If you’re looking for a career in big data, one question you may ask yourself is whether you should become a data analyst vs. a data scientist. While the two roles are similar, there are important distinctions you should be aware of before making your ultimate decision.

While both involve processing data, they have differing roles and responsibilities that require different training and certification. Before you make the decision on which job to pursue, you should understand how they stack up against each other. Below is a comparison of the two positions so you can determine which is the right career path for you.

Data Analyst Vs. Data Scientist Differences

Data science and analytics jobs involve extracting, analyzing, visualizing, managing and storing data to create insights. Data science is all about processing this data and enabling companies to make decisions based on what the data tells them about the customer.

While data analysts and data scientists both play a role in the data science process, there are distinctions between data analyst vs. data scientist jobs. Data analysts collect data to use it for creating insights. They process and analyze data, translating that data into plain English. This helps businesses and organizations better understand the data to make better business decisions.

Data scientists perform analytics on data and use those analytics to perform online experiments intended to achieve a desired result for a company. They then use the results of those experiments to design personalized data products informed by machine learning. The main difference between the two is what is done with the data once it is collected.

What Does A Data Analyst Do?

Working in data analysis is like acting as a liaison between a company and its data. It’s up to the data analyst to not just analyze data, but also make sense of the data for the benefit of the company. They’re the “explainer.” They’re there to tell the higher-ups what the data is telling them.

A data analyst needs to know how to process data but then also report out and elaborate on what their analysis means. That means discussing their results with other individuals within the company who need to act on the results of the analysis but might be ill-equipped to understand what it means.

The job description of a data analyst includes performing analysis, reporting out on their analysis, then advising others within the organization (such as managers and department heads) on what that analysis means.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2018 data analysts made $83,090 per year (median pay). The benefit of a data analytics certification includes having a wider variety of data analytics jobs at your disposal once you’ve received it.

Data Analyst Roles And Responsibilities

There are specific skills required for a data analyst. Some common tasks a data analyst must perform include:

  • Mining data
  • Identifying trends they observe in the data
  • Preparing reports for senior leadership
  • Interpreting what the data means
  • Recommending process improvements for company databases and data systems
  • Addressing issues with existing code and fixing them when necessary
  • Working alongside the IT department and/or data scientists to establish data analysis goals

A data analyst must be adept at handling data while also superior communications skills. They need to interact with multiple departments and team members to discuss what their data means in a larger context to the company.

Think of the data analyst almost as a “data decoder.” They should possess solid critical thinking skills, as they have to do more than just examine data. They have to reach solid conclusions on their results and then make recommendations based on that.

What Does A Data Scientist Do?

Data science is a very attractive field for candidates in the job marketplace due to the lack of qualified talent, the difficulty of the job, and the fact that companies of all sizes are hiring for it. Data science can be helped for companies to not just reflect on customer data, but also try to predict future trends.

Working in data science shares some similarities with being a data analyst but requires a more advanced level of coding ability. Think of it as a natural extension of a data analyst’s job. Data science includes analyzing data and translating it. The job description of a data scientist also includes entering that data into statistical models they have built that help interprets the data. It also includes developing algorithms.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2018 data scientists made $118,370 per year (median pay). Another advantage of this position is that data scientists can work from home. Depending on the company and type of data you’re analyzing, a telecommuting position is typically reasonable for a data scientist.

Data Scientist Roles And Responsibilities

The great part about data science is that anyone can learn it. They just need the right skill set.  A data scientist should possess many of the same skills a data analyst has. Data mining, coding ability, and communication skills are all necessary to be a successful data scientist.

The ability to organize and clean data is critical. Also, the ability to build statistical models and algorithms allows you to properly evaluate the data as well. Scientists use statistical mathematics to analyze data, so the ability to analyze and synthesize statistics is also key.

How much time does it take to become a data scientist with Woz U? Not as much as you’d think. With dedicated practice and a commitment to building your skill set with Woz U powered programs you can become an expert in data science in no time. There are multiple data science career paths available as well.

Choosing a Career in Data

If the skills or responsibilities associated with a career in data science sound like something you’d be interested in, you may want to pursue a career in big data. There are many job opportunities in big data, with a great job outlook once you understand the difference between the data analyst vs. data scientist roles.

If you’ve always had an interest in extrapolating data, analyzing it, and sharing your findings with others, contact us today. Woz U can help you get started on your path to a career in data science. Let us help your transformation into the beginning of a new you!

Sources

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm

https://hbr.org/2018/08/what-data-scientists-really-do-according-to-35-data-scientists

https://www.careerexplorer.com/careers/data-analyst/

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