Systems analyst: job description

Systems analysts are responsible for the complete life-cycle of a new/modified IT system, from analysing existing arrangements to implementing systems and providing training.
When recruiting systems analysts, employers consider relevant experience and a logical mind to be more important than the degree subject studied.

What does a systems analyst do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

The skills of systems analysts are called upon when operational problems are encountered with IT systems.

  • examine current systems
  • talk to users (requirements gathering)
  • produce specifications for new or modified systems
  • liaise with other IT staff such as programmers to produce
  • implement the new system.

They are also responsible for user training and feedback. Travel is a key feature of the job as the majority of work is undertaken at clients' premises.

Typical employers of systems analysts

  • information technology/software consultancy firms
  • commercial and industrial organisations
  • the Civil Service
  • retailers
  • service industries
  • financial institutions.

Self employment is possible for individuals with several years' relevant experience.

Jobs are advertised by careers services and recruitment agencies, and in local/national newspapers and specialist publications including Computing and TARGETjobs IT. The internet is also a good source of vacancy information.

Qualifications and training required

A genuine interest in and enthusiasm for IT is often more important than your degree subject, although graduates with a technical background (physics, mathematics, computation or software engineering) are preferred.

Arts and humanities graduates (with 2.1 degrees) should be able to demonstrate their interest in computers and IT, and a postgraduate IT conversion course can be useful. Employers often require candidates to meet high standards in programming aptitude tests.

Key skills for systems analysts

  • strong analysis skills
  • attention to detail
  • team working
  • written and verbal communication skills
  • inter-personal skills
  • flexibility
  • adaptability
  • initiative