Can a Data Analyst Become a Business Analyst? 3 Key Things to Learn

We’re living in an era of big data. With every single click on the internet, we’re racking up 1.7MBs of data per second! Sounds interesting, right? 

With Big Data seeing such advancement, it comes as no surprise that the field of data analysis is also following a pretty steep uphill trend.

Two main fields amongst these are Data Analytics and Business Analytics. While the former deals with studying and analyzing the data in general, the latter is more concerned about how data can be studied so that it could bring more customers to a business and help improve its services.

However, after joining one field, several people end up realizing they should have probably opted for the other one, for one reason or another.

So, in this article today, we’re going to discover if a data analyst can become a business analyst. And if so, how difficult the transition would be, and what concrete steps would he follow.

Related Articles:

Data Analytics vs. Business Analytics: Top 5 Differences

The Importance of Data in Decision Making

How much do Data Analysts Make? (An analysis by country, role, and experience level)

Can a Data Analyst become a Business Analyst?

The brief and precise answer to this is YES, you absolutely can. In fact, the journey is pretty straightforward, and if you’re a professional data analyst, you might find yourself already halfway to becoming a business analyst!

However, you’d need to fulfill a specific criterion and think through a few essential points to decide if you really need to switch your career at this stage. 

But don’t worry! Just sit back and give this article a thorough read as I’ll be telling you everything you need to know about this transition. Let’s dig in!

How Do You Exactly Make the Switch?

Since both these fields are primarily concerned with Big Data and performing predictive analysis on it to effectively study future trends, there aren’t many grave differences between them. 

Nevertheless, there are a handful of important concepts you would need to grasp onto if you’re interested in making the jump. Let’s see.

can a data analyst become a business analyst?

A) Learning Business Processes

Learning the business’s core processes is unarguably one of the foremost steps you’d need to take if you’re considering the transition. 

Since data analysts are just concerned with studying data using complex mathematical and statistical tools, they have zero to little knowledge of how businesses go about.

In contrast, the whole concept of a business analyst revolves around this principle. So, learning the fundamental business processes and how the data you’re analyzing affects them is of the essence. 

If you’re great at performing analysis and predicting future trends but cannot link it to your specific business domain, you’re no use to a company as a business analyst!

B) Communicating with Different Business Portfolios

While a data analyst may only be reporting to a head data scientist or other data science teams’ personnel, it’s not the case with a business analyst by a long shot. 

Not only do they report to a bunch of different portfolios such as development and marketing teams, but sometimes they act as a bridge between the data science team and all other non-technical portfolios.

So, strengthening your communication skills to external portfolios is a huge asset for a business analyst.

C) Business Planning & Management

Whenever a business is coming up with plans such as a new marketing plan, the business analyst plays a pivotal role.

Coming up with effective and efficient business plans and communicating them to the stakeholders as well as other teams is necessary.

Hence, the planning and management skills of a business analyst also need to be polished so he could integrate efficiency and savings into the business plans he’s devising.

If you successfully get your hands dirty with these concepts and try out a couple of projects, I’m sure there’ll be no more obstacles on your way to becoming a top-notch business analyst.

Is the Transition Really Worth It?

Even though there isn’t much difference between the careers of both professions and they eventually take you to the same destination i.e. Data Scientist, there’s still a considerable amount of workforce thinking to switch their careers.

Well, there’s no arguing the fact that you should pursue what you really love, but it’s not sometimes feasible taking up a path when it won’t last long. However, there can be some specific scenarios when you could consider it:

  • You’re Not Planning to Be a Data Scientist Anytime Soon 

One of the scenarios where you really need to switch to the role of business analyst could be your knack for business in general.

You might be personally interested in this field and find yourself great in decision making when it comes to business.

You also have great insight when it comes to business development and its planning. And to top it off, you have a previous history of working in this domain which boosts your confidence even more.

  • You Own a Business and Want to Help It

The second reason why someone could be interested in taking up this decision is that they generally want to enhance their decision-making powers and want to back them up with relevant skills.

Having already mastered data analytics, they want to use the skills for their personal benefits and are not quite looking at it from an employment perspective.


So, that’s pretty much it. While data analyst and business analyst seem to have pretty much in common and the switch between these two careers seems to be pretty straightforward, we’ve seen that there are more than a couple of processes you would need to go through before you’re able to do that.

However, if you’re a proficient data analyst and committed to becoming a business analyst for whatsoever reason, I’m sure it won’t be more than a month or two to get things settled for you.

The only thing you need to make sure before you pursue this goal is you know the outcomes of both careers aren’t much different, except if you’re really into business management and would love to keep the role for a long time ahead.

Emidio Amadebai

As an IT Engineer, who is passionate about learning and sharing. I have worked and learned quite a bit from Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Key Decision Makers almost for the past 5 years. Interested in learning more about Data Science and How to leverage it for better decision-making in my business and hopefully help you do the same in yours.

Recent Posts