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Data Analyst vs Business Analyst: What’s the difference?

Business Analytics

Business Analysts and Data Analysts act as vital gears in the machinery of any data-driven enterprise, but they serve different purposes and have unique responsibilities. Their work may intersect, but each role’s distinctive nuances set them apart, and understanding these differences is crucial, whether you’re looking to build a successful team or considering a career in one of these exciting fields. There is a stark difference between a business analyst and data analyst. Read this blog to find out more. 

Business analytics vs data analytics: Overview

Business Analytics (BA) is a broader field focused on using statistical analysis and data manipulation to make strategic business decisions. It’s a data-driven approach that encompasses everything from business intelligence and reporting to predictive analytics. The goal is to understand trends and patterns that help in business decision making, strategy planning, improving operational efficiency, and forecasting future trends.

Read more: Business analytics in emerging markets

Data Analytics (DA), on the other hand, is a more focused field that emphasizes collecting, processing, and analyzing raw data to understand patterns and trends. The goal is often more operational and immediate, such as understanding user behavior or improving a system’s performance. Data analysts can sort huge amounts of data using data mining, predictive analytics, machine learning, big data analytics, and text mining.

What is the difference between business analyst & data analyst?

Even though both roles deal with a lot of data, they have distinctive roles. While business analysts focus more on coming up with effective business solutions using data, data analysts use techniques, tools, and technology to sort and analyze huge data structures.

Who is a business analyst?

A business analyst is a professional who uses data to improve the efficiency and profitability of a business. This is typically done by identifying needs for change, understanding the impact of those changes, gathering and understanding the relevant data, and then conveying this information to the team members involved in making. The core responsibilities of a business analyst includes gathering & interpreting business requirements, analyzing & interpreting data, documenting & presenting findings, managing business solutions, and providing strategic guidance to achieve business goals.

Who is a data analyst?

A data analyst is a professional who collects, processes, and performs statistical analyses of data. Their job is to translate numbers, trends, and trajectories into understandable and actionable insights to help businesses make decisions and create strategies. Data analysts are in high demand across many sectors, such as business intelligence, sales, marketing, finance, healthcare, and more. 

Roles & responsibilities: Business analyst vs data analyst

While business analyst and data analyst are different job roles all together, there is quite some difference in the roles and responsibilities as well. 

What do business analysts do?

  • Business analysts leverage data to identify problems and solutions, functioning at an abstract level to devise strategy and liaise with stakeholders. Their primary concern revolves around understanding and addressing the business consequences that result from the data at hand. 
  • Business analysts research and evaluate current company practices as well as new IT advances to make systems more modern. They evaluate a company’s current functions and IT structures. 
  • They come up with effectives initiatives based on company needs and requirements, create projects, and keep track of industry trends and developments.
  • They have to effectively communicate and keep in touch with partners, clients, senior management and technicians. 
  • Business analysts must have a solid ground in management, IT, computer applications and other related fields.

What do data analysts do?

  • Data analysts primarily dedicate their time to collating raw data from various sources, cleaning and reformatting it, and utilizing an array of expert methods to distill valuable insights and develop conclusions. 
  • They must constantly come up with innovations and techniques for new data collection and analysis as and when required.
  • Data analysts must have strong data mining skills, possess programming skills, proficiency in AI & ML and develop a working knowledge of statistics.
  • Data analysts determine patterns and trends in huge data sets and visualize data to make it easier to understand. They present data in the form of a compelling story.

Skills: Business analyst vs data analyst

Business analytics and data analytics require professionals to have distinct skill sets even though both deal with data. 

Business AnalystData Analyst
Expertise in data research Data mining
Knowledge of business structuresKnowledge of data structures 
Needs analysisData analysis
Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPointComplex statistics
SQL knowledgeSQL proficiency
Communication, critical thinking & decision-makingMachine learning & AI

Educational qualifications: Business analyst vs data analyst

Firstly, a bachelor’s degree in the field of management, computer science, statistics or mathematics is required to start your career in analytics. Moreover, you are required to pursue a master’s degree program in analytics to explore lucrative career opportunities as a business analyst or a data analyst.

Pursuing an online MSc in business analytics allows you to gain key skills and knowledge needed to excel in data-driven decision making. You will gain in-depth knowledge in data analysis, data visualization, machine learning methods and more. 

Read more: Career options after MSc in Business Analytics

Salary: Business analyst vs data analyst

The average salary for a business analyst in India is INR 8.5 LPA. However, your salary will depend on various factors like master’s degree, technical knowledge, relevant skills, and the company you work for. You can also explore business analyst jobs abroad. In the US, the average salary for a business analyst is USD 94,425 per annum.

The average salary for a data analyst in India is INR 7.5 LPA. If you want to look for a data analyst job in the US, the average salary can be USD 80,095 per annum.

Which is better: Business analytics or data analytics? 

There is no right or wrong answer to this. However, choosing between business analytics and data analytics depends on your strengths and interests. 

If you want to work in the corporate world, make data-driven decisions and become a troubleshooter for an organization, then business analytics can be the right choice for you. You will have a mix of technical knowledge and business knowledge. 

If you have strong knowledge in data and are interested in analyzing large chunks of data using programming languages and tools, then data analytics can be the right choice for you. 

Frequently asked questions

Which job pays more data analyst or business analyst?

According to Dataquest, generally, a business analyst is slightly paid higher than a data analyst. However, it may not be true in all cases. It depends on your work experience, skills, and the company you work for.

Is business analyst easier than data analyst?

Business analysts work on a combination of data and business decisions, while data analysts primarily focus on data. It is hard to tell which one is easier.

Can a business analyst become a data analyst?

With a strong foundation in programming skills, statistics, and other data analytics tools, business analysts can become data analysts.

What is the difference between data analysis and data science?

A data analyst focuses on sorting and interpreting vast quantities of data, while a data scientist is tasked with creating the methods for generating and modeling data, often employing tools such as algorithms and predictive models. Both roles generally possess coding skills and are proficient in using languages and tools like Python and R.


If you are looking to pursue an online analytics course, look no further than the online MSc in business analytics offered by Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Through this online program, you will get a deep understanding of business analytics skills. You can master in-demand tools like Hadoop, Jira, Python, R, PowerBI, SAS, and more.


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

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  • Business Analytics
  • online degree
  • online education in India
  • Online MSC Business Analytics

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