Computer systems are designed by people who have extensive information technology skills and knowledge. They have an understanding of hardware, software, networking, and business operations. Information systems designers apply all their knowledge and combine hardware and software components in such a way as to produce the most effective and efficient system. Information technologies that create and integrate information systems for businesses and organizations are known as computer systems analysts or administrators.
Almost every organization’s needs are different. “Out-of-the-box” solutions generally fail to meet organizational needs as requirements vary from business to business. An analyst actually documents the business requirements and determines what the company needs to meet its information processing requirements. Computer systems analysts can document existing systems, design new systems or modify existing ones. The new system or component is put together by the analyst and used in a way that produces the desired result.
Computer systems analysts can use advanced modeling techniques to document how existing information systems function. Data flowcharts and flowcharts are other techniques (such as observation) that analysts can also use.
Analysts look at source documents, transactions, raw data and how they operate together to obtain information for decision makers. The computer systems analyst is interested in getting information to the person who needs it, when he or she needs it and in the form that is needed. The system that the analyst ultimately designs supports the organization’s documented goals.
Systems analysts can also be referred to as systems designers. They work as systems designers or can do analysis and design work. Some analysts may work with end users in testing new systems to ensure that requirements are met. Analysts and designers can also prepare documentation and teach employees how to use the new system. Analysts are often involved in acceptance testing that validates the new system or the system’s ability to meet stated objectives.
Computer systems analysts must be good communicators because the work they do crosses organizational lines. They should feel comfortable asking smart questions and answers. Analysts document “as is” and determine solutions to problems.
There are a number of other titles for analysts. Among them are quality assurance analysts and programmer analysts. Computer systems analysts must be logical and enjoy investigating programs in a step-by-step manner. They must be detail oriented and able to exercise good judgment. Depending on the specific requirements of the job, industry, and company, an analyst’s salary can exceed $100,000. Employment for analysts is expected to grow by more than 20% between now and 2020. New demands for analysts will include knowledge of mobile and cloud-based information systems.
A four-year degree is usually required to become a computer systems analyst. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in computer or management information systems. Analysts need to have an understanding of the industry in which they wish to work. For example, to work as an analyst in the agricultural sector, one may wish to have an active interest in agriculture or work experience in that field.
Computer systems analysts study information system requirements, workflows, and how organizations try to use information technology to support decision making. The analyst documents what happened and what was required for the system to succeed. Computer systems analysts have a broad base of skills and knowledge backed by a four-year degree in information technology. The career opportunities for a computer systems analyst are vast.