Systems Analyst

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

You could work ‘in-house’ for a large organisation like an IT corporation, or for a small business. You could also work for a firm of consultants who go into many different businesses for specific projects.

Your work could be in the public sector like government departments, or in the private sector like financial services.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • working out the business needs of your employer or client
  • drawing up plans to improve or replace an IT system
  • working out the costs and time needed to make your plans work
  • working closely with programmers and software developers to build systems
  • overseeing testing to find problems before the final version of a system goes live
  • training staff and writing instruction manuals for new or upgraded systems

You’ll need to make sure that your designs are future-proof, and are flexible enough to adapt as the organisation or business grows.

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


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • business management skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and application

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Systems Analyst, you’ll want to have a strong foundation in both technology and analytical skills. While there are no specific subjects required for this career, certain subjects can provide a solid background for your future studies and career. Here are some suggested subjects that can help you prepare for a career as a Systems Analyst:

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics is fundamental to computer science and systems analysis. Consider taking Mathematics to build a strong mathematical foundation.
  2. Computer Science: If available, a course in Computer Science will introduce you to programming, algorithms, and the basics of how computer systems work.
  3. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICT provides you with a good understanding of technology, software applications, and database systems, which are all relevant to the work of a Systems Analyst.
  4. Business Studies: Business Studies can help you understand how technology is applied to solve business problems, a key aspect of a Systems Analyst’s role.
  5. Science: A strong background in science, especially subjects like Physics and Chemistry, can be beneficial for understanding hardware components and their interactions in computer systems.
  6. English: Communication skills are important in this role, as Systems Analysts often need to convey complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders.
  7. Design and Technology: This subject can be helpful in developing a practical understanding of technology and how systems are designed.

Post School

You could get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You could do a degree in a relevant subject like:

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

Some universities offer a degree in Information Technology Management for Business. In the UK, this degree is Tech Industry Gold accredited.

If you have a degree that’s not in an IT or computer subject, you could complete a postgraduate course.

You should choose one which focuses on business and computer skills.

You could do either an information systems business analyst higher apprenticeship or a digital and technology solutions degree apprenticeship.

You could start with any job in IT or business then build up your experience and qualifications while working.

You could train online or attend short intensive courses with IT training organisations. You’ll need some computer and business skills.

Working Hours 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.

Overnight stays away may sometimes be necessary. You may also be expected to travel overseas, if your company has clients in other countries.

You’ll usually be based in an office, working either at your employer’s premises or at your client’s site. As a consultant you may be able to work more flexibly or from home.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could be promoted to senior analyst. You might also move into project management or strategic business planning.

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.