Data Analytics vs. Business Analytics


Thinking of Data Analytics vs. Business Analytics?

There is often some confusion while comparing the roles of a data analyst and business analyst. These professionals work with numbers and in some organizations, the roles may even interchangeable. So what is the actual difference? The key difference is in what they do with the data.

Martin Schedlbauer who is a director and associate clinical professor of the information and data science programs at Northeastern University says, ‘data is a means to the end for business analysts, while data is the end for data analysts’. In this post, we will explain these fields in detail. Let us get started!

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics professionals are tasked with collecting, processing, and analyzing how data available can be used to find important insights that can help organizations solve problems and improve efficiency.

A data analyst spends their time working with data in several ways throughout the pipeline of data. The responsibilities of data analysts involve data mining, data cleaning, implementation of statistical techniques, and programs and databases designing to fix bugs and manage data. In the process of data analytics, a data analyst needs to be able to work efficiently with other departments such as management and IT to determine goals and then report the outcomes in a meaningful and clear way.

Job Responsibilities in Data Analytics

Like any other profile, the responsibilities and duties of data analysts differ based on the industry. However, the core responsibilities of a professional are interpreting and analyzing data along with the following:

  • They conduct consumer data analytics and research
  • They work with the models of customer-centric algorithm and modify them as per the needs of the customers
  • They extract actionable and useful insights from large databases
  • They perform ad hoc and recurring quantitative analysis to support everyday decision-making
  • They support analytics and reporting such as financial reports, KPIs, and creating and improving dashboards
  • They help data into metrics, visualizations, and goals
  • They write SQL queries to mine data from the data warehouses

Essential Skills Needed for a Data Analyst

A data analyst hones a wide variety of skills, depending on the projects and work environments. Business and technical skills are needed to become a successful professional. Some essential skills are:

  • Database design
  • Knowledge of various statistical methods
  • Use of SAS and/or R languages
  • Machine learning techniques
  • Data mining and visualization for reporting
  • Creative thinking
  • Analytical problem-solving
  • Understanding of the industry chosen for data research

What is Business Analytics?

Business analysts use data to make concrete and practical decisions for an organization. The development of this field is on-going but is rooted in problem-solving and improving effectiveness by using a combination of managerial strategies, data-driven insights, and clear communication. By implementing the insights derived from data, they work on the frontlines of the data pipeline. These professionals must have a great knowledge of programming and statistical tools as well. These professionals often come from backgrounds in IT, business, management, computer science, and related fields.

Job Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

The job role of these professionals may vary from one industry to another. However, like data analytics, these professionals also have some core requirements i.e. analyzing data and using it to inform essential strategic decisions that can advance the overall efficiency and revenue of a business.

To get a clearer picture of what does a business analyst do, we have listed some responsibilities here:

  • They examine a larger amount of complex data to provide the businesses with the fact-based insights
  • They present suggestions on process improvement that address business needs or sort out impediments
  • They influence, collect, describe, and document complex business-related requirements and processes
  • They work with third-parties and internal teams to escalate and resolve issues detected in the streams of revenue
  • They perform analysis to assess trends within the revenue streams of the company
  • They identify difficult areas with the data and research to determine the ways to correct the data

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Understand the Differences

Essential Skills Needed for a Business Analyst

Even though data analysts and business analysts are often intersected, the skills needed for the business analysis field are slightly varied. The following are some business and technical skills needed to succeed in this field:

  • Programming skills
  • Understanding of statistical analysis software
  • Use of query and/or survey software and tools
  • Business intelligence and reporting
  • Analytical problem-solving
  • Data mining and visualization
  • Creative thinking
  • Strong communication

How Much a Data Analyst and Business Analyst Make?

There is a slight discrepancy in the earnings of these professionals. According to the reports of PwC, there will be around 2.7 million more jobs for data analysts by 2020. As far as the salary is concerned, as per, the average annual salary for these professionals is around $84,000.

On the other hand, 19% of employment growth is projected in the next 10 years for business analysts. Like the data analytics field, the salary is not too shabby either. As per, the median salary for these professionals is nearly $78,000 per annum.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this post has helped you clear up the differences between data analytics and business analytics. If you are thinking, ‘which is better – data analytics or business analytics?’ We really cannot tell you this. Because it is totally up to you to decide as per your interest, education background, skills, and career goals. But, we hope that this post has helped guide you walk through the right career path.

Regardless of the differences between these profiles, aspirants in both career options will surely have a promising future. Angove says, ‘they are both in strong demand right now. Data science is a hot-button issue for many companies, and a lot of them are hiring and building out large data teams.’

You can also make the most out of these emerging fields by going into one as per your capabilities and interest. For more details and guidance, get in touch with AEC.

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