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Data Scientist Vs. Business Intelligence Analyst

Data scientists and business intelligence analysts use computer software to process large amounts of information. This article explores other similarities--as well as the differences in areas such as salary, growth, and duties--of these two fields.

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Comparing Data Scientists to Business Intelligence Analysts

Companies rely on data scientists to write programs that business intelligence analysts can use in marketing their product. The data scientist designs ways to collect and organize information so that patterns of behavior can easily be seen. The business intelligence analyst evaluates the patterns and develops advertisements or adjusts prices to give their company an edge over competitors.

Job Title Minimum Education Required Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Data Scientist Master's degree $128,549 19% (computer and information research scientists)
Business Intelligence Analyst Bachelor's degree $85,141 23% (market research analysts)

Sources: *Glassdoor, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Computer and Information Support Services, Other
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Responsibilities of a Data Scientist vs. a Business Intelligence Analyst

Information is essential to both of these professions who often work together to promote a particular business. The data scientist evaluates the needs of the business intelligence analyst and designs software to process the necessary data, although some business intelligence analysts may also have programming computer skills. In general, the business intelligence analyst provides the goals for data analysis and the data scientist provides the means through computer algorithms. Data scientists can also work with medical professionals, traffic engineers and other scientists who need computer software designed for their work. Data scientists may also work at colleges or universities and create advancements in technologies through better processing efficiency or data security.

Data Scientist

An algorithm is a procedure written in the language of mathematics which guides a computer through the procedure. Data scientists write algorithms to solve a specific problem such as how to treat a disease based on medical records or the best design for roads based on traffic data. The data scientist analyzes problems and develops a model for solving it with computer software. They may invent new mathematical languages that simplify the way people interact with computers including robotics. Data scientists are employed by the federal government, engineers, computer system design companies, and software publishers.

Job responsibilities of a data scientist include:

  • Consulting with clients to assess system requirements
  • Developing performance standards to evaluate accuracy of software
  • Training software users
  • Monitoring network hardware
  • Developing budgets for projects

Business Intelligence Analyst

Competition for customers involves market strategies based on industry data. A business intelligence analyst evaluates trends and identifies potential new markets. They may develop business intelligence tools to track the activities of the competition and routinely provide reports for management executives to review. The goal of the business intelligence analyst is to develop strategies for improving sales of the business product. They may use surveys and questionnaires to gather information about customer satisfaction and use this data to improve the desirability of their product through advertising.

Job responsibilities of a business intelligence analyst include:

  • Using databases to monitor existing and potential customers
  • Creating graphs to communicate financial information
  • Tracking differences in geographic patterns of sales
  • Collecting demographic data to define target populations

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming a data scientist, the job of a biostatistician may interest you because both require mathematical modeling. A purchasing agent job may be of interest to those who like the job of a business intelligence analyst because it involves following market trends closely.

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