Systems analysts help businesses to increase their output and enhance their profitability by improving their I.T. systems and applications. These technical consultants assess existing I.T. solutions, analyse their functionality, efficiency and productivity, and then help organisations design, develop and implement new technical solutions.
Successful systems analysts have a fantastic mix of technical knowledge and business acumen. In this digital age, effective I.T. solutions help businesses thrive in a competitive marketplace. Consequently, systems analysts are worth their weight in gold.
Systems analysts must have the ability to locate technical problems and identify potential solutions. Finally, they must have the capability to design a technical workflow (alongside a technical team) which is best suited for their client. This could be anything from an improved user interface on a company’s intranet to a financial database system that will enhance the trading process.
These guys have a diverse range of duties on both the technical side of things and the business side of things. For instance, at one point, a systems analyst might be building relationships with their client, understanding and gathering business requirements, analysing the benefits of the proposed solution and then dissecting project briefs. The next moment, they might be working with a team of developers, conducting feasibility studies and directing technical testing procedures.
Furthermore, systems analysts are responsible for drafting detailed plans, writing reports and designing technical specifications. Finally, this lot also have to keep an eye on the finances of a project and take budget constraints into consideration.
Salary & benefits
Systems analysts in the early stages of their careers can earn between £20,000 and £28,000, while senior professionals can eventually earn up to £80,000 and beyond.
Many systems analysts eventually choose to become independent contractors, where they’re likely to earn between £300 and £550 per day.
Systems analysts in permanent roles tend to work between 35 and 40 hours a week on a nine-to-five basis, though you may be required to work some evenings and weekends in order to meet project deadlines.
Senior systems analysts who work as contractors are more likely to work extra hours to meet tight deadlines and achieve project targets.
The working environment itself is often office-based, but now and then you may be required to travel to different office locations during the requirements gathering process.
The I.T. and telecommunications industry is incredibly competitive and systems analyst jobs are no exception. Consequently, it’s usually essential for entry-level candidates to obtain a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
Obtaining a degree (2:1 minimum) in computer science, software engineering, maths, physics or business studies is highly recommended. Some universities now even offer degrees in Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB).
It’s also a good idea to gain some hands-on technical work experience through internships or placement schemes. You could even develop your technical skills at home in your spare time –many I.T. technicians now improve their skills using internet tutorials and I.T. books.
Training & progression
For the most part, systems analysts will develop their skills ‘on-the-job’ under the supervision of senior colleagues and through in-house training sessions. Organisations such as the Chartered Institute for I.T. also offer training courses and professional qualifications for systems analysts that are keen to keep their skills fresh.
Working in I.T. is a constant learning process and, in order to be successful, you will need to keep on top of industry developments and teach yourself new skills all the time.
Opportunities for career progression are plentiful. You’ll have the marvellous option of moving into either a more technically-focused role or focusing your efforts on the business side of things. Many systems analysts become business analysts and project managers. You might eventually even become a technical programme manager or an I.T. director.
As mentioned above, many systems analysts become independent contractors, providing them with a great opportunity to boost their earning potential.