A systems analyst, sometimes referred to as a computer systems analyst, is someone who configures, maintains, and supports computers in a workplace. This type of professional may determine which computers and software to purchase, as well as how those components can work together. In some cases, he may be responsible for improving computers that are already in use.
The systems analyst starts his job by asking employees or company departments what they need their computers to do. Then he starts planning the computer system that can handle the tasks that it needs to perform. Such a system may comprise a number of computers with different kinds of software and technology tools.
After planning the computer system, the system analyst breaks down the task it handles into steps. This may be done by drawing charts and diagrams to illustrate how information gets into the system, how it is processed, and how it is transferred to the people who need it. For instance, a systems analyst designing a computer system for a retail store would need to establish the transfer and organization of sales data in a way that is useful to the store manager.
After that, the systems analyst needs to decide on the ideal computers, software, and tools to buy, often working within an operational budget and other constraints. In some cases, he may be involved in computer programming by working with the computer programmer to make new software. After all the components of the computer system are integrated, the system analyst has to make sure that information can be transferred from one computer to another. He also has to make sure that the system works as planned, and he may make changes to his plan to correct mistakes or increase efficiency.
Most system analysts get a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems. Some analysts, however, have bachelor's degrees in another discipline, combined with coursework from the computer science or information technology field. A few system analysts hold master's degrees in business administration with specialization in computer technology. This level of education may qualify the analyst to determine the right technologies to implement for certain business operations.
System analysts are not only required to understand computers, but also be good in mathematics so that they can calculate the amount of power each computer system uses. Good communication skills are also essential, as system analysts need to explain the operation of computers to people who might not be very familiar with technology and its terminology. With the ever-increasing reliance of workplaces on all kinds on computers, system analysts have great job prospects and will likely continue to play important roles in the workforce.