What Does a Business Data Analyst Do? 2024 Career Guide

Business data analysts use the data analysis process to advance their company’s business goals.

Business data analysts use the data analysis process to understand, interpret, and predict patterns in business, and then use those data-driven insights to enhance their business practices. Essentially, business data analysts are data analysts who focus specifically on furthering key business goals.

In this article, we’ll detail the tasks and responsibilities associated with business data analysts, their average salary, and how to become a business data analyst with a data analytics degree.

What does a business data analyst do?

Business data analysts are tasked with identifying opportunities for growth, optimization, and improvement within an organization’s business processes. They often specialize in specific areas such as supply chain management, customer service, or global trade practices. Unlike traditional business analysts who typically work with predefined problems, business data analysts are more involved in identifying issues and solving them using analytical skills. They play a crucial role in translating raw data into actionable insights that inform strategic decision-making.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a business data analyst encompass a wide range of tasks that bridge the gap between data analysis and business analysis. These tasks may include developing and deploying dashboards to collect and visualize data-backed insights, interpreting key business datasets to extract meaningful information, delivering insights on potential areas of growth and optimization, supporting business intelligence strategies with quantitative analysis, and collaborating across departments to implement data-driven strategies that improve business processes and decision-making.

Tools Used

Business data analysts leverage various tools throughout the data analysis process to streamline their work and ensure accuracy. Commonly used tools include Microsoft Excel for data manipulation and analysis, SQL for database querying, Python and R for programming and statistical analysis, Tableau and Microsoft Power BI for data visualization, and Alteryx for data blending and advanced analytics. These tools enable analysts to efficiently collect, clean, analyze, and visualize large volumes of data to derive actionable insights.

Salary and Job Outlook

The salary and job outlook for business data analysts vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. According to various sources, the average salary for a business data analyst in the United States ranges from $91,847 to $161,190. The demand for data analysts is expected to continue growing significantly in the coming years, with positions such as operations research analysts, management analysts, and mathematicians/statisticians projected to see faster-than-average growth rates. This high demand is driven by the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making across industries.

How to Become a Business Data Analyst

There are multiple paths to becoming a business data analyst, with education and experience playing key roles. Many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in fields such as business, engineering, technology, math, or computer science. Some may also look for candidates with an MBA or graduate degree in data analytics or related fields. However, relevant work experience combined with transferable skills can also be valuable for aspiring business data analysts. Continuous learning and staying updated with the latest tools and techniques are essential for success in this field.

Technical Skills

Business data analysts require a range of technical skills to effectively perform their roles. Proficiency in database tools such as Microsoft Excel and SQL is essential for collecting and organizing data. Programming languages like Python and R are used for data cleaning, manipulation, and analysis. Data visualization tools such as Tableau and Microsoft Power BI enable analysts to translate data into visually compelling insights. Additionally, a strong understanding of business analysis principles is crucial for recognizing potential areas of improvement within organizations.

Workplace Skills

In addition to technical skills, business data analysts need strong workplace skills to succeed in their roles. Effective communication and collaboration are essential for working cross-departmentally and influencing decision-makers with data-driven insights. Prioritization and organization skills are necessary for managing multiple projects and datasets simultaneously. Curiosity and creativity are valuable traits that enable analysts to explore complex issues and derive innovative solutions from data. Self-motivation is also important, as analysts often work independently to analyze data and conduct research.

Continued Learning

Continuous learning is essential for business data analysts to stay updated with the latest tools, technologies, and best practices in data analysis and business analytics. Online platforms like Coursera offer a wide range of courses and certifications specifically designed to help professionals enhance their skills and advance their careers in data analysis and business analytics. By investing in ongoing learning and development, business data analysts can ensure they remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.