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If you enjoy working with numbers, analyzing, and solving problems, a career as a data analyst or a financial analyst could be perfect for you. What are the differences between the two, and how should you choose which one to aim for? Read on to find out.
What does a financial analyst do?
Financial analysts use data to identify trends. From this analysis, they predict what is likely to happen in the future, assisting clients and employers to decide how best to invest their money. Businesses depend on financial analysts to establish when it is a good time to purchase or sell securities. At times, such businesses use financial analysis reports to decide whether or not they should sell the whole company.
What does a data analyst do?
Data analysts carry out a similar role to that of the financial analyst. The main difference is that while data analysts may examine data that is linked to investing decisions, they may also examine data for other reasons and ends. A data analyst may, for example, analyze numbers that are linked to sales figures, advertising efficiency, costs of transportation, or wages vs. productivity. In short, any numerical data that affects businesses and their choices could be within the realm of a data analyst’s role. Their counterparts, however, are limited to data that is related to investments.
Financial analyst requirements
Financial analysts have the ability to look at the “bigger picture” when working. They evaluate financial decisions according to market trends at the time, predefined company objectives, and likely investments of businesses, while also looking at financial data and predictions.
To secure a role as a financial analyst, you should have a degree in finance. However, if you have a degree in mathematics or economics, this should also be enough. To enhance your chances of getting a job in your favorite company, you could also complete an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration).
Data analyst requirements
Data analysts focus more narrowly in their roles, and need a great eye for detail. They gather data and analyze it to identify trends and collect information in order to help businesses make decisions. We are living in an era where technology and information are both key to progression. Businesses depend on data analysists to advise them on matters such as which individuals and groups to target, which services and products to concentrate on, etc. Furthermore, the role of a data analyst isn’t industry specific—they’re needed everywhere.
Aspiring data analysts should be interested in numbers and quantitative data. It’s also important that they are good communicators, as they will need to deal with senior members of different businesses. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, preferably in statistics or a related subject. Additionally, a graduate certificate in data analytics will make you much more likely to secure a top position.
The roles of both financial analyst and data analyst are fascinating, rewarding, and potentially, highly paid. Both are also in demand in our progressing technological and information-driven era. Whichever you decide to go for will depend on your interests and education.