Systems analysts, increasingly known as business analysts, are IT specialists who are brought in by companies to evaluate their IT systems, business functions and procedures; identify areas for improvement; and design and integrate computer-based solutions to meet the particular business needs.
Solutions can range from designing new tailor-made IT networks to modifying the structure of existing information databases. An element of future-proofing is normally built in so as the business develops, the IT systems also evolve to encompass the changes. Analysts work in a wide range of sectors including IT, finance, local and central government, manufacturing, construction and engineering, and public bodies such as universities and health authorities.The work can involve:
After the solution is drawn up, the analyst oversees the testing and evaluation process to ensure any faults are corrected.
Computer Assisted Software Engineering (CASE) tools and object-orientated programming languages, such as Visual Basic, C++ , Java and Smalltalk, are increasingly used, which allow the analysis and programming functions to be combined and carried out within the same role.
Most systems analysts work 37 to 40 hours a week. However, the intense nature of the work, which often involves deadlines and emergency problem solving, can lead to overtime and weekend work.
Work is office-based at their own company or on-site with the client. This may involve some travel or being away from home for lengthy periods.
As a systems analyst, you should:
Opportunities are good with systems analysts employed across the whole range of commerce and industry, public services, utilities, defence and research.
Opportunities are available overseas, working for UK-based organisations, foreign companies or multinationals.
Career progression often involves promotion to senior or principal analyst and movement between companies is quite common to achieve this. There may be the option to become a specialist analyst in a particular field, for instance, finance or security. Experienced analysts can move into project management then strategic business planning; they can also become self-employed and work on a contract or consultancy basis.
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