Guide: What Is a System Analyst? (With Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A system analyst, also known as a computer systems analyst, is a professional in the IT field who uses information systems to analyse problems, discuss and understand user needs and implement desired requirements. Their major responsibility is to figure out how IT systems, hardware and other related technology are used to achieve desired results. In this article, we discuss what a system analyst is, what they do as part of their job and how to become one.

What is a system analyst?

System analysts are professionals who are responsible for ensuring that a company's network and computer systems meet the needs of their business. They work closely with the computer or IT department and ensure that all systems are working optimally. This may involve frequent testing and consistent monitoring of systems.

What does a system analyst do?

Some of the specific responsibilities of a system analyst include:

  • Maintaining and troubleshooting data warehouses

  • Researching and evaluating emerging technologies, including both hardware and software

  • Discussing user needs, identifying vulnerabilities or areas of poor performance to boost productivity, efficiency and accuracy

  • Preparing cost-benefits and analysis reports for upgrades

  • Communicating strategic decisions with other IT department employees

  • Training end-users and preparing instruction manuals for employee or customer use

What are the qualifications required to become a system analyst?

There are some basic qualifications that can help you become a system analyst. They are:

Education

Most system analyst jobs require a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science or a related field. Some companies may also prefer to recruit candidates with a master's degree in these fields. Because systems analysts are expected to understand a company's business needs and information technology, an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in information systems can give candidates a competitive edge in the job market.

Popular undergraduate courses include B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) in computer science engineering, B.Tech in IT and B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) in Computer Science. Pursue these degree offerings after gaining admission to a course of study following your performance on the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination).

Related: How To Share Your Education Background

Training

Most of the training that systems analysts need is acquired through coursework in a bachelor's program, certification programs and on-the-job training in other positions. Candidates are typically expected to have substantial experience in an IT role before qualifying for a system analyst position. They usually enter the workforce in the role of a programmer or developer. Once they have gained the necessary experience to handle multiple teams and systems, they can progress in their career to become system analysts.

Related: On-the-Job Training for Efficient Staff Development

Certifications

While not mandatory, certifications can both validate a system analyst's skills and demonstrate a desire to work hard and grow professionally. There are many online certificate courses on operating systems, programming languages and other IT related subjects that can offer alternative ways to advance your career.

Some popular courses include the Certified Software Testing Professional course and the Hardware Description Languages for FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) Design. Additionally, these are some CompTIA certifications that are beneficial to pursue:

  • CompTIA A+ certification: This entry-level certification is considered a foundational certification for IT professionals entering the industry. It verifies their skills and knowledge on a wide variety of issues, from networking and operating systems to mobile devices and security.

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification is designed to provide a benchmark for best practices in online security.

  • CompTIA CySA+: This is an intermediate-level credential for cybersecurity professionals, verifying that they have the skills and knowledge to perform data analysis and identify vulnerabilities and threats to an organization, configure and use tools that detect threats and protect systems from cyberattack.

  • CASP+: Offered by CompTIA, this advanced certification validates critical thinking and decision-making across a variety of security disciplines.

What skills are required to become a system analyst?

If you want to become a system analyst, you may consider developing the following skills:

Analytical skills

System analysts gather information about an organisation's needs and use analytical and problem-solving skills to identify solutions. The role demands quick thinking and practical decision-making. A system analyst should be able to prioritise tasks and quickly come up with solutions that work effectively.

Communication skills

Analysts need strong written and verbal skills to communicate with management, IT department staff members and non-IT employees. They also benefit from being able to create written materials, such as training documents, for end-users to use as reference. They are in constant contact with customers, stakeholders, programmers and many other technicians on the team to understand requirements throughout the development process.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Creativity

Creative thinking skills are essential in this job role. System analysts may need to come up with new and innovative solutions to computer-related problems. They must be able to translate client requirements into reality within tight budgets and timelines.

Technical skills

These refer to the hard skills that system analysts need to perform well. Complex tasks involving technology like system testing, fixing, updating and deploying are some areas in which analysts can show their technical acumen. Throughout their education and work experience, system analysts are trained in multiple aspects of their highly technical job role.

Do systems analysts code as part of their job?

Even though a system analyst may not have to code themselves, they benefit from being familiar with a variety of programming languages and operating systems. This will help them to oversee, evaluate, review and modify code written by software professionals like programmers. Unlike a business analyst who handles business needs without going into the technical aspects, a system analyst often has to have good knowledge of relevant coding frameworks and languages. They may also guide a team of coders to implement solutions.

Is being a system analyst a good career?

A system analyst can find employment in a range of industries, like government agencies, health care and private businesses. With increased dependence upon technology in every field, the demand for system analysts is also expected to rise. Their job has the potential to become hectic and may involve a lot of hours at the office. However, it is a financially rewarding line of work with good earning potential and improving prospects.

How much do system analysts make?

A system analyst's salary may vary depending on multiple factors like location, experience and education. The average base salary of a system analyst is around ₹5,90,060 per year. The average base salary of a senior system analyst is ₹10,16,882 per year.

Related careers

If you are interested in the job role of system analyst, consider these similar careers:

IT manager

An IT manager is a professional who oversees a company's computer and information systems. They work closely with upper management to evaluate an organisation's IT needs and devise methods to improve performance. Related job titles in this domain include:

  • Chief technology officer (CTO)

  • Chief information officer (CIO)

  • IT administrator

  • IT director

Senior project manager

A senior project manager drives their team to achieve deadlines and goals set by the company. Effective management of personnel, risk assessment, planning and scheduling are some of their most important responsibilities. In some technical domains, it is common for project managers to share the expertise and duties of system analysts.

System administrator

A system administrator is responsible for the upkeep, management, development and operations of the computer systems of an organisation. Besides identifying and fixing network issues, they also make updates to the equipment and software to ensure efficient functioning. Their service is required in small and large organisations, including government offices. Related job titles include:

  • Systems manager

  • IT specialist

Computer programmer

Computer programmers write, debug and test code that enables software programs to run efficiently. They work in close association with web developers to design new platforms and interfaces according to the needs of a client. Computer programming can be a solid starting point for professionals in the IT field, who can then take up more management-level positions like that of a system analyst.

Related: What Is a Computer Programmer? Definition and Career Advice

Computer technician

Computer technicians perform installation and maintenance for both hardware and software components in a company's computer infrastructure. They may also perform routine diagnostic activities and give support to customers who have computer-related queries. Most companies have computer technicians in-house or on a contract basis for performing troubleshooting activities and upgrading and installing.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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