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Systems analysts examine existing IT systems and write requirements for new ones.

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

Systems analysts analyse how well software, hardware and the wider IT system fit the business needs of their employer or of a client. They write requirements for new systems and may also help implement them and monitor their effectiveness.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • examining current systems
  • talking to users (requirements gathering)
  • producing specifications for new or modified systems
  • liaising with other IT staff such as programmers to produce new systems
  • implementing new systems

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

  • IT or 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 online, by careers services and by specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

To get a job as a systems analyst you usually need a degree in a technical or IT subject, or experience from a related role.

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

There are a handful of systems analyst apprenticeships out there but there are more in software development or other IT roles. To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, see the IT section of TARGETcareers, our website for school leavers.

Key skills for systems analysts

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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