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Business Analyst vs. Software Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A business analyst and software engineer are both important roles in the tech industry. They share some similarities, but there are also several key differences between the two. If you’re interested in a career in tech, understanding the difference between these two positions can help you decide which one is right for you. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between a business analyst and software engineer, and we provide tips for choosing a career in tech.

What is a Business Analyst?

Business Analysts are responsible for identifying and documenting the business needs of their company or client. They work with stakeholders to understand the goals of a project and then create a plan to achieve those goals. This plan includes a timeline, budget and resources needed. Business Analysts also create process flowcharts and diagrams to visually represent data and information. They may also be responsible for training users on new systems or software. Business Analysts typically have a background in business administration or management.

What is a Software Engineer?

Software Engineers design, develop, test and maintain software applications. They work in a variety of industries, including computer systems design, manufacturing, finance and information technology. Software Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They use their knowledge of programming languages and software development tools to write code, debug programs and create software applications. Software Engineers also use their skills to solve complex technical problems. They typically work in teams with other engineers and developers to create software products.

Business Analyst vs. Software Engineer

Here are the main differences between a business analyst and a software engineer.

Job Duties

Both job roles have duties that involve researching a company’s needs and creating software solutions to fulfill those needs. However, the duties that fall under these categories may differ between business analysts and software engineers. For example, a business analyst might research a company’s needs in terms of processes and then develop strategies for improving those processes. A software engineer might instead focus on understanding a product’s technical requirements and designing software to meet those requirements.

Job Requirements

Business analysts and software engineers both need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter their respective fields. However, business analysts typically study business administration, economics or another business-related field, while software engineers study computer science or a related discipline.

In addition to their educational requirements, business analysts and software engineers also need different skillsets. Business analysts must be able to analyze data and solve problems, while software engineers must be able to design and develop software applications. Because of their different skill sets, business analysts and software engineers often specialize in different areas of the business world. Business analysts might work in marketing or sales, while software engineers might work in information technology or product development.

Work Environment

Business analysts typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients and observe their operations. Software engineers usually work in a computer lab or office environment, but they may also travel to attend conferences or visit clients. Business analysts often work regular business hours, while software engineers may work overtime to complete projects on time.


Both business analysts and software engineers use analytical skills to assess a company’s needs and determine how best to address them. They also both need to be excellent communicators, as they often have to explain their findings and recommendations to clients or colleagues who may not have the same technical background.

Business analysts typically need more soft skills than software engineers. This is because they often have to interact directly with clients to understand their needs and develop relationships. They also may need project management skills to help plan and oversee the implementation of new systems.

Software engineers need strong technical skills to design, develop and test new software applications. They also need to be able to work well in a team environment, as most software projects require collaboration among multiple engineers.


Business analysts can earn an average salary of $80,401 per year, while software engineers can earn an average salary of $106,619 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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