Being a Computer Systems Analyst offers great career opportunities and their demand is constantly on the increase.
There are specific types of systems analysts, such as systems designers or system architects. However, all work with the aim of maintaining and improving a companies computer system.
Systems analysts will work to keep computer systems up to date and make sure they are functioning at their most effective. They examine hardware and software and will advise on potential upgrades and improvements. Occasionally, system analysts will even design new programs to meet specific needs. These bespoke programs are built with the aim of optimizing a process specific to a particular company. They are designed to work better for the particular company than an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution.
Occasionally, system analysts will even design new programs to meet specific needs. These bespoke programs are built with the aim of optimizing a process specific to a particular company. They are designed to work better for the particular company than an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution.
Systems Analysts will also be responsible for creating precise cost estimates and project outlines for these upgrades or redesigns. Once they have completed their analysis and proposals, upper levels will decide whether to proceed with the enhancements to the computer systems.
Systems analysts are quite similar to business analysts but focus solely on the computer operations of a company. An analytical nature and the ability to see the bigger picture are musts for this particular career.
Education & Training
Most systems analysts entering the workforce have completed a bachelor’s degree in a computer science discipline. However, many systems analysts have a degree in another discipline and make the transition through taking computer courses and gaining experience.
Due to the business and budgeting nature of the role, people with degrees in business and finance find the transition easier than most. Their combination also allows them to better understand the requirements for effective business operations and justifying the expense on improvements.
A keen attention to detail, strong math, and computer skills are all essential to succeed in this role. As is the ability to think logically. Having to present your findings and suggestions for improvement, also means that excellent communication skills are required and the ability to simplify your findings to non-techs.
If you are looking to achieve a degree in computer science, nearly all universities and colleges will offer an option. These will be full-time, part-time, or online learning. Many systems analysts educate to Masters Level too, specializing in a specific area.
If you’re looking for specific online learning options, then the following are some options to consider.
- Computer Architecture – Princeton University
- Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS) – University of Illinois
- Business Analytics – Wharton University of Pennsylvania
- Cloud Computing – University of Illinois
- High-Performance Scientific Computing – University of Washington
- Cyber Security – University of Maryland
- Executive Data Science Specialization – John Hopkins University
The duties and responsibilities of a systems analyst depend upon the level of experience of the analyst and the specific company’s requirements. However, common duties include:
- Analyzing existing IT systems and business models
- Identifying systems requirements
- Product development
- Design, Implement, configure and test solutions
- Map and Document legacy and new systems
- Translate client requirements into specific project briefs
- Identify potential solutions, assessing both technical and business suitability
- Conduct requirements analysis
- Prepare proposals for modified or updated systems
- Developing solutions
- Produce costings report’s
- Present proposals
- Working with developers, testers and a variety of end users to ensure technical compatibility and usability
- Create testing documentation
- Oversee data migration
- Help with change management
- Organize training on new systems
As mentioned previously, a number of jobs can fall under the category of systems analysts. A person will start at a junior level, analyzing how a system works, fixing any bugs and helping senior analysts to design and implement systems.
System designers will focus solely on designing new and improved systems that will work seamlessly within a company. People that focus on design can get a lot of contract work, coming on board to provide solutions to clients that are facing specific system problems.
System or computer architects are in charge of all systems running within a company and orchestrate the people working within them. They are in charge of designing and overseeing the installation and modification of entire computer networks. Many system analysts aim to angle their careers to this point.
As a system analyst progresses through their career, they may choose to specialize. For example, there is a huge increase in the demand for Information Security Analysts. As the world becomes more connected, the chances of a potential breach are heightened greatly. An Information security analyst will study a company’s system, identify any vulnerabilities and make suggestions for improvements.
In 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary of a systems analyst was $85,800, whilst computer network architects averaged $100,240. The need for systems architects is expected to rise by a massive 20% between the period of 2014 – 2022.