Business Analytics vs. Data Analytics: Differences and Career Paths

View all blog posts under Articles

Data analysts reviewing charts around a desk with a tablet, computer, and paperwork.

Jobs in data science are growing rapidly, and for good reason. Statista estimated that the total amount of data created would reach 64.2 zettabytes by 2020, and that number is projected to increase to over 180 zettabytes over the next five years.

Social media likes, Google searches, and consumer buying activity are just a few examples of the types of data being produced. Organizations need this data to run efficiently and successfully, using it to manage inventories, predict consumer behavior, and, ultimately, drive corporate decision-making. When properly harnessed, the data can lead to efficiently designed strategies that have the potential to grow a company’s bottom line.

Organizations around the globe need skilled analysts to help them collect, sort, and analyze these vast sets of data. It’s crucial that all of these tasks be completed accurately — even the slightest misinterpretation of data can have negative consequences that could derail an organization’s chances for optimum growth. Earning an advanced degree such as a Master of Business Analytics is an excellent way for individuals to gain the knowledge base and skill set to help fill this need.

Data Analytics vs. Business Analytics

When comparing the two career fields, data analytics vs. business analytics, they can seem similar. However, when you take a closer look, you can see the job responsibilities for each field are quite different.

Business analytics helps companies collect, report, and share data to drive decision-making. It involves using procedures such as data visualization and analysis to communicate those insights to decision-makers.

Data analytics, on the other hand, involves using methods such as algorithms to determine the relationships that exist within that data. An analogy to explain the similarities and differences between these fields would be the following: If business analytics is the process of going through your pantry to determine the types of baking ingredients you have, data analytics would be the process of evaluating those ingredients to determine the type of dessert you can make.

Business Analytics Careers

The career opportunities for professionals who hold a master’s degree in business analytics are as broad as they are lucrative. Because of what professionals in these positions can achieve in the context of business growth and maintenance strategies, these opportunities can also act as game-changers for an organization.

Indeed, earning potential for those in business analytics careers can be significant. For instance, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual market research analyst salary is $65,810, with the top 10% earning more than $127,410 (2020). The BLS also reports that the median annual financial analyst salary is $83,660, with top earners making more than $159,560 per year (2020).

Additionally, the BLS projects the number of jobs for market research analysts to grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average job growth projected for all professions. The BLS’s job growth projection for financial analysts during the same time is 6%, which is around the average projected job growth.

Data Analytics Careers

Professionals who are interested in pursuing a data analytics career will enjoy job opportunities and earning potential that are similar to those in business analytics.

The BLS reports that the median annual operations research analyst salary is $86,200, with those in the top 10% earning more than $144,330 per year (2020). The BLS also reports that the median annual management analyst salary is $87,660, with those in the top 10% earning more than $156,840 annually (2020).

Data from the BLS indicates that job growth for operations research analysts is projected to be 25% between 2020 and 2030, which is much higher than the average projected growth for all occupations. Similarly, job growth for management analysts is expected to be 14% during that same time period, which is also higher than average.

Business Analytics Skills

Professionals who are interested in a career in analytics may want to consider pursuing a Master of Business Analytics. Enrolling in this degree program can expose students to in-depth training in large data sets, along with techniques in the following:

  • Data management
  • Data visualization
  • Machine learning
  • Predictive analytics

Professionals who are weighing business analytics vs. data analytics careers may be interested to learn that, upon graduation, these highly marketable business analytic skills can open the door to many professional opportunities, as workers with this degree can positively impact their organization.

Jump-Start Your Career in Analytics Today

Demand for qualified analytics professionals continues to exceed supply, and job opportunities in the fields of business and data analytics are abundant. With courses such as Predictive Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Programming for Analytics, the Online Master of Business Analytics at Ohio University can impart the advanced analytical skills professionals will need to be successful in these career paths.

Discover how an Online Master of Business Analytics degree from Ohio University can help you take your career to the next level.

Recommended Readings

How Data Science Can Be Used for Social Good

Online Master of Business Analytics Program Overview

Two Types of Data Analysis for Building a Business Analytics Career


CIO, “What Is a Data Analyst? A Key Role for Data-Driven Business Decisions”

LinkedIn, “How Much Data Is Created Every Day in 2020?”

Statista, “Volume of Data/Information Created, Captured, Copied, and Consumed Worldwide from 2010 to 2025”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Market Research Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mathematicians and Statisticians

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Operations Research Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Working with Big Data”

World Economic Forum, “The Value of Data”