Systems Analyst Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Systems Analyst, or System Analyst, is responsible for determining the computing needs of a client and translating them into system specifications. Their duties include completing evaluations of hardware and software, giving advice to shareholders about their IT infrastructure and producing cost analysis of potential IT initiatives.

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Systems Analyst duties and responsibilities 

Some specific duties a Systems Analyst may be asked to perform include:

  • Training users on how to appropriately utilize their computer systems 
  • Writing instruction manuals for systems
  • Consulting with managers to determine what role the systems play in the business
  • Testing the systems on a regular basis to ensure quality and function
  • Preparing costs and benefits analysis on systems
  • Brainstorming new ways to add more functionality to systems
  • Choosing and configuring the hardware and software of a system
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What does a Systems Analyst do? 

Systems Analysts are high-level information technology experts who work in IT departments to guide the development of computer networks and systems. Their role is to consult on the current state of an IT system and provide data-driven advice on how to expand or refine its operations to meet company needs. Systems Analysts collect data, observe workflows and monitor system activity to identify vulnerabilities or areas of improvement. They communicate their findings to company leaders and help them compromise their needs and resources. System Analysts train their IT team and help guide the implementation of new systems and procedures.

Systems Analyst skills and qualifications 

In order for a Systems Analyst to be truly effective in their role, they need some key skills, such as:

  • The ability to take initiative and be self-motivated
  • An adaptable and flexible attitude, allowing them to approach and solve a problem by examining it from different angles
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to collaborate within a team
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Developed skills in examination and analysis

Systems Analyst salary expectations 

A Systems Analyst makes an average of $79,776 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

Systems Analyst education and training requirements 

Generally, Systems Analysts must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field of study. Extra business courses or a major in management information systems could also be beneficial areas of study for this career. Some companies do require Systems Analysts to earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Typically, the more technical the job, the more useful that a master’s degree in computer science (MCS) is for this position.

Though technical degrees are rarely required, programming or technical expertise can provide useful training for this role. Because of the constant development of technology, ongoing education is important for anyone in the IT field in order to stay informed about new technology. 

Systems Analyst experience requirements 

Though there is more of a focus on education rather than experience in order to enter this field, some positions will require a familiarity with the industry. This is so that the Systems Analysts working on an organization’s system are able to fully understand the nature and needs of the systems in relation to the business. Hospitals, for instance, would need a Systems Analyst that thoroughly understands health plans and programs, while a bank’s Systems Analyst may need a background in finance.

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Frequently asked questions about Systems Analysts

 

What are the daily duties of a Systems Analyst?

On a typical day, Systems Analysts spend their time running tests and interpreting data. When working on a new project, they meet with clients to determine their computing needs based on their organization’s operations. Systems Analysts begin assessing a current system by running stress tests trying to overload the system, allowing them to understand its current limitations and traffic capacity. They determine what kind of hardware is essential for expanding a system and prepare a comparison of costs to potential benefits to the company, identifying when the updated system will pay for itself in improved efficiency.

Systems Analysts present their recommendations to clients and help devise a plan for implementing changes. They communicate with other IT professionals about how to test the new system and configure updates according to schedule.

 

What is the difference between a Systems Analyst and a Systems Engineer?

Systems Analysts and Systems Engineers hold similar roles, but Systems Analysts are consultants while Systems Engineers are project managers. Systems Analysts make recommendations to Systems Engineers about how to update their systems to achieve specific results. They identify problems with a system and make repairs, updating Systems Engineers about changes to their system architecture. Systems Engineers also build IT and computing networks for scratch, while Systems Analysts usually assess existing systems and focus on how to refine and improve them instead of building a completely new infrastructure.

When a Systems Analyst creates an improvement plan for an IT system, they work alongside the Systems Engineer to implement it. The Systems Engineer may make adjustments to meet company needs based on the Systems Analyst’s advice

 

What are the qualities of a good Systems Analyst?

Good Systems Analysts are observant and critical when interacting with a new computing system or network. Successful Systems Analysts have a creative and curious mindset that encourages them to explore all aspects of a system, finding unique and nuanced ways to improve efficiency or repurpose existing computer infrastructure. A good Systems Analyst is also able to explain complex technical concepts to clients and business partners who may not have a background in that area. This allows them to be persuasive and convince company leaders to prioritize their IT needs.

 

Who does a Systems Analyst report to?

Systems Analysts report to Systems Engineers, Chief Technology Officers and other company leaders who make decisions about a business’s IT needs. They give presentations explaining their findings and produce organized reports that the Systems Engineer or CTO can use to document new project initiatives.

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