Systems analysts are the investigators of the digital realm. They study computer systems and work closely with an organization's executives and technology team to find better ways to use computer technology effectively and efficiently. Through their work, systems analysts develop new computer systems and improve current systems. This includes analyzing the costs and benefits of purchasing new hardware and software and the time necessary to train staff on how to use it. This role is sometimes called a business analyst if the system programming is done by others on the team.
Systems analysts may work for one company — usually large corporations, governments or small startups — or they may consult with several clients.
- Determine IT infrastructure issues and needs
- Improve existing systems
- Research and evaluate new technologies
- Analyze costs and benefits
- Plan IT infrastructure from the ground up
- Evaluate and select hardware and software solutions
- Plan and oversee installation of new systems
- Test systems
- Train users
- Write instruction manuals
Some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology (IT). However, employers also accept candidates who have an unrelated degree or no degree if the candidate has completed computer-related coursework or earned certificates in specific areas. Most systems analysts continue their education through on-the-job experience and continuing education seminars. Some go on to earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or computer science to give themselves a competitive edge.
- Have excellent listening skills
- Have strong verbal communication skills
- Have knack for finding innovative solutions to computer problems
- Demonstrate proficiency in programming languages
- Can analyze both business and technical demands from a company perspective