Data Analyst vs Business Analyst: A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Choose the Right Career Path


Professionals with extensive technical knowledge are required to extract meaningful insights from raw data. This is where Data Analysts and Business Analysts come into play. While both business and data analysts serve nearly the same purpose, they possess different responsibilities and skill sets.  

In this article, we will dive into the key differences and similarities between data analysts and business analysts that will help you choose the right career path according to your skills. 

What is a Data Analyst? 

Data analysts derive meaningful insights by transforming and analyzing data using various tools and technologies. Their focus lies primarily on gathering, organizing, analyzing, and cleaning data to identify patterns, trends, and correlations. By using statistical methods and creating visualizations, they help organizations make data-driven decisions.  

Data analytics skill

image source

What is a Business Analyst? 

Business Analysts work more on gathering requirements and understanding business processes in depth, primarily acting as a medium between clients, technical teams, and non-technical departments. Business analysts usually identify areas for improvement within the business process.  

business analytics skills

image source

Data Analyst VS Business Analyst: Similar skills

Though both data analyst and business analyst roles are similar some skills are common. Some of them include:  

Analytical skills: Both data analyst and business analyst roles require the ability to analyze complex situations and draw conclusions for strategic business decisions.  

Communication and presentation skills: For data analyst and business analyst roles effective communication and presentation skill is required for conveying insights, and collaborating with key stakeholders.

Domain knowledge: A definite understanding of the industry in which they operate helps data and business analysts provide proper resolutions to business problems. 

Proficiency in business intelligence tools: BI tools such as Sprinkle Data, Tableau, and Power BI, are essential for the data analysis process.

In the next section, we will compare Data analysts vs business analysts based on their roles and responsibilities, skill sets, salary, educational requirements, and career paths to help you choose between either a business analyst or a data analyst.

1. Data Analyst VS Business Analyst: Roles and Responsibilities

Data Analyst

Some of the roles and responsibilities for Data analyst include:

  • Collection and cleaning of data: Integrating suitable data for analysis from multiple sources while ensuring its quality and integrity. Cleaning data to remove duplicates and outliers and filling in the missing values.
  • Performing EDA: Exploratory Data Analysis helps identify patterns within datasets through advanced statistical analysis by using statistical tools to find correlations between various metrics. 
  • Predictive analytics: Developing models to predict future outcomes based on historical data for better business growth. 
  • Data visualization: Creating visual representations in the form of graphs to communicate complex data findings effectively.
  • Effective Communication: Delivering data findings to key stakeholders concisely. 

Business Analyst

Some of the roles and responsibilities for business analyst include:

  • Requirements gathering: It involves collaborating with key stakeholders to understand business needs and determine project goals. 
  • Process analysis: It requires evaluating current workflows, identifying bottlenecks, and recommending some modifications to optimize efficiency. 
  • Conveying business requirements: Translating the gathered business requirements to IT teams for them to develop relevant solutions. 
  • Change management: Assisting in implementing new processes by testing the solutions developed by IT teams and helping stakeholders through the transition. 
  • Stakeholder communication: Facilitating effective communication between technical and non-technical teams for smooth business operations.

Data analyst vs business analyst: Key Skills

Data analyst vs Business analyst : key skills comparison

image source

Data analyst

Some of the analytical and technical skills required for a data analyst include:

  • A strong foundation in SQL (Structured Query Language) is a must-have skill for any data analyst. SQL allows analysts to extract, manipulate, and manage data efficiently from relational databases. 
  • Understanding statistical concepts is essential for examining large data sets accurately. Knowledge of probability theory, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and other statistical methods enables them to draw meaningful data insights.
  • Dashboarding skills are important for turning raw data into visually appealing and easily understandable charts, and graphs. Business intelligence tools like Sprinkle Data, Tableau, or Power BI help analysts communicate insights effectively. 
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as Python can help to analyze data efficiently and perform advanced analytics like machine learning or predictive modeling.  
  • An analytical mindset is a crucial skill for a data analyst. Being able to break down problems into smaller chunks and develop solutions is required when dealing with complicated data sets. 

Business Analysts:

Some of the analytical and technical skills required for a business analyst include:

  • Having domain knowledge and a deep understanding of the industry business analyst's work is crucial for them as it helps to identify relevant business opportunities or challenges.
  • Business analytics requires effective communication skills that include asking the right questions, listening actively, and understanding the needs of stakeholders.
  • Business Analysts are responsible for documenting requirements and project outcomes. Proficiency in written and verbal communication enables them to create clear and concise documentation.
  • Business Analysts need to have critical thinking ability to analyze complicated situations, identify problems, and propose suitable solutions.

Data analysts vs business analysts: Educational Requirements

Data Analyst

Degree in Mathematics, Statistics, or Computer Science: 

Knowledge in mathematics and statistics is essential for a data analyst so pursuing a bachelor's degree in these fields provides individuals with the necessary skills. Additionally, computer science courses provide proficiency in programming languages like Python or R, which can be helpful for data analysis. 

Business Analyst

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration or Related Fields: 

Business analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field like finance, economics, or management information systems. This educational background provides them with a thorough understanding of various business functions and processes. 

Data Analyst VS Business Analyst: Salary Comparison

The salary comparison between data analysts and business analysts can vary based on factors such as location, industry, level of experience, and job responsibilities. But a generalized salary figure as of 2023 is mentioned below:

Data Analyst

Overview of average salary ranges for Data Analyst:

  • Entry level data analysts : ₹3,00,000 - ₹7,50,000 per year
  • Mid Level data analysts : ₹7,50,000 - ₹10,00,000 per year
  • Senior level data analysts: ₹10,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+ per year

Business Analyst:

Overview of average salary ranges for Business Analyst:

  • Entry level business analyst: ₹3,50,000 - ₹7,00,000 per year
  • Mid-level business analyst: ₹7,00,000 - ₹12,00,000 per year
  • Senior-level business analyst: ₹12,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+ per year

How to choose between a Data Analyst and a Business Analyst? 

To choose between a data analyst and a business analyst, it is essential to consider your interests, the skills you possess, and the industry that you want to work in.

  • Technical Skills: If you have a strong foundation in mathematics, statistics, programming languages such as Python and R, and a deep understanding of data analysis tools, the role of a data analyst is suitable for you.
  • Communication and Collaboration: If you prefer communicating and working closely with stakeholders from different departments, understanding business processes, and identifying areas for improvement becoming a business analyst might align better with your skill set. 
  • Industry Preference: Data analysts are often found in sectors such as finance, marketing, healthcare, and technology where data-driven decision-making is crucial. Whereas, business analysts are present across various industries since their focus lies on understanding and improving business processes.

Career path for Data Analyst and Business Analyst? 

Before diving into the journey, it is crucial to understand what exactly Data Analysts and Business Analysts do. To start off understanding the roles and responsibilities is the first step. Obtaining relevant degrees, skills, and certifications is also crucial. For career advancement, networking, and continuous learning should be continued in these fields.

1. Understanding the Roles

Data analysts work with raw data, cleaning, organizing, and transforming it into manageable formats whereas business analysts bridge the gap between IT and business stakeholders by analyzing business processes, identifying areas for improvement, and proposing solutions.

2. Obtain Relevant Education & Skills:

Both data analysts and business analysts require a strong foundation in analytical skills along with domain knowledge. Some of the essential steps to follow are: 

  • Earn a relevant degree:
  • Pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in fields such as Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Computer Science, or Business Administration. These programs will provide a solid theoretical background.
  • Develop technical skills:
  • Acquire proficiency in programming languages like Python or R for data manipulation and analysis. Familiarize yourself with SQL for working with databases. Additionally, learn Analytics/ Business Intelligence tools like Excel, Sprinkle Data, Tableau, or Power BI for visualizing data. 
  • Gain Practical Experience: 
  • Hands-on experience is invaluable when starting as either a Data Analyst or Business Analyst. Consider applying for internships at companies where you can assist with data analysis or business process improvement projects. You can also engage in personal data analysis projects, such as exploring open datasets available online or working on Kaggle competitions.

3. Obtain Relevant Certifications: 

Certifications can validate your skills and make you stand out in the competitive job market. Here are some well-regarded certifications for aspiring Data Analysts and Business Analysts: 

  • Data Analyst Certifications: Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate, Google Data Analytics Certificate, IBM Data Science Professional Certificate. 
  • Business Analyst Certifications: International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) Certification, Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA). 

4. Networking: 

For networking you can join professional organizations: Become a member of groups like IIBA, DAMA International, or local data analytics meetups to network with professionals and stay updated on industry trends. 

5. Continuous Learning

Stay up-to-date on new tools, techniques, and methodologies by attending webinars, and workshops, or pursuing advanced courses. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer numerous resources. 


Data analysts and business analysts play distinct yet important roles in allowing organizations to harness the power of data and business analysis helps to make informed business decisions. While data analysts focus on analyzing large datasets using statistical techniques, business analysts bridge the gap between IT and business departments by identifying process improvements and facilitating change management.

To make the process of data analytics and business analytics easy and streamlined some analytics/BI tools can be used. Sprinkle Data is a low-code BI tool that not only integrates data from multiple sources but also creates compelling visualizations. The tool has advanced analytical capabilities making it suitable for data analysis and its attractive dashboards and reports are well-suited for the needs of a business analyst as well.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs- Business Analyst VS Data Analyst

  1. What is better data analyst or a business analyst? 
    The choice between a business analyst or a data analyst depends on individual preferences and career goals. Data analysts focus primarily on analyzing and interpreting large datasets to drive insights, while business analysts typically bridge the gap between IT and business departments, identifying needs, defining requirements, and facilitating communication.
  2. Who earns better business analysts or data analysts? 
    When it comes to earning potential, the salary of a business analyst versus a data analyst can vary depending on factors such as experience, industry, location, and company size. An entry-level data analyst earns approx 3LPA-7.5LPA, whereas an entry-level business analyst earns approx 3.5LPA-7LPA
  3. Can a business analyst become a data analyst? 
    Yes, a business analyst can transition into a data analyst role as both roles possess skills such as problem-solving abilities, domain knowledge, and strong analytical capabilities. 
  4. Who earns more data analyst or business analyst in Canada? 
    In terms of earning more between data analysts and business analysts in Canada, there may not be a significant difference. The average annual salary for a data analyst in Canada ranges from CAD 50k-85k while the average annual salary for a business analyst falls within CAD 55k-95k. 
  5. Is business analysis harder than data analysis? 
    Data analysis is considered to be harder than business analysis as business analysts focus on understanding complex organizational processes and translating them into actionable recommendations whereas data analysts tend to work with large datasets using various statistical methods and programming languages such as Python or R. 
  6. Does a business analyst do coding? 
    Business analysts do not typically engage in extensive coding but having some knowledge of coding can be beneficial. 
  7. Is business analysts a high-paying job? 
    Business analysts can have high earning potential based on factors such as experience, industry specialization, and company. 
  8. Is SQL required for business analysis? 
    SQL (Structured Query Language) is not strictly required for every business analyst role, having a working knowledge of SQL can be highly advantageous.
  9. Is Python used in business analysis? 
    Python has gained popularity among business analysts due to its versatility and powerful libraries for data manipulation and analysis. All business analysts don't need to learn Python however, having proficiency in Python can enhance their ability to handle complex data tasks more efficiently. 
  10. Do you need R as a business analyst? 
    R is not a mandatory requirement for all business analysts but acquiring skills in R programming language can provide additional capabilities.

Written by
Rupal Sharma


Data Analyst vs Business Analyst: A Comprehensive Guide to Help You Choose the Right Career Path