What is a systems analyst?

What is a systems analyst’s job like?

Simply, the job of a systems analyst is to figure out how to use computers and other technology to get things done. They will tell businesses and other organizations which computers and software to buy, and decide how best to get those tools to work together.

Computer systems analysts start their work by asking people what they need their computers to do. Then they plan a computer system that can do those tasks well. Such a system can include many computers working together and different types of software and other tools.

After analysts understand what the system needs to do, they break down the task into small steps. They draw diagrams and charts to show how information will get into the computers, how that information will be processed, and how it will get to the people who need it. For example, analysts might decide how sales information will get into a store’s computers and how the computer will add up the information in a way that makes it useful for store managers.

Analysts experiment with different computer system plans. They try various tools and steps until they find the system that is fastest, easiest, and costs the least.

Next, analysts decide which computers, software, and tools to buy. They also tell computer programmers how to make any new software that is needed. They give the programmers step-by-step instructions. Some analysts will also help make the software.

The main job for systems analysts is getting computers to work together. Analysts decide how to get information from one computer to another. Many help people get data from the Internet.

After planning a system, analysts test it to make sure it works. They check to make sure that information is processed quickly and without mistakes. They also watch to see if the system is easy to use. Often, they have to change plans to improve their systems better.

Computer systems analysts work in offices or computer labs. They may work very long hours to get a project done on time and under budget. Analysts usually work as part of a team.

How do you prepare to become a systems analyst?

Many computer systems analysts have college degrees in such areas as computer science, information science, or management information systems. Some analysts will get college degrees in other subjects and take additional computer classes to get computer experience.

Analysts need to understand computers, math, and planning. They need to know math so that they can solve problems and figure out how much computer power different systems would use.

Logical thinking skills are also important, as well as good speaking and writing skills, so that they can explain their systems and give good instructions.

How much does this job pay?

Currently the average salary for a computer systems analyst is about $USD78,000.

How many jobs are there?

There are about 550,000 computer systems analysts in the United States. Many work for computer consulting companies. Others are self-employed. They often move from place to place working on different projects.

Analysts also work for governments, universities, Internet companies, and financial institutions.

What about the future?

The number of computer systems analysts is expected to grow faster than that of other professions on average up until at least 2018.

People with proper training should have good job prospects. Those who have college degrees in business and courses related to computers also should be able to find jobs in this field.

New jobs are expected as more companies try to use computers to improve their businesses. New Internet and wireless technologies are also expected to create more jobs.

Are there other jobs like this?

These kinds of workers solve related computer problems:

  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Computer programmers
  • Computer software engineers

These kinds of workers develop plans and solve business problems:

  • Electrical engineers
  • Financial analysts
  • Management analysts
  • Mathematicians
  • Operations research analysts
  • Statisticians

Where can you find more information about this job?

More information about computer systems analysts may be found here and here.

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