Generally, BA’s typically handle more project management work. They’ll be coordinating with stakeholders, gathering information from SME’s, driving deliverable timelines, documenting requirements, etc.
A BA is most familiar with the needs of the business unit. The BA can take their understanding of these requirements to the Data Analyst, who is familiar with the way all of the data is stored at that company (often in SQL, but could be all the way back in a mainframe) and can find it and tie it together to meet the BAs needs. BAs collect requirements, defines functional needs and processes.
Business analysts are the guys that will have to understand what is the problem that the company is facing, he’ll group the viable solutions and interview experts on the field to see which solution fits better. He’ll work with IT and business, getting problems on the business side, translating these problems for the IT department and will explain the technological solution (provided by the IT department) for the business department. In other words, he’ll work looking for technological solutions for business problems.
A really good BA will have a passing understanding of database languages and logic, because it’s easier when talking to the technical people, but it isn’t totally necessary in a larger company. BAs usually move around in project and business spaces.
Data analysts are usually more technical than BA’s. They’ll use tools like Excel, SQL, and a BI tool (Tableau, PowerBI, etc.) to analyze company data, synthesize it, and present it to stakeholders in a consumable way through dashboards or PowerPoints. Data analyst will use data/information transformation for value creation.
Data analyst will work offering insight that he’ll take from a data base (data warehouse). Then it will be necessary to know how to manipulate this data, present this as insights for the company decision makers, the business that you’re working (the market, the customer, the competitors) and also is necessary to know about strategy. This job is more analytical.
BA’s have good communication skills and interpersonal skills as they will be mostly be interacting with end users. BA’s lean towards eliciting requirements from end users with their terminology, and data analysts are obviously dealing with merging data from multiple sources, understanding relationships within the data in order to be able to join multiple tables together to solve problems.
Below is a list of what BA’s do during a typical day:
- Analyze business needs
- Define a business case
- Elicit information from stakeholders
- Model requirements
- Validate solutions
- Project management
- Project development
- Quality testing
Below is a list of what DA’s do during a typical day:
- Perform data entry
- Scrub data
- Produce and maintain dashboards for different departments
- Create both internal and client-facing reports