Skip to main content

Data Scientist vs. Data Analyst: What’s the Difference?

By The Fullstack Academy Team

Woman working at laptop with paper

When you’re interested in launching your tech career, it’s important to consider the many fields you can choose from and how your skills can help you find a career you’ll love.

At Fullstack Academy, you can start learning the in-demand skills you need to become a software engineer, a cybersecurity professional, or a data analyst.

If you’re interested in storytelling through data and enjoy using the analytical part of your brain, a career as a data analyst or data scientist might be right for you.

You also might be wondering what the difference is between a data analyst and a data scientist. Both roles analyze and gather large datasets, but their skills and responsibilities differ immensely.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data scientist and analyst jobs are expected to grow 31% from 2018 to 2028 (not to mention it’s one of the fastest-growing fields), making now an exciting time to learn more about each role so you can find the career path that’s right for you.

Below, we’ll go over:

  • What’s a Data Scientist?
  • What’s a Data Analyst?
  • Job Descriptions and Responsibilities
  • How to Launch a Career as a Data Scientist or Data Analyst

What’s a Data Scientist?

A Data Scientist uses software engineering skills, math, and trend-spotting to solve complex business problems. Data Scientists often have a physical or social science background and are fascinated by experimentation and research.

Data Scientist Job Description

When you’re hired as a Data Scientist, you will likely be joining a team of Data Scientists and Data Engineers.

As a member of the team, you will have the chance to interact with key business stakeholders and leadership to define opportunities and accelerate the delivery of a robust portfolio of Data Science models.

Your primary goal will be to help extract insights and unlock value from data through the rigorous application of statistical and Machine Learning methods.

You will also be responsible for communicating findings across all levels and collaborating with engineers to build and maintain reliable data pipelines. You will be responsible for writing code and interacting with your employer’s technology stack to build and maintain a production-level data ecosystem that tackles challenging large-scale data problems.

Data Scientist Responsibilities

If you’re wondering what the day-to-day looks like for a Data Scientist, their primary responsibilities are:

  • Asking questions and seeking to solve business problems
  • Acquiring data
  • Data cleaning and data transformation (especially keeping an eye out for misspelled attributes, missing and duplicate values, and inconsistent data types)
  • Data modeling
  • Training and testing data models on the dataset to decide which model will work best for the business problem
  • Communicating and visualizing data
  • Deploying and maintaining the model

How to Become a Data Scientist

To launch a career as a data scientist, it’s more likely that you’ll need an advanced degree to succeed. Many jobs required a Master’s degree or even a Ph.D., so it’s important to decide whether or not you’re able to commit to attaining that level of education before you get started in the field.

If you need a bit more flexibility and want to launch your data science career in a few months rather than years, a data science bootcamp might be a better fit for you. Ultimately, it comes down to what education type and format will help you best reach your career goals.

What’s a Data Analyst?

Data Analysts also use data to solve business problems. They use complex information to reach conclusions and collect and report on data, but they also have a unique opportunity to use creative and analytical skills in their work.

You can start by looking at our guide that looks at what a data analyst does to help you get a better sense of the job’s day-to-day responsibilities, what salary you can expect, and how to get started.

Data Analyst Job Description

Are you fascinated by human behavior? Do you have an innate need to understand and influence how people act? Do you naturally look for the soul hidden in the numbers? Can you build a story that non-analytical minds can grasp and rally behind? Do you enjoy working with partners across the company to deliver on customer needs?

If so, a career as a Data Analyst might be a perfect fit for you. Data is central to every business decision-making process, and analysts are an essential component to promote data-driven decision-making.

As a data analyst, you will shape the way product performance is measured, define what questions should be asked, and scale analytics methods and tools to support your team.

Data Analyst Responsibilities

If you’re wondering what the day-to-day looks like for a Data Analyst, we’ve outlined some of the core responsibilities below:

  • Use business intelligence ("BI") and analytics tools (and sometimes setting them up)
  • Collect raw data, finding patterns in it, then using the patterns to find insights for your business
  • Create visualizations of the data
  • Create reports using those visualizations
  • Develop key performance indicators
  • Collaborate well with a team
  • Streamline data collection
  • Train others in the data-collection system

Analysts are also proficient with Excel, Tableau, Python, and SQL. The Fullstack Academy Data Analytics curriculum will ensure you’re able to use these tools and languages to communicate your data findings effectively.

How to Become a Data Analyst

If you’re interested in becoming a Data Analyst, you can opt for a traditional degree program or a data analytics bootcamp like the one offered at Fullstack Academy.

A career as a Data Analyst is perfect for someone who’s starting at the beginner level, and some jobs only require a year or two of experience, so it can be a great choice if you’re making a career transition and don’t have a lot of experience in the field.

No matter which education path you choose, earning industry certifications is another way you can stand out to employers when you’re entering the job market. We recommend studying for the Tableau certification and the AWS certification to get started.

Want to learn more about the field of Data Analytics? Join us for an upcoming event to get a sense of what to expect in the classroom, how a Fullstack education sets you up for success, and more.

Considering a career in data analytics?

Learn more about our full-time and part-time data analytics bootcamps.