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Systems Analyst Interview Questions

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  1. Computer systems analysts have different roles depending on the company. Describe what you consider to be the role of a systems analyst. See answer
  2. What is a DHCP server? Why are DHCP servers useful for administering computer networks? See answer
  3. What types of documentation have you created in the past? Why is it important to maintain documentation? See answer
  4. When you begin a new project, which types of requirements do you gather? Use a specific example from your experience. See answer
  5. What experience do you have with creating and enforcing software usage policies? Why are they important? See answer
  6. How would you approach integrating a new software tool at the request of a client if you’d never worked with programming or installing that type of tool before?
  7. Have you ever encountered a legacy system that wasn’t equipped to handle new requirements and integrations? How did you approach starting over from scratch?
  8. Do you have experience writing instructional manuals to explain the troubleshooting process in a custom computer network?
  9. Explain your testing process to ensure a system’s functionality after updating code or installing new features.
  10. Are you comfortable explaining complex technical concepts to others as part of the training process for IT support techs?
  11. What solutions would you explore if a client’s computer system consistently exceeded its memory capacity?
  12. Do you have experience providing direct technical support to clients to solve urgent IT issues?
  13. If you wanted to prevent data loss would you use RAID 0, RAID 5 or RAID 10?
  14. What would you do if a client requested a complex system installation and they had nowhere near the amount of resources and budget you would need to accomplish their goals?
  15. What is the difference between functional and non-functional system requirements? What is the role of each of these types of requirements in performing an initial systems assessment?
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6 Systems Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Computer systems analysts have different roles depending on the company. Describe what you consider to be the role of a systems analyst.

A:

This question gauges candidates’ understanding of the analyst position and their technical communication skills. Systems analyst candidates should come to an interview prepared to speak to the description of the position for which they are applying, so pay attention to how they understand the role within your organization. They should connect the skill requirements with the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the applications and network infrastructure for a location, for example.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of the systems analyst role
  • Ability to relate technical skills to day-to-day responsibilities
  • Technical communication skills

Example:

“In my experience, a systems analyst provides the technical glue that holds a company’s various applications and network devices together. I noticed that this position emphasizes application integration skills.”

Q:

What is a DHCP server? Why are DHCP servers useful for administering computer networks?

A:

This technical question tests candidates’ experience with computer network design and troubleshooting. If they are weak on this skill set, they may not provide more than a textbook answer. DHCP stands for dynamic host configuration protocol. Essentially, DHCP servers manage the configuration details for computers and network devices on a network. Look for examples from past experience in your systems analyst’s answer.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience handling DHCP servers
  • Basic knowledge of local area network technology
  • Willingness to learn if they are weak in this area

Example:

“I worked on a project with a financial company that involved adding a large subnet to their network. Reconfiguring the DHCP servers to work together smoothly took a day or two.”

Q:

What types of documentation have you created in the past? Why is it important to maintain documentation?

A:

Computer systems analysts will often need to create planning documents like user scenarios, data flow diagrams and systems integration requirements. Pay attention to the documentation experience candidates have and whether it fits your organization’s needs. Follow up with questions that test how important documentation is for candidates. They should consider accurate and timely documentation to be important both for planning projects and providing information to users.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Past experience with systems documentation
  • Understanding documentation best practices
  • Importance of planning and user documentation

Example:

“I’ve worked on large software integration projects that involved several teams. We collected cases and created data flow diagrams as we planned the new network designs and deployed them.”

Q:

When you begin a new project, which types of requirements do you gather? Use a specific example from your experience.

A:

Requirements are an important initial step when planning any IT project. Systems analysts typically handle projects that involve network design and the integration of applications and data systems. A candidate should have experience with technical and functional requirements. Technical requirements include details like hardware and software compatibility. An example of a functional requirement would be transferring data between an application and a database server.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding the planning process
  • Experience with gathering and determining requirements
  • Ability to relate theory to practice with past experience

Example:

“I’ve gathered requirements for a number of projects. One project involved integrating a new application with existing databases. We needed to list out each requirement in detail to ensure the integration would be reliable.”

Q:

What experience do you have with creating and enforcing software usage policies? Why are they important?

A:

Another role systems analysts have is monitoring software installations on a local network’s workstations and enforcing software usage policies. These policies are designed to ensure that employees only use software approved by the company to prevent security risks and other liabilities. Potential candidates should be able to list policies that they have enforced in the past. If the position includes these tasks, test the candidate’s attitude towards these policies with a follow-up question.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of software auditing
  • Past experience with enforcing usage policies
  • Understanding the importance of software usage policies

Example:

“I enforced security policies that included software audits at a major financial institution. It was an important way to detect malicious software that’s used by hackers.”

Q:

How would you approach integrating a new software tool at the request of a client if you'd never worked with programming or installing that type of tool before?

A:

Systems analysts field many kinds of requests from clients, ranging from small updates to the user interface to large-scale integrations with cutting-edge technology. Successful systems analysts are fast learners who have the ability to understand new features and implement them at their client's request. This question allows the interviewer to identify which candidates have the right research skills and mindset to help clients accomplish their goals, even if it involves putting in additional effort to learn a new skill.

A good response should include:

  • Initiative
  • Awareness of industry developments
  • Attention to detail

Here is one sample response:

Example:

"When a client requests a feature that I'm unfamiliar with I start by researching other systems that use that feature, reading instruction manuals and taking courses to heighten my understanding. I check my work consistently when implementing the code for the system, taking care to run extra tests to ensure that my first attempt at this new program is successful."

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