Systems analysts ensure that their companies reap the maximum benefits possible from computer technology, IT personnel, and business procedures. They accomplish this through discussion, goal defining, analysis techniques, and extensive testing. Also referred to as systems developers or systems architects, these analysts may decide to develop completely new computer systems for a company, or to optimize and expand existing hardware and software. A more specific set of these workers, called programmer analysts, design and update systems software. Programmer analysts must know both programming and systems analysis.
Most systems analysts work with computer systems specific to the company's industry. Accounting, engineering, and publishing systems analysts would each work with different computer systems. Analysts often have backgrounds in their companies' fields.
Once hired, analysts first talk to the managers and users to determine the goals of the company's computer system. Then, they determine the exact system problems to overcome. Using research, planning, and various analysis and modeling methods, they devise an economically feasible solution to be executed in steps.
The analysts determine the computer hardware and software required for the new system, creating specifications for engineers and computer programmers to follow. Once the programmers and engineers create the new system, the analysts supervise tests of system performance. They also work with the programmers to debug the system. Software quality assurance (QA) analysts or quality engineers are analysts who do comprehensive product testing and problem diagnoses. Quality assurance analysts test if product requirements have been met. If requirements have not been met, QA analysts recommend solutions.
These workers must have both technical and interpersonal skills to succeed. Experienced systems analysts may enter analyst leadership roles. They may also eventually become project managers, information systems managers, or chief information officers.
The demand for systems analysts is growing. Network systems and data communication analysts are projected to be the fifth largest growing occupation through 2010, and computer systems analysts are projected to be the ninth largest