Business intelligence analyst vs. data analyst: A comparison (2022)

Business intelligence analyst vs. data analyst: A comparison (1)

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(Video) Difference between a BI Analyst and a Data Analyst

BI analysts and data analysts provide specific benefits for organizations looking to improve how they interpret and use data. Review these unique roles and their responsibilities.

Business intelligence analyst vs. data analyst: A comparison (2)

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  • George Lawton

Published: 30 Nov 2021

(Video) Data Analyst vs Business Analyst | Which Is Right For You?

Modern analytics pipelines consist of many roles and responsibilities for translating raw data and meaningful insight. A business intelligence analyst and a data analyst are two of the most common analytics roles in many organizations.

Business intelligence analysts, or BI analysts, focus on translating raw operational data into meaningful financial dashboards and reports. Data analysts focus more on combing data to find new patterns relevant to the business or other stakeholders. BI analysts are better at making sense of what has happened and doing so at scale. Data analysts are better at looking for patterns that state what might happen.

What is a business intelligence analyst?

Business intelligence analysts excel at translating business requirements into the appropriate graphs, charts, spreadsheets and dashboards. They tend to work close to the front line with business users and subject matter experts. They also need a solid understanding of business workflows, finance and accounting to translate the raw data into a form the users are familiar with.

BI analysts need a deep understanding of the technical side of working with structured databases and data warehouses. They must be fluent in writing complex SQL queries and creating complex joins across tables. Familiarity with various query optimization techniques helps ensure they create reports that cut database processing overhead.

BI analysts may come to a job with various SQL data transformation skills. For example, they may work with extract, transform and load tools to transfer subsets of data from an operational database into a data warehouse to support a new query.

(Video) Business Analysis, Business Intelligence, Business Analytics: What’s the Diff?

Some basic user experience design skills can also help them identify the best way of presenting data to users that is simple and can explain the appropriate story.

The tools of choice for BI analysts tend to be Excel spreadsheets and SQL queries. They use BI tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Salesforce Tableau and Google Looker. BI analysts also tend to work with the data presentation tools baked into BI tools like Tableau, Power BI and Looker. They use these to present their findings to business users, data scientists and data engineers for further development.

A bachelor's degree in computer science or business with some training in SQL is enough to start a career as a BI analyst.

Business intelligence analyst vs. data analyst: A comparison (3)

What is a data analyst?

A data analyst excels at exploring complex data sets to identify new patterns useful for specific business groups. They tend to start with broad goals specified by business leaders. Then, they'll spend more time behind the scenes looking for new data sets, mining this data for interesting patterns and wrangling this raw data into new data models.

Data analysts need a solid understanding of data mining techniques, machine learning and statistics so they can separate a promising new data model from mere coincidence. They tend to have solid skills for working with raw data using tools like R and Python for statistical analysis and statistics tools like SAS and KNIME.

A data analyst must also understand the origin and applicability of different data sets. This is more of a challenge with data analysis than BI. Data analysts tend to work with a wider variety of data types and sources of different quality. One day, they may be data mining sales transaction logs to figure out product correlations using tools like RapidMiner or SAS Enterprise Miner. The next day might include text mining email and customer chat logs to look for trends in how different customers feel about the same products using tools like Amazon Comprehend or Lexalytics.

(Video) Business Intelligence vs Data Science in Real Life

They can also benefit from familiarity with data wrangling tools for combining diverse data sets and data cleansing tools to weed out bad data that might confound analysis.

A bachelor's degree in mathematics or computer science with some training in statistics and data manipulation tools is enough to start a career as a data analyst.

How do business intelligence analysts and data analysts differ?

Both business intelligence analysts and data analysts play valuable roles in understanding how the business has been performing and identifying new opportunities for improvement. In practice, these roles tend to work alongside a wide range of other types of data experts that focus on improving data infrastructure and data modeling and understanding business needs.

It is helpful to consider the four main categories of analytics to understand how the two roles differ and how they complement one another.

  • Descriptive analytics helps make sense of what has happened. This can include tracking sales changes across different departments and product lines, as well as using charts, graphs and dashboards.
  • Diagnostic analytics tries to explain why something occurred. For example, reduced rain correlates with slower umbrella sales.
  • Predictive analytics looks for patterns in data to create models that can predict what might happen in response to a combination of new events. For example, sweltering summer weather predictions could lead to larger ice cream sales.
  • Prescriptive analytics suggests actions to improve a particular outcome. For example, a business might stock up on ice cream for sales during warm weather or recommend an online shopper buy a sun umbrella to go with their sunglasses.

BI analysts tend to focus on descriptive and diagnostic tools for surfacing data about the past into charts, diagrams or numbers. This can help a business manager make better decisions. Data analysts tend to focus on exploring data to identify patterns for crafting better predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics that could improve outcomes in the future.

(Video) Business Intelligence vs Data Science

Both jobs need deep technical expertise and an intricate understanding of data. However, BI analysts in the U.S. tend to earn a much higher starting salary than data analysts. One factor may be that BI analysts tend to have a greater understanding of the business, finance and communication skills needed to translate raw data into ongoing business value.

A good data analyst tends to focus on data experimentation that may find patterns, and much of this time and research may lead to dead ends. They tend to have strong technical and statistics skills. However, data analysts do not need the same level of communication skills, as they tend to spend less time engaged with business users.

That said, both career paths contain some of the essential skills for more valuable roles, such as data scientists and data engineers. According to November 2021 numbers from Indeed.com, the average base salary for a data analyst role is around $60,000 per year, while a BI analyst averages around $86,000 per year in the U.S. Those who decide to focus on learning more technical skills could become a data engineer, which has an average base salary of around $117,000 per year. Those who focus on learning more statistical skills could become a data scientist, which offers a base salary of approximately $75,000 per year.

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FAQs

Is business intelligence analyst same as data analyst? ›

Data analysts and business analysts both help drive data-driven decision-making in their organizations. Data analysts tend to work more closely with the data itself, while business analysts tend to be more involved in addressing business needs and recommending solutions.

Which is better business intelligence or data analytics? ›

Business intelligence addresses ongoing operations, helping businesses and departments meet organizational goals. Data analytics can help companies that want to transform the way they do business. Both disciplines can benefit from a little data preparation.

Can a data analyst become a business intelligence analyst? ›

Business intelligence analysts can get their careers started in analytical roles like data analyst. They can go on to become business intelligence consultants, business intelligence architects, managers, or other senior positions.

What is the difference between a business analyst and a data analyst? ›

Business analysts and data analysts both work with data. The difference is what they do with it. Business analysts use data to make strategic business decisions. Data analysts gather data, manipulate it, identify useful information from it, and transform their findings into digestible insights.

Who gets paid more business analyst or data analyst? ›

Data Analyst vs Business Analyst: Salary Comparison

The average data analyst's salary could go up to US$72,250 per year. It also depends on the company, job role, and geographical location matters. A business analyst's salary is typically higher, averaging US$78,500/year.

Does business analyst do coding? ›

Business analysts do deal with IT professionals and IT processes. But they are not involved in coding/programming, that's the job of programmers. Business Analysts deal with requirements understanding, development and management and functional testing. These responsibilities don't involve any programming skills.

Is business intelligence similar to data science? ›

Business Intelligence (BI) and data science are both data-focused processes, but there are some key differences between the two. In general, business intelligence focuses on analyzing past events, while data science aims to predict future trends.

Will data science replace business intelligence? ›

Many have come to view data science as the new business intelligence. However, data science and business intelligence are actually two very different disciplines, and one cannot replace the other.

Is business intelligence part of data analytics? ›

Data analytics is a necessary tool for business intelligence. However, it is not the same thing as business intelligence. The latter uses a range of strategies and tools, of which data analytics is just one. In fact, data analytics is likely the most fundamental business intelligence tool there is.

Are business intelligence analysts in demand? ›

According to data compiled by the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), employment in the field that includes business intelligence analysts is projected to grow 15% from 2020-2030. That's a much faster rate than the average for all other occupations.

Is business intelligence a data engineer? ›

Data Engineers' role is very different from Business Intelligence Developers', but they work closely together. The main role of Data Engineers is to put together all data infrastructure which is then analysed by Data Scientists and used for analytical or operational purposes.

Is business intelligence a skill? ›

What Are Business Intelligence Skills? Business intelligence is a technology-driven process, so people who work in BI need a number of hard skills, such as computer programming and database familiarity. However, they also need soft skills, including interpersonal skills.

Can I switch from data analyst to business analyst? ›

If your question is, can a data analyst become a business analyst? Well, a data analyst can, over time, switch to the role of a business analyst.

What is the highest paid business analyst? ›

Highest Paying Business Analyst Jobs
  • Business Systems Analyst ($93,000 average salary). ...
  • Business Intelligence Analyst ($87,000 average salary). ...
  • Business Process Consultant ($110,000 average salary). ...
  • Business Development Director ($195,000 average salary).

Do business analysts use Python? ›

Python is one of the most popular languages for business analytics today and continues to grow at an astonishing rate. It's commonly considered one of the easier programming languages to read and learn—its programming syntax is simple and its commands mimic the English language.

Is data analyst a stressful job? ›

Yes, being a data analyst can be very stressful, but this heavily depends on your employer, the company's culture, and what causes stress for you personally.

Does data analyst require coding? ›

While knowing how to code and knowing a programming language or three is essential to being a data analyst, coding for data analytics doesn't require the same depth of knowledge required for a degree in computer science.

Is business analyst a stressful job? ›

According to Forbes, a business analyst job is “typically less stressful than high-demand finance jobs” and can provide great flexible work options. A lot will depend on the industry and sector in which you work and perhaps where you are on your career journey.

Is SQL required for business analyst? ›

SQL is the language in which we can tell the computer to perform that operation. With big data and relational databases being the new norm for most companies, SQL knowledge is a prerequisite for almost any business analyst job.

Is business analyst an IT job? ›

Business Analyst in the IT industry

IT business analysts are knowledgeable in both business and information technology. Liaising between IT and the executive branch, enhancing the quality of IT services, and understanding business needs are among their major roles.

What is the future of business analyst? ›

Once a Business Analyst gain's knowledge he/she can become a Project manager, Functional consultant, a product owner/analyst, Pre-sales consultant, or can even become IT PMO in the organization since the exposure is more across SDLC.

How is data science used in business intelligence? ›

So, in nutshell, while BI helps interpret past data, Data Science can analyze the past data (trends or patterns) to make future predictions. BI is mainly used for reporting or descriptive analytics; whereas Data Science is more used for predictive analytics or prescriptive analytics.

Why is data science important in business intelligence? ›

Data science can add value to any business who can use their data well. From statistics and insights across workflows and hiring new candidates, to helping senior staff make better-informed decisions, data science is valuable to any company in any industry.

Which are minimum skills required for data scientist? ›

You need to have knowledge of various programming languages, such as Python, Perl, C/C++, SQL, and Java, with Python being the most common coding language required in data science roles. These programming languages help data scientists organize unstructured data sets.

Will AI take data analyst jobs? ›

AI Enhances Data Analyst Job Security

While AI can do the work that no one has the time for, companies will come to see much stronger benefits in BI and be more inclined to further invest time and effort — creating more jobs in the field as a result. AI is good for job security.

Will data analyst become obsolete? ›

Yes, data science is a future-proof industry that will continue to grow along with artificial intelligence, computer science, and deep learning technologies. The job roles of data scientists will evolve to match these tech progressions.

What is the role of business intelligence analyst? ›

The Business Intelligence Analyst is responsible for helping businesses leverage data and identify opportunities for improvement, spot trends, as well as recognise potential issues and offer solutions. Their work is aimed towards improving efficiency, increasing productivity, and driving profits for the business.

How many hours do business intelligence analysts work? ›

Most business intelligence analysts work longer than 40 hours per week, spending most of their time in the office. Most positions require a bachelor's degree, although many in the field have a master's degree as well.

How many hours do intelligence analysts work? ›

Intelligence analysts work a typical 37-hour week although you may be expected to work extra hours at times of pressure or during crises.

What degree is needed for business intelligence analyst? ›

A bachelor degree in computer science, business, data science or a related field is usually required to become a Business Intelligence Analyst. Developing advanced skills working with databases and Structured Query Language (SQL) and its related platforms is essential.

What is difference between data engineer and business intelligence? ›

Data Scientists use Data Analytics and Data Engineering to predict the future using data from the past. Business Analysts and Business Intelligence Analysts use these insights and predictions to drive decisions that benefit and grow their business.

How do I become a business intelligence developer? ›

How to become a business intelligence developer
  1. Earn a degree. ...
  2. Develop BI skills. ...
  3. Get experience.
  4. Make connections. ...
  5. Further your professional development. ...
  6. Technical skills. ...
  7. Communication. ...
  8. Public speaking.

What is the difference between data analyst and data engineer? ›

A Data Analyst needs to process and interpret data. A Data Scientist needs to be able to build and develop tools that process information. A Data Engineer needs to be able to build programs or systems that can take data and turn it into insights.

Is Excel a business intelligence tool? ›

While it isn't the only program to offer formulas and pivot tables regarding business intelligence, Excel is still one of the most commonly used BI tools.

Who is the father of business intelligence? ›

Howard Dresner coined the modern definition of the term “business intelligence” in 1989, at least in the sense it is typically used in the industry today (“end user access to and analysis of structured content, i.e., data”).

Who is responsible for business intelligence? ›

5. Business Intelligence client. The client (or business manager) determines both the scope and the business case for BI and does this together with the users, the business analyst and the project manager.

Is business intelligence part of data analytics? ›

Data analytics is a necessary tool for business intelligence. However, it is not the same thing as business intelligence. The latter uses a range of strategies and tools, of which data analytics is just one. In fact, data analytics is likely the most fundamental business intelligence tool there is.

Is business intelligence a data engineer? ›

Data Engineers' role is very different from Business Intelligence Developers', but they work closely together. The main role of Data Engineers is to put together all data infrastructure which is then analysed by Data Scientists and used for analytical or operational purposes.

What does a business intelligence analyst do? ›

A business intelligence analyst reviews data to produce finance and market intelligence reports. These reports are used to highlight patterns and trends in a given market that may influence a company's operations and future goals.

What is the role of business intelligence analyst? ›

The Business Intelligence Analyst is responsible for helping businesses leverage data and identify opportunities for improvement, spot trends, as well as recognise potential issues and offer solutions. Their work is aimed towards improving efficiency, increasing productivity, and driving profits for the business.

What's the difference between business intelligence and data? ›

Business Intelligence refers to the information required to enhance business decision-making activities. Data Analytics refers to modifying the raw data into a meaningful format. The prime purpose of business intelligence is to provide support in decision making and help the organizations to grow their business.

Will Data Science replace business intelligence? ›

Many have come to view data science as the new business intelligence. However, data science and business intelligence are actually two very different disciplines, and one cannot replace the other.

Is business intelligence and analytics the same? ›

The primary distinction between business intelligence and business analytics is the focus on when events occur. Business intelligence is focused on current and past events that are captured in the data. Business analytics is focused on what's most likely to happen in the future.

How do I become a business intelligence developer? ›

How to become a business intelligence developer
  1. Earn a degree. ...
  2. Develop BI skills. ...
  3. Get experience.
  4. Make connections. ...
  5. Further your professional development. ...
  6. Technical skills. ...
  7. Communication. ...
  8. Public speaking.

What is the difference between data analyst and data engineer? ›

A Data Analyst needs to process and interpret data. A Data Scientist needs to be able to build and develop tools that process information. A Data Engineer needs to be able to build programs or systems that can take data and turn it into insights.

What do you do in data analytics? ›

A data analyst reviews data to identify key insights into a business's customers and ways the data can be used to solve problems. They also communicate this information to company leadership and other stakeholders.

Is business intelligence a skill? ›

What Are Business Intelligence Skills? Business intelligence is a technology-driven process, so people who work in BI need a number of hard skills, such as computer programming and database familiarity. However, they also need soft skills, including interpersonal skills.

What degree do I need to become a business intelligence analyst? ›

Business intelligence analysts need at minimum a bachelor's degree in statistics, computer science, business administration or a related field. Many business intelligence analysts choose to earn a Master of Business Administration to pursue a wider range of opportunities and increase their earning potential.

What are the five basic tasks of business intelligence? ›

Thank you so much for all your support and help!
  • Business Intelligence. ...
  • The five key stages of Business Intelligence:
  • Data sourcing : ...
  • Data analysis: ...
  • Situation awareness : ...
  • Risk assessment : ...
  • Decision support. ...
  • Some Definitions:
1 Jan 2015

Is business intelligence in high demand? ›

Many jobs fall under the umbrella of business intelligence, and given the focus on Big Data right now, most of them are highly in demand — so if you are looking for a career in data science, now is a great time to job search.

How many hours do business intelligence analysts work? ›

Most business intelligence analysts work longer than 40 hours per week, spending most of their time in the office. Most positions require a bachelor's degree, although many in the field have a master's degree as well.

Who is responsible for business intelligence? ›

5. Business Intelligence client. The client (or business manager) determines both the scope and the business case for BI and does this together with the users, the business analyst and the project manager.

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