What is a data analyst and a business analyst?
A data analyst collects, cleans, and interprets data sets, uncovering trends in order to answer a question or solve a problem for a business.
In comparison, a business analyst uses data to help business stakeholders understand how changes to processes, products, services and technology can improve operational efficiency and better achieve business goals. They have a detailed understanding of the business and their goals, so are able to use data to evaluate their performance and make recommendations for improvement.
Data analysts and business analysts both work with data, but the main difference between the two revolves around what they do with it. Business analysts collect and analyse data to make better business decisions. On the other hand, data analysts work with data that is related to the logistical databases of an organization.
Roles and responsibilities
Data analysts work very closely with data itself, spending a large amount of time researching, sourcing, and analysing data to provide insights into particular areas of interest. Some of their day-to-day tasks include:
- Liaising with key business stakeholders to establish information needs
- Sourcing and collating relevant data
- Scrubbing data
- Identifying trends and patterns in data sets
- Creating and maintaining reports
- Analysing results and reporting the findings back to key stakeholders
- Identifying and proposing new data collection and analysis processes and techniques.
Business analysts work more closely alongside business stakeholders to provide solutions for current or future problems. Their day-to-day tasks include:
- Understanding business needs and requirements
- Working with key business stakeholders to identify opportunities for optimisation and improvement
- Project development and management
- Creating detailed business documents and working with spreadsheets to track projects
- Prioritising workloads
- Analysing large amounts of complex data, including budgets, forecasts, plans and pricing
- Reporting back to the business, recommending solutions
- Validating solutions with evidence
Data analysts are typically more numbers and data-driven than business analysts, often having experience in computer programming, statistical analysis, data modeling and predictive analytics.
Common skills required of data analysts include:
- Understanding of significant statistical concepts including measures of central tendency, dispersion, correlation, and regression
- Analytical skills, intellectual curiosity, and reporting accuracy
- SQL/CQL, R, and Python experience
- Understanding of linear and non-linear regression models and classification techniques for data analysis
- Knowledge of agile development methodologies
- Communication skills
Business analysts typically have a deeper understanding of business processes, and may have experience across business administration, finance or economics.
Common skills required of business analysts include:
- Strong communication and stakeholder management skills
- Project management experience
- Expertise in data research and analysis
- Proficiency in SQL
- Fundamental understanding of Excel analytics functions and conditional formatting
- Ability to apply statistical tools and concepts like moving average, hypothesis testing, ANOVA, and regression to data sets
With many similarities between the two paths, you may be wondering how compensation compares.
According to SEEK, the average annual salary for a data analyst in Australia ranges from $85,000 to $105,000, with more qualified people in senior positions earning up to $125,000. These figures are impacted by an individual’s work experience, education and qualifications, as well as the hiring company and the industry which they are applying for a role in.
The average annual salary for a business analyst in Australia ranges from $105,000 to $125,000. Again, this is dependent on the skill set and experience of the candidate, the hiring company, and the industry.
Want to build a career as a business analyst or data analyst?
If you’re interested in building a career as a data analyst or business analyst, building key skills and experience through an online course is the perfect step towards achieving your career goals.
The Data Analyst Bootcamp Program can help you to gain real industry experience to demonstrate key skills of a data analyst such as interpreting data and creating data visualisation.
By the end of the course, you will:
- Understand significant statistical concepts including measures of central tendency, dispersion, correlation, and regression
- Master SQL concepts such as Universal Query Tool and SQL command
- Work with data in Python, including reading and writing files, loading, working, and saving data with Pandas
- Gain insights into several data visualisation libraries in Python; including Matplotlib, Seaborn, and Folium
- Gain an in-depth understanding of the basics of R, and learn how to write your own R scripts
- And more!
The Business Analyst Bootcamp Program is designed to train you on all three aspects of business analysis such as planning and monitoring, requirements elicitation, and requirements management & communication.
By the end of this course, you will:
- Understand the tools and techniques used in business analytics planning and monitoring
- Learn to analyse data using Tableau and become proficient in building interactive dashboards
- Master the agile scrum project management approach
- Understand business analysis key concepts and business analysis core concept model (BACCM)
- Acquire advanced knowledge of identifying, defining, assessing, and completing various elements of business analysis tasks
- And more!