A recent prediction said that data scientists would “wipe out” business analysts.
So far, that hasn’t happened. And it’s pretty unlikely.
While there is a tremendous demand for data scientists, there’s also a big shortfall of qualified data scientists. That trend isn’t going away anytime soon, based on the number of students enrolling in data science programs. Indeed.com does show more than 22,000 data scientist job listings, but before you make a judgment based on those numbers, note that they also list more than 97,000 business analyst positions.
“Business analysis involves understanding how organizations function to accomplish their purposes and defining the capabilities an organization requires to provide products and services to external stakeholders.” – the BABOK® Guide
Business analysts want to understand the organization as a whole and begin imagining how it could be in the future. They find ways to make a business better and provide a view that no one else sees. That gives them a ton of value in the workforce. Some of the skills that are now required of a business analyst show that they may be able to help an organization without the need for a data scientist. Skills such as SQL and Microsoft access and analytics tools like Google Analytics, Coremetrics, or Omniture. They’ll also need to be able to use Quickbooks and financial reporting systems as they work with the accounting department and any research tools they may need to take a deep dive into competitor’s performance.
Most companies can’t afford and/or don’t know how to use data scientists. They’ll look for their business insights with the help of business analysts, who are more plentiful and, on average, have significantly lower salaries. They’ll even use “citizen data scientists,” those power users of their BI and analytics platforms.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 19% for business analysts between 2014 and 2024. This should lead to a predicted 495,500 jobs, which is significantly faster growth than most positions and industries are seeing in the United States. This data suggests there is a strong need and there are opportunities for business analysts looking to advance their careers.
Are BAs the Next Big Thing?
Business analysts might just become the next data scientist, as many experts and organizations believe that’s the evolution of this position. They already have the insight of working on both the business side of the business as well as the technical side. Understanding both gives this position a great advantage, and adding in the data side would only further that advantage. There are many programs, training and certifications available to assist a business analyst in transitioning to the data scientist world. It just takes some simple steps, such as becoming knowledgeable in algorithms and the usage of Hive.
The Business Analyst is even more important to analytical insight. They are able to handle administration of a BI platform without the need for code. A business analyst can better understand their work and product through our self-service and purpose-built embedded BI. Reach out to us if you’d like to learn more!