Can a Data Analyst Become a Business Analyst?
Can a data analyst become a business analyst?
Short answer - yes.
Let's look at why and HOW a data analyst can become a business analyst and how someone can make this transition. We’ll look at training, skills, and how to take this data to business analyst career path.
Data Analyst vs Business Analyst
If you’ve seen my video about business analyst vs data analyst roles, you’re already familiar with some of the differences between the jobs.
Business analysts analyze the organization, processes, systems, or a problem from a business lens.
Data analytics is a portion of this work, but always as a means to an end. That is - a business analyst uses data to help support business decisions and changes.
I think the best implemented data analyst positions share this same feature.
While they’ll be heavier on analysis - often going deeper and more technical than a business analyst - the work should ultimately support a business goal.
If that sounds like your current data analyst role then great!
That’s going to make it much easier for you to transition into a business analyst role.
But let’s look at the change when you’re coming from a more technical role that’s more isolated from the business.
Best Roles to Target
Most data analysts will have more technical skills than the average business analyst - knowledge of tools or programming languages that aren’t typical of every business analyst.
The simplest transition would be targeting more technical business analyst jobs.
These would play to the strengths of a data analysts technical skills.
Skills to Build
Communication & Leadership Skills
Because business analysts focus more on the business, they need strong communication skills and leadership.
In many cases, this leadership is going to involve influencing people that they aren’t actually in charge of so persuasiveness is also an important skill.
Data analysts focus more on the data.
While you’ll be a more effective data analyst with good communication and leadership skills, these aren't quite as critical as they are for a business analyst.
Project Management Skills
Business analysts also need at least a basic level of project management skills.
Depending on the specific role, some business analysts will function fully as project managers - especially in smaller organizations.
Even if you’re not looking at a role where project management is a central focus, project management will still help you be much more organized and effective.
How Often Do People Switch Roles?
It’s not uncommon for data analysts to transition to business analyst roles.
The skillsets of both are very similar so they often attract people who can easily shift either to be more business focused or to be more data focused.
How to Become a Business Analyst
If you’re considering transitioning from a data analyst to business analyst role, work on boosting the skills you’re lacking and finding opportunities to incorporate them into your current job.
This could be as simple as connecting more with people in other roles or it could involve using new tools in your job.
Whatever lengths you go to, they’ll help improve your resume and give you more to talk about when you get into a business analyst job interview.