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A production analyst is a member of the information technology department for a large organization. They are responsible for managing the computer programs and processes that are run in the background of large computer systems. A person in this role requires a combination of mainframe, technical, and processing training. In many organizations, a production analyst is also known as a production controller.
There are four main tasks of a production analyst: scheduling jobs, running jobs, managing resources, and performing maintenance on the system. The exact type of skills required depends on the computer infrastructure, operating system, and related security protocols. This role is central to the ongoing processing of computer programs and is often required to be on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Scheduling computer jobs is based on the different processors, time required for each job, priority, and data accessed. The system developers or functional manager submits requests for jobs to be added to the schedule. Multiple jobs are typically scheduled simultaneously, but it is important to ensure that each program is updating unrelated systems.
Running the jobs requires updating of the variants with the correct data, monitoring the progress, and controlling the output. The production analyst is responsible for informing the user of any issues with the job and managing the process to ensure the best use of existing resources.
Resource management includes optimization of databases, cloning of systems, and partitioning the hard drives. Additional processes might include reconfiguration of the infrastructure, installation of network switches, and load balancing tools. This is a very important function, as it is more efficient to maximize existing resources than to purchase new ones.
Performance maintenance involves the regular review of usage reports, down time statistics, and overall system maintenance. All operating system software packages have regular patches or additional code that is used to fix known problems or enhance existing security. The application of these patches requires a skilled production analyst who understands the implication of the changes and can manage the entire process.
The production analyst usually reports to the technical manager. There are often two or three people in this role, due to the need for a resource to be constantly available. This is a mid-level position, as it has significant responsibility.
An error can cause important systems to fail, or undermine the technical infrastructure of the organization. The vast majority of technical managers have worked as a production analyst at some point in their career. This experience is necessary to truly understand the impact of decision making on a large computer system.
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