Are you one of those aspiring students or young professionals who can deal with analytical & numbers greatly? Are you an expert in solving the problem and want to make a career as a data analyst or a financial analyst? If yes, then this guide is certainly made for you. Here, you will get great information about both these fields in an efficient manner.

If we talk about the financial analysts, they can be defined as those experts who utilize financial data for identifying trends and manipulate them in the future that assists their clients and employers for making the best decisions related to the investments. The financial analysts have a greater responsibility in businesses where they find out the best time for buying or selling particular securities. Furthermore, the reports are put together by the financial analysts in companies in some cases for determining if the complete organization can be sold.

A similar type of role is played by the data analysts, but there is a distinction between the two as they may have to analyze data that doesn’t have any relation to the investment. For instance, there can be a chance where a data analyst has to study some data that has relation to the advertising efficacy, sales numbers, wages versus productivity or transportation costs.

All the parts of numerical data can be utilized for developing a business decision that has the potential for the previewing the job of a data analyst. It is evident that they don’t target the financial markets completely because data analysts who are their counterparts in the financial analyst industry have to remain updated with the knowledge on the investment approach. It is pretty common that maintaining and using the needed data in this job demands developing a background of information technology, top-notch computer skills or industry knowledge related to the field, which is an added benefit for a smart data analyst.

You can see that there is a lot of similarity between the two fields when it comes to income potential, the balance between work/ life, education & skills, and job market’s competitiveness. However, the main difference is the personality type and set of skills needed for determining whether one suit for a career in the field of data analyst or a financial analyst.

Education Needed

Both these careers don’t demand any kind of tough and fast board education from the candidates. You don’t have to pass an exam, such as medical boards, and bar exams for starting your practice legally in the industry. The candidates are free to set their own requirements as per the new hires in these fields. However, it is important to keep one thing in mind that the tougher standards set in your local area, there is a chances that the job market will be more competitive for the data analysts and financial analysts.

The majority of new hires generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in both these professions. However, a master’s degree has the capability to set better standards with every passing year. When it comes to selecting best college majors for a post of financial analysts, then it can simply be defined as the statistics, finance, and economics. The majority of bigger companies seek any of these three majors when they hire a financial analyst. In order to enhance the chances and adds a bonus, these majors look perfect along with an MBA program, especially when they are blended with the rich work experience and a competitive GPA.

Having a degree in statistics is the best method to begin for the aspiring data analysts. If you are one of them and want to make your chances even better, then adding computer information systems or any modern technology offered by the top schools. While looking for a data analyst, the companies generally look for a complete blend of computer literate and acumen who can do much than just putting input into Excel. Please keep in mind that a bachelor’s degree isn’t a necessity, but a de facto need for this post. Furthermore, your value in the job market increases much more with a master’s degree.

Skills Requirement

Generally, the data analysts and financial analysts’ needs to be perfect problem solvers and complete aware of the techniques for utilizing the logic. Additionally, they should have solid quantitative analysis skills and in-depth information about the different investment products as well as financial markets. When it comes to data analysts, it is an added benefit to have up to date computer skills along with having a detailed understanding of some general programming languages.

However, you will have an edge with the solid leadership ability, teamwork, and people skills for both these careers. There is a great amount of financial and data analysis performed in the teams and analysts have to report their findings to different departments within the organization in a crystal clear and concise way.


There is a similar type of salary generate by the entry-level financial analysts and data analysts that are more than the median level income made in the United States. However, their pay is less than the salaries that are earned at the large corporate law companies and investment banks.

As per the Robert Half Salary Guide 2016, the yearly income for an entry-level financial analyst ranges from US$ 47,500 to US$ 65,000 that purely depend on the size of the organization. The majority of financial analysts can have earnings as straight salaries along with the bonuses are added that also calculated as per the profitability of the organization. You should keep in mind that it isn’t a sales job where one can have income according to the individual performance.

On the other hand, an entry-level data analyst generally made income between US$ 50,000 and US$ 62,000 as per the report by Robert Half. You can check that there is no difference between the earnings of a data analyst and a financial analyst at all.

Job Overview

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a job growth of 11% projected in the financial analyst industry. However, this institution also said that the amount of competition will be increased for the financial analyst jobs along with the growth in employment. There are chances that new positions will be created with a growth in financial services. However, there is a long way to go when the number of people in this field will be more than the jobs in this industry. The prospect of an applicant can become better with certifications and graduation.

The latest forecast for the data analyst position isn’t issued by the BLS, but there is a growth of 10% expected between 2016 & 2026 in this job market as stated by the financial specialists. It is much more than 6% growth expected across various occupations in the American market. We can simply say that there will be a great demand of quantitatively inclined professionals in the near future. All you need to have is detailed information about the big pools of data and the technique for utilizing it for drawing inferences and developing forecasts.

Which one should be selected?

There is a perfect career one can have in both these fields as the potential of income is quite strong and the working hour averages 40 to 45 that isn’t so oppressive. Additionally, the job market is at its prime for having growth. There is the least amount of distinctions between the two jobs, but the biggest difference between their duties s that the financial analyst needs to have much more information about the financial markets.

Financial analysis is the best career to choose if you have a great interest in investment and want to stay on the Wall Street, but want to stay away from the investment banking & trading environment. On the other side of the coin, the people who love to work with numbers along with enjoying technology & computers, then you should choose the data analyst field.