A system analyst is a professional who analyzes, designs, and implements information systems. By doing so, they bridge the gap between IT and business, thereby improving efficiency. They bridge the gap between the technology world and business using data analytics. System analysts are also referred to as business technology analysts.
Systems analysts evaluate the suitability of information systems in terms of what their results are and engage with business leaders, end-users, software vendors, and even programmers to achieve those outcomes. The data they analyze and design help explain how processes, products, services, software, and hardware can be added value. They help in turning business goals into technical requirements.
With very many businesses moving their operations, procession, and communication online, this IT position has grown in popularity and demand. System analysts act as change agents tasked with identifying any organizational improvements necessary, then work to design systems needed to implement those changes and finally train and motivate others to use those systems.
System Analyst Job Description
From the description of who a system analyst is, we know their work is to examine the existing IT systems and write up recommendations and requirements for new ones. here They analyze how the software, hardware, and the general IT system can perfectly meet the business needs of their employer or the client they work for. If new systems are needed, they write the requirements and may even help in the implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of the new systems.
The responsibilities and tasks that a system analyst should expect to undertake include examining current systems, talking to users to gather requirements, producing requirements for new or modified systems when needed, and working with IT staff such as programmers to produce and release new systems. They also help in implementing new systems.
It is also the work of a system analyst to offer user training and feedback. When taking up this job, one should be prepared to move from place to place since most of the work is carried out at clients’ premises.
Here are the roles of a system analyst:
- Maintaining and upgrading the company’s existing systems as required.
- Working together with business analysts, project leads and IT team to diagnose and resolve technical issues.
- Conducting training sessions and workshops to teach other employees about the system processes.
- Regularly reviewing systems and drafting reports on some of the areas that need improvement.
- Identifying and troubleshooting technical issues in the company’s systems.
System Analyst Skills
- Great analytical skills
The core of the work of a system analyst is analyzing data. This helps bridge the gap between IT and the business world, thereby helping in improving efficiency. This is why it is important that a person who takes up this role has strong analytical skills.
- Attention to detail
The devil is in the detail, or so the saying goes. This is crucial for a system analyst as a simple mistake while analyzing data could be detrimental to the whole business. This means that it should be a person who puts care, precision, and a keen eye to their work.
- A great team player
A system analyst works with very many people in his field. These include business owners, software vendors, and even programmers. To be able to make sure that the information systems run smoothly, it will take the effort of all these people as their tasks are all related. Therefore, it is crucial that a system analyst possesses excellent teamwork skills.
- Excellent communication skills
It is of paramount importance that he/she can communicate very well both verbally and in writing. This is because, when dealing with many people in his field to ensure the systems are working well, they will need to be able to express themselves well and clearly. This will also come in handy when training users and collecting feedback.
System analysts also deal with complex stuff and thereby need to explain the same complex ideas in a complex manner in a simple way to be understood.
- Interpersonal skills
System analysts need to be good listeners, speakers and possess questioning skills. These are crucial when handling many people in their field. By being good listeners, they can understand their clients’ needs and curate exactly what they need. The questioning skills help when they need to find specific solutions and answers to improve the systems.
Analysts are often required to work outside the standard working hours and sometimes even overtime. This is to enable them to oversee any upgrades and fixes required with minimal interruption to the business. Therefore, a person applying for this position should brace up for the odd working hours as it is not all roses.
The technology world is constantly changing, and things get outdated with a click of a button. Therefore, a system analyst should change with the changing times to ensure that information system are always up to date for their clients to benefit.
With the constant changes that happen in their field of work, system analysts should be able to adapt quickly to the changes. This helps the business not get stuck in the old way of doing things as they may quickly be pushed out of the market by competition.
A system analyst should be able to write up requirements for a new or modified system whenever necessary. This will take the initiative so that they don’t wait for current systems to get outdated.
Some of the other skills that a system analyst needs to possess are critical thinking ability, problem-solving capacity, project management skills, ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines, as well as knowledge of data modeling and data visualization tools.
System Analyst Salary
The salary of a system analyst will vary depending on a few factors such as where they work, the employer, and even the level of experience. Money is always a good motivation, but patience is key in this industry to build your way to the top. The average base salary of a system analyst in the US, according to PayScale, is $66,342 per year, which is an equivalent of $26.04 per hour.
As already mentioned, experience also affects how much a System analyst earns, and PayScale has broken down the salaries according to the experience level. A system analyst with less than one year of experience earns an average total compensation, which includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay, of $55,869 based on 259 salaries. In contrast, one on their early career with 1-4 years of experience earns an average compensation of $61,383 based on 2140 salaries.
A systems analyst with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $70,526 based on 1,231 salaries. An experienced one with 10-19 years in the industry earns an average total compensation of $77,697 based on 948 salaries. Once they get in their late-career, that is 20 years of experience and above; they earn an average total compensation of $85,496.
Certifications for System Analyst
When it comes to getting a job as a systems analyst, it is important to have a formal qualification. You will be required to have a degree in a technical or IT subject such as Science and Computer Science, or experience from a related role. A degree in Business Administration can also come in handy. Graduates in Art and Humanities with 2.1 degrees should be able to demonstrate their interest in computers and IT. A postgraduate IT conversion course can also come in very handy.
Often, employers will also require people applying for the position of a systems analyst to have high standards in programming aptitude tests. Rarely will you find systems analysts who learnt the job through an apprenticeship, and there is just a handful. It is important, therefore, to get the certification as well as experience.
Tools and Software for System Analyst
There are standard tools and techniques that system analysts use across the board in their field to enable them to have smooth operations. These are:
- Grid Charts
System analysts use grid charts to depict the relationship between two sets of factors in a tabular method. This helps them get rid of unnecessary reports or even unnecessary data items from reports. Using a grid chart, a systems analyst is also able to outline the duties and responsibilities of various managers for a specific sub-system. They are also very efficient and come in handy when tracing the flow of transactions and reports within the organization.
- System Flow Chart
This is a diagrammatical or pictorial representation of how operations and information flow logically within an organization. It is used to illustrate the relationship between the input processes and output with the entire system in mind. There are a set of standard symbols that are used in the construction of system flow charts to ensure consistency.
A simulation model is used by system analysts to break down the operation of the system in terms of individual events and components that make up the entire system. Mainly, the model is developed in a mathematical nature rather than directly describing the behavior of the overall system.
The system is divided into elements, and then probability distributions are used to predict the behavior. The inter-relationships between the elements are then built into the model. Therefore, simulation is used as a means to divide the whole model building job into smaller component parts. These smaller components are then combined in their natural order, and the computer is allowed to present the outcome of their interaction with each other.
Simulation is therefore used as a tool by system analysts to perform sample experiments on the model of the system. By performing the experiments on a model rather than the actual system helps avoid the inconveniences. It would also be quite costly and time-consuming to use the real systems for the experiments.
- Decision tables
These are a graphical way of representing a sequence of logical decisions. They are prepared in a tabular manner. A decision table enables a system analyst to get all possible conditions and the associated set of actions. A decision table comes with four parts. These are condition stubs, condition entries, action stubs, and action entries.
- Decision tree
When making decisions as a system analyst, it is not always an instant thing. Some decisions involve a series of steps whereby the outcome of the first decision guides the second step, and the third decision will rely on the results of the second and so on. In such circumstances, you will find that the decision-making process is surrounded by a lot of uncertainty, and thus a decision tree comes in handy.
They are modeled to deal with such problems and also help solve issues and make decisions in instances where probability is being used. These are situations where there are various options/alternatives, and they need to be drawn up for the final product to be understood.
In addition to these tools, a system analyst should also be able to use different software development tools as they will encounter a lot of those in the field. This will enable them to know when and what to use when upgrading and fixing systems.
The Role of System Analysts in Software Development
System analysts play a huge role in software development, even though they are not always directly involved. This is because they are typically confined to one given or assigned system. However, most of their job description involves things to do with software. Here is a complete breakdown:
- Designing new computer systems and frameworks. They not only maintain and upgrade existing systems as required by their clients but also design new innovates.
- Troubleshooting technical issues with the software or systems. It is the job of a system analyst to ensure that different software and systems are in order.
- They create system guidelines and manuals for the organization. S
- system analysts assist in software selection and monitoring systems once they are in place and help find solutions to software quality assurance whenever a problem arises.
- They generate reports on efficiencies and improvement areas that, in turn, help to improve the software.
A system analyst is an occupation in the broad field of information technology and works to solve problems related to computer technology. Just like the many other analysts in the world of computers, they may be involved in setting up software or even adding new software applications to improve efficiency and productivity.