Data Analyst vs Data Engineer: What’s the Difference?

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Data analysts and data engineers play very different roles in the workplace. Despite these terms being used interchangeably, even by those in the tech industry, each position has a particular set of responsibilities. 

Today’s world is entirely dependent on data. Without data analysts and data engineers, our entire infrastructure would be unable to continue. Data analysts and data engineers provide much-needed services to society, though in different ways.

If you’re looking for a career in one of these fields but you’re unsure of the differences, then you’re in the right place! We’ll cover the differences between each role, the requirements to become a data analyst or data engineer, and how much you can earn in each position.

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What’s the Difference Between Data Analysts and Data Engineers?

At its core, the difference between data analysts and data engineers is straightforward. Data analysts couldn’t perform their tasks without data engineers first performing theirs. 

A data engineer’s role is to develop, construct, test, optimize, and maintain systems that gather data. Most data engineers are proficient in programming languages such as SQL, SAS, Java, and Python. They use these tools to create and maintain the systems needed to gather, store and analyze data.

Data analysts then use the systems created by data engineers to analyze the data. A data analyst will convert numerical data into a more understandable format and rely on the information they gather to help businesses and companies make crucial decisions. Knowledge of Microsoft Excel, SPSS, SSAS, and SAS Miner is essential for this position.

All About Data Analysts

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Data analysts are a vital part of every business and company. They’re the ones who sift through all the numerical data gathered by data engineers and convert them into a more understandable format. 

Once the data has been converted, a data analyst will review and analyze the information to find trends and other relevant information. Businesses and companies rely significantly on data analysts to pinpoint trends and communicate that information to them so they can then make data-based decisions.

What Does A Data Analyst Do?

Data analysts have a lot of responsibilities. At its simplest, data analysts are entrusted with sorting through information gathered by data engineers, converting the data into a readable format, locating trends, and communicating that information to business and company owners so they can make data-based decisions.

The following are some typical responsibilities of data analysts:

– Implement and maintain databases

– Analyze data using statistical techniques

– Perform data mining, data visualization, and exploratory data analysis

– Identify, analyze, and interpret trends gathered from the data

– Give data-driven recommendations

– Collaborate with data scientists and data engineers to turn data into actionable insights

– Prepare reports for executive leadership that effectively communicates trends, predictions, and patterns using relevant data

A data analyst’s responsibilities could encompass far more than this, but they could also be slightly less than this. Much of what a data analyst is expected to do depends on the size of the company or business they’re working for, and how many other employees share these responsibilities whether they’re entry-level or senior analysts. 

What Skills Does A Data Analyst Need?

Data analysts are in a unique role because they need practical communication skills as well as technical skills. Solid communication skills will allow data analysts to more efficiently prepare reports for their business or company and communicate their recommendations based on the analyzed data. 

Technical skills are critical for a data analyst to have. A data analyst should have a solid knowledge of programming languages like SQL or Python. They also need strong skills in spreadsheet tools such as  Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Skills in data visualization software, mathematics, and statistics are also a necessity for this position. 

What Are The Requirements To Be A Data Analyst?

The requirements to be hired as a data analyst may vary depending on the business or company. In general, you’ll need to have a strong mastery of the skill sets mentioned above, and you’ll most likely need proof of training.

For some, that may mean a college degree in computer science, statistics, or information systems. Others may pursue alternative programs, such as data analysis or data science bootcamps, to get the knowledge necessary to gain an entry-level position.

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How Much Are Data Analysts Paid?

Salaries for data analysts are pretty competitive. Data analyst jobs are projected to grow by 23% over the next ten years, which is a faster-than-average growth for that field. The median annual salary for this position in 2021 was $82,360, or $39.59 per hour. 

Keep in mind that $82,360 is just an average figure. The salary for a data analyst can range between $60,000 and $138,000. 

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All About Data Engineers

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Data engineers have a very different set of responsibilities than data analysts. A data engineer must construct, develop, optimize, test, and maintain systems that gather information. Their role is to extract data, transform it, and load it onto servers where it’s accessible by experts. This is often known as the ETL (extract, transform, and load) process. 

What Does A Data Engineer Do?

The responsibilities of a data engineer can vary depending on who they’re employed by, but the work most data engineers do can fall into one of three categories; generalist data engineers, pipeline data engineers, and database data engineers. 

Regardless of which category your work falls into, there are some common responsibilities data engineers are expected to take on:

– Develop, construct, optimize, test, and maintain data pipelines

– Ensure the architecture of the data pipeline is in alignment with the business’s requirements

– Gather data from multiple sources and organize it in one place

– Write automation scripts to handle repetitive tasks

– Work with data scientists and data analysts to get the most out of the data acquired

– Identify ways to improve data quality, efficiency, and reliability

This isn’t the full scope of the responsibilities a data engineer may be expected to take on. Still, it is a basic overview of the types of things they do.

What Skills Does A Data Engineer Need?

Data engineers need a lot of technical skills. They also need communication and leadership skills if they wish to grow to a senior role, where they’ll be expected to lead a team of other data engineers. 

Some of the skills a data engineer needs to master are coding, data warehousing, knowledge of operating systems and database systems, critical thinking skills, and a basic understanding of machine learning.

What Are The Requirements To Be A Data Engineer?

Given the importance of technical knowledge for a data engineer, getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software development, information systems, or another related field is recommended. 

You also need to have a strong understanding of programming languages, so a coding bootcamp might be an excellent option to help you get up to speed. Data engineers also need a strong knowledge of relational database management systems and how to design and manage them.

How Much Are Data Engineers Paid?

The career prospects for data engineers are very positive. As technology continues to advance, the need for data engineers should increase. Most data engineers make $93, 715 per year. However, the salary for this position has a pretty wide range of $66,000-$170,000 annually.

Do Data Analysts and Data Engineers Work Together?

Data analysts and data engineers often collaborate in the workplace. Both are essential roles in maintaining and expanding business operations and often communicate their findings with each other. A data engineer will work with a data analyst to ensure the information they provide is properly accessible and interpretable.

Are There Good Job Prospects For Data Analysts and Data Engineers?

Data analysts and data engineers have excellent job prospects. Technology is in a rapid state of advancement, and these two roles are necessary for companies to gather necessary data and interpret that data to make significant impactful business decisions. 

Both data analysts and data engineers have been in demand for years, and the demand is expected to increase over the next decade. Small, mid-sized, and large corporations will be looking to fill more roles in these positions in order to keep up with demand and keep their systems compatible in an ever-changing world. 

If you’re looking for a job that offers a reliable career path and offers a comfortable salary, then you should consider becoming a data analyst or data engineer. 

Are you excited to switch gears and pursue a career as a data analyst or data engineer? Visit us at TECH I.S. to learn how we can help!

Become A Data Analyst or Data Engineer With Coding Bootcamp

While many companies want to hire data analysts or data engineers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, that’s not always a necessity. If you have the proper skills to do the job, then even big-name companies like IBM and Google will be willing to hire you. Completing a coding bootcamp can give you the skills necessary to get started in either of these fields, and you’ll be able to grow your career from there steadily.

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