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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Chiodo

So, what’s the difference between these data roles?

With the data world constantly changing, there can be some confusion around what responsibilities fall under each role. This post intends to break down the skill sets and responsibilities of data analysts, analytics engineers, and data engineers.

An empty venn diagram for the three data roles

A data analyst is primarily responsible for collecting and analyzing data to extract insights and inform business decisions. They use tools and techniques such as data visualization, statistical analysis, and machine learning to make sense of large and complex data sets. Their primary goal is to turn raw data into actionable insights that drive business value.


An analytics engineer, on the other hand, focuses on designing and building data pipelines and workflows that support the data analysis process. They work closely with data analysts to understand their needs and create systems that allow for efficient and accurate data collection, processing, and analysis. Analytics engineers are responsible for ensuring that data is available, accessible, and usable by the data analysis team.


Finally, a data engineer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the data analysis and analytics engineering functions. This includes managing databases, data warehouses, and data pipelines, as well as ensuring that data is secure and compliant with regulatory requirements. Data engineers are often responsible for creating and maintaining the underlying technology infrastructure that enables data analysis to take place.

 

The decision to hire a data analyst, data engineer, or analytics engineer for your data team depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of your data, the specific business problems you are trying to solve, and the skills and resources you have available in-house. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine which role(s) you need to hire for:


Data Analyst: If you have large and complex data sets that require advanced statistical analysis and data visualization to gain insights and inform business decisions, then you may need a data analyst on your team. Data analysts are skilled at collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities that can help you optimize your business operations.


Analytics Engineer: If you have a well-established data analysis function but are struggling to manage the infrastructure and workflows required to support it, then you may need an analytics engineer on your team. Analytics engineers are responsible for designing and building the data pipelines, workflows, and tools required to support the data analysis function. They work closely with data analysts to ensure that data is accessible, usable, and secure.


Data Engineer: If you have large and complex data sets that require sophisticated data infrastructure and management, then you may need a data engineer on your team. Data engineers are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the databases, data warehouses, and other data infrastructure required to support the data analysis function. They ensure that data is organized, accessible, and secure, and that it can be used by data analysts and analytics engineers to drive business value.


Are you struggling to determine what role you need at your organization? It is important to carefully evaluate your data needs and identify the roles and skills required to meet them. Ultimately, the decision to hire a data analyst, data engineer, or analytics engineer depends on your specific business needs and the resources you have available. As always, contact us and see how we can help!


Katherine Chiodo

Technical Writer and Data Operations


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