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Systems analyst

Systems analysts look at a company's IT infrastructure and work out where to make improvements.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need industry experience and an HND or degree. Relevant subjects include:

  • computer science
  • information management systems
  • business information systems
  • maths and operational research

You could also take an Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) degree.

If you already have a non-IT related degree, you could complete a postgraduate IT conversion course which focuses on business skills as well as technical ability. Companies may still want to see relevant work experience and you'd be expected to have a working knowledge of programming skills and analysis methods.

You could get into this job through a degree apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • a creative approach to problem solving
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • project management skills
  • budgeting skills

3. What you'll do

Your work could range from integrating telephone and computer networks in a call centre to restructuring a bank's customer account database to make it more secure.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working out your client organisation’s needs
  • drawing up plans for a modified or replacement IT system
  • carrying out feasibility studies of proposals and making recommendations
  • working closely with programmers and software developers to build systems
  • overseeing testing to find problems before the final version of the system is released
  • providing staff training and instruction manuals for new or upgraded systems

An important part of your job will be to make sure that your designs are future proof, that is flexible enough to adapt as the organisation or business grows.

You'll use various computer-assisted software engineering (CASE) tools and programming methods.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £27,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: up to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may have to work overtime, including weekends, to meet deadlines or solve critical technical problems.

You'll be based in an office, working either at your employer's premises or at your client's site. Overnight stays away may sometimes be necessary.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could be promoted to senior analyst, or into project management or strategic business planning. Eventually, you could become a specialist analyst in a particular field like finance or retail.

You could set up your own business and work on a contract or consultancy basis.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017