It’s one of those jobs that ‘does what it says on the tin’ – a systems analyst is someone who analyses an operation or process with the intention of improving efficiency – in particular, by applying a computer system.
You’ll be using computers and systems to adapt and enhance a company’s existing systems as well as designing new IT solutions – you may need to make improvements and integrate new features with the intention of improving productivity and business efficiency.
What skills and qualifications will I need?
A degree in computer science, information technology, maths, business studies, science based studies or engineering all offer pathways into this kind of career. You could also investigate studying for an ITMB degree (Information Technology Management for Business).
You will be using a range of computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools and programming methods. Common programs include – SQL, Oracle, Sequel, Visual Basic, C++ and Java, UML, SAP business software applications, Web-based technologies.
You’ll need to be well qualified and have technical expertise – as well as having an understanding and insight into what the individual company needs.
The following attributes will be essential -
· Solution focused
· Good communicator with good interpersonal skills
· Good presentation skills
· Team player
· Fast learner
· Business aware
· Methodical and investigative
There is likely to be a range of requirements depending on the kind of company you work for – from producing reports for internal departments to developing new software for external clients.
What else do I need to know?
Your day to day role will involve reporting to internal departments and liaising with them about their requirements, project planning and development, testing and going ‘live’ with systems - you will also need to consider future proofing them, so they are flexible and adaptable as a company grows.
The job could involve carrying out a variety of projects from:
o Examining an existing IT system
o Translating a client’s requirements into detailed project briefs
o Analysing systems requirements
o New product development
o Implementing and testing feasible solutions
o Providing training and instruction manuals for new systems to employees
The role can vary tremendously depending on the specific job description and size of the company, so you will need to look carefully at the individual job specification and be able to adapt to different programming languages. Moving between companies will give you experience in different areas and of different programming requirements; if the company is large enough, moving roles within the organisation can be a way to increase your knowledge and broaden your skill set.
You will need to be able to work flexibly as ideas and requirements change, but also keep to deadlines. There may be a degree of training and support required for new systems.
Most roles are office based, however there is more and more flexibility as the work is computer based. The job is generally 9-5pm with weekend and evening work required sometimes to see a project through or to monitor testing.
Some project work could be based in the client’s offices so there may be additional necessary travel on occasions.
The choice of employer is vast – from a large company within the IT industry, to a small/medium sized enterprise (SME), management consultancy, software house, retail chain, bank and investment company to a utility company. Look at the range on offer and see where you feel you would like to work. There are also opportunities to work abroad or with an international organisation.
1. Keep up to date with technical and industry developments.
2. Apply for roles during the Autumn term of your final year.
3. Acquire good business skills alongside your technical knowledge and you could move to roles within strategic business development which may have higher salaries.
4. You may be able to set up your own consultancy when you have gained the relevant experience, or work as a contractor.
Where can I get more information?
Here: (IAP) Institution of Analysts and Programmers for software professionals http://www.iap.org.uk and here: at The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) http://www.bcs.org to find guidance and information to plan your personal development.