object-oriented programming. To explain it simply, a data structure is a par
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

03 Jul 2024

Data Science Vs Data Analytics: Difference Between Data Science and Data Analytics
Summary: In this article, you will learn, Difference between Data Science and Data Analytics Job roles Skills Career perspectives Which one is right
Read More

by Rohit Sharma

02 Jul 2024

Schedule 1:1 free counsellingTalk to Career Expert
footer sticky close icon