Description of a systems analyst

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Lisa Pilkington works as a systems analyst in the oil products businesses. She plans IT strategies that will meet their needs, both now and in the future.

Can you describe your role as a systems analyst?

My main role is to work out our computer software plans for the next ten years. We need to ensure that we choose software that can support the company's future business processes.

What is your weekly routine?

My work is extremely varied. In a typical week, I analyse our stock of applications. This is a database of all the applications in use within our business. I also look for opportunities to make cost reductions, by cutting back on the number of applications we use for instance, or by introducing new technology. Another part of my job involves preparing reports on how we perform against the measurements and targets we have set.

What hours do you work?

Working in a global organisation requires some flexibility. If I have meetings with colleagues in Asia, I may begin work earlier on a particular morning, while having a conference call with colleagues from the USA sometimes requires working later into the evening.

What is your working environment like?

I am usually based in our central London office, but occasionally work from home too. My role requires some travel, mainly to our other key offices in the Netherlands, the USA and Malaysia.

Who do you work with?

I work in a small team spread across Australia, the USA, the UK and the Netherlands, so keeping in touch with colleagues and virtual team-working (communicating via computer technology rather than in person) is very important.

What skills are needed to become a systems analyst?

A broad IT background helps in this role. I had previous experience in systems engineering, service development, IT consultancy and project management before moving into a more business-focused role.

Strong interpersonal skills are also essential as you will have to work with many different people from the top of the organisation to the people actually developing and using your systems.

Why did you choose to become a systems analyst?

I have a broad IT background within the company and a love of working in a fast-paced environment with lots of different people, so I felt this area would suit me well.

What training have you had?

I graduated from university with a Degree in Medical Biochemistry. While at university, I took part in the Shell Technology Enterprise Programme, which places undergraduates in businesses for an eight-week project.

My project involved developing a waste exchange scheme and I won a national award for my work. During the project, I developed IT skills and realised I would be interested in a career in IT.

Since joining Shell, I have taken various technical, business and skills development training courses, and have also gained several professional qualifications.

What do you like/dislike about your job as a systems analyst?

I love the variety of activities and working with so many different groups of people in many different countries. The one thing I dislike is having to keep up to date with all the necessary administrative work, such as writing up notes from meetings. I'm definitely more of an action-oriented person!

How do you see your future?

I would like my career to progress towards general management or leadership within an IT or business discipline. There are also some great opportunities to work overseas.

Lisa's route to her career as a systems analyst

  • Degree in Medical Biochemistry.
  • Shell Technology Enterprise Programme.
  • Training courses and professional qualifications while working for Shell.

Lisa's systems analyst tips

  • Don't feel overly pressurised to specialise in one area.
  • I experienced many different aspects of IT and have found my broad background very beneficial.

Systems analyst related jobs

  • Business adviser
  • Business analyst
  • Management consultant
  • Network manager
  • Project manager

Salary of a systems analyst

  • Newly qualified analysts may earn around £25,000 a year.
  • Experienced analysts may earn from £35,000 to £45,000.
  • The highest salaries may be up to £50,000 a year, or more.

Description of a systems analyst

  • Almost all business or systems analysts have a degree in an IT or business-related subject. Many have postgraduate qualifications.
  • It is sometimes possible to start in basic computing work and progress to become a systems analyst. Alternatively, some people work in another area of the business and use their broad experience to move into systems analysis.
  • Employers are increasingly looking for people with qualifications from software manufacturers.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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