Inside Systems Analyst Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises


"Technology Is More Human Than Machine...
The most surprising aspect of my career is the breadth of broad knowledge that you must acquire. The position is not just all technical as a major requirement for success is being able to communicate effectively, specifically when translating business processes into technical terms." (IT Analyst; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Texas in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2006


"Travel, Professional Development And Endless Challenges...
I have been surprised to discover that working as a business systems analyst has provided me with excellent opportunities for travel, professional development, and endless challenges. My work has taken me around the globe including multiple trip to New Zealand. In addition, I have found that my general business effectiveness has been enhanced by my role as a systems analyst." (Business Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Communications And Chemistry (Interdisciplinary) at Antioch College in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 1979


"Many Challenging Opportunities In IT...
I have worked in all areas of computers - from data entry all the way up to repair and now systems analyst. I loved it all. Each area has their own unique challenges to my surprise. For system analyst work for example, you need to know the end users job extremely well as well as have some insight into future possibilities in order to create a system that is truly functional and the department can grow into." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Computer Science at DeSales University in Pennsylvania; completed Associate degree in 1994


"Analyst Skills Are Very Important...
I was surprised to find that being a business applications analyst does not involve much with new applications. I am expected more to analyze current data within my company." (Business Applications Analyst; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Computer Science at SUNY ACC - Adirondack Community College in New York; completed Associate degree in 2005


"A Degree Isn't Everything...
It was difficult to obtain the position I have. Having a degree helped a lot but I had to prove my skills with the help of references and people I've been friends with. Once I got my job it was surprisingly relaxing and rewarding, but I don't get too comfortable. I continue to teach myself new skills daily." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Hawaii, female
School: Studied Electrical Engineering at University Of Hawaii At Manoa in Hawaii; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Computer Work Involves More Than A Computer...
My job as a systems analyst requires constant and clear communication with end users and my colleagues. I can not be a wallflower. This job is much or than sitting at a desk all day. I must get out and survey sites, draw network maps, and travel to different sites." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Information Systems at Kennesaw State University in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"I was surprised that as a Technical Analyst I would be dealing so much with the public. I work for a large corporation and am constantly in contact with people in my organization. I would have focused more in college on oral communications if I had known this would be the case. I am very happy in my career." (Technical Analyst; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Computer Technology at Missouri State University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Employer Seeks To Further My Knowledge...
I was surprised to find out that even though my career required a significant amount of education, my employer has been more that willing to help me continue to further my education with allowing my time off to pursue my master's degree. I was surprised to learn that my career has begun to limit my knowledge in other various areas of technical knowledge. Before taking on my job, I was a jack-of-all-trades and now my knowledge has become very specialized." (Information Systems Analyst; 2014)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Management Information Systems at CSU, Chico in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2003


"Two things that are really surprising to me about IT is that most of the most you don't work alone, even though you may think that, having good team skills and communication skills really comes in handy in this business. Another thing is that, don't expect to start off with the best position just because you have a degree, I had to work my way up from being a respondent to calls that came in for repairs before I could actually even do any real repairs." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Network Administration at Oakland University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Fast Evolution Of Technology...
I was surprised by how quickly technology changes and evolves, and how each language or platform builds off those that came before it. The pace accelerates and yet the fundamentals remain primary. I was surprised that some niche players (cobalt programmers for example) were unable to see the analogies and unable to adapt." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 27 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Political Science/Psychology at University Of Oregon in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 1984


"Computer Skills Lacking...
It has amazed me how much power some people are given, when their skill levels are so low. There are things that should be required as mandatory information before certain levels of sensitive information can be shared. What would shock many people is how computer illiterate many representative of the communications industry really are." (IT Tech; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied IT Administration at Ecpi in Virginia; completed Associate degree in 2002


"Internships Not Always Necessary...
I was surprised at how easy it was to get a job in the field even without internships. Mostly everybody told me that internships were a must but I was able to get a job before graduation based on a small portfolio alone." (Software Analyst; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Umass Amherst in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Wide Array Of Options...
I am surprised at all of the different directions you can take in the profession. You can sit back or continue to advance into other interesting areas." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Business Management at Franklin University in Ohio in 2012


"Surprisingly enough, as a project manager/business analyst technical skills are not the most important for success. Being willing to learn about the business context is crucial to success - it's that trait more than anything else that's pushed my career forward. The most effective project managers and business analysts have a mix of strong business context knowledge and applicable technical know-how." (Business Analyst/Project Manager; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Operations And Information Management at University Of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2006


"Many In IT Miss The Point...
I was surprised at how people in IT don't understand that their function wasn't an end goal but that we're there to facilitate other's jobs/functions. I don't think people understand sometimes that the manipulation and use of information is to facilitate understand of that information, so users aren't the enemy when our jobs are founded in helping them." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Idaho, female
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at DeVry in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 1999


"College Enforced Excellence Standards Not Upheld By Employer...
I was surprised by how little I was held to the high standards of excellence that were expected of me in college and throughout the rest of my schooling as a child. I always expected that the high demands of school were to prepare me for work, but my employer does not hold employees to as high a standard of work quality as I think they should." (Content Manager; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied English at St. Olaf College in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"You Must Be A Team Player...
I was surprised how much I work as part of a team as a Analyst. I work for a small company and the IT dept is quite small. I figured I would be working on my own quite often. My job almost always requires me to work as team." (System Analyst; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Information Systems at University Of Michigan in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"I was surprised to find that college level robotics didn't seem any different from high school level robotics. The work load seemed to be a little bit heavier but the coding and the procedures were the same." (Robotics Analyst; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Robotics at North Seattle Community College in Washington; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"There's no real standard in something as fluid as an IT field. Much of the work changes to keep up with the newer technology." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Computer Information Technology at South Texas College in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"There Is Not Enough Money To Do It Right...
The main thing that surprised me about my career was the demand on turn around and the amount of budget or lack there of in the work place. I believe most people would be surprised how high the turn over ratio is in this Industry." (Systems Analyst; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Bachelor Of Arts In Communication at Old Dominion University in Virginia; completed Associate degree in 1996


"Diplomacy Is Essential For Career Advancement...
I was surprised to find that skills in diplomacy are essential in any IT field. I assumed, as a systems analyst, I would go into a meeting, tell everyone how we are going to build a system, and everyone would agree. I had to learn to "listen" to others and accept input." (Sr. IT Analyst; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Business Communications at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2007


"Expand Beyond Your Technical Role...
I started my career in a DBA role and I'm slowly shifting away from the hard technical skills and into a role that blends the business side with the tech side. I originally thought that staying in a technical role would lead to job security and a climbing salary, but that wasn't the case. Begin in a technical role, but shift toward the business side as you accumulate subject matter expertise. Think about how your job function at an enterprise level. Geeks have a nice ceiling, but a much lower one than that of a business leader. My company is paying for my MBA right now- a good company will invest in technical employees that are able to interface well with those in traditional business-oriented roles." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Information Systems at University Of Minnesota in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"People Often Do Not Understand The Amount Of Knowledge Needed To Work In IT...
I was surprised to learn how most people regard IT in the corporate world. While not being superfluous, it has been my experience that many people take the creation and maintenance of software systems for granted. Many non-IT workers seem to feel that it is not a hard profession." (Systems Analyst/Programmer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Information Science at University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"I was surprised to learn how important effective communication is in this field. Business emails, update phone calls, and status reports all require excellent written and verbal skills." (Operations Analyst; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Arkansas At Little Rock in Arkansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2007


"Entry Level Jobs Easy To Obtain...
I was surprised at how easy it is to walk into a job like this with zero training and quickly get up to speed. Information security is a highly complex sector and requires vast amounts of knowledge, but it seems like it is actually easy to walk into at an entry level if you are competent in any regard." (Information Assurance Analyst; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, male
School: Studied English at Furman University in South Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Competence Of Coworkers...
I was surprised at the competence level of my coworkers. Often, I find myself having to correct errors that my coworkers make. I was surprised that my education would be significantly superior to theirs." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Truman State University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Understanding Business Processes And Being Able To Communicate With Others Is Just As Important As The Technical Skills...
I was under the impression that working in the IT field meant that I would be performing technical duties all day long. This has not turned out to be the case in the past two years in my job within the IT organization at my company. I perform a lot of project management and business analyst types of roles, where I need to understand the business functions and processes in order to then translate them into technical specifications. There is a lot of communication with the business and with other developers in order to get requirements finalized, deadlines set, and rollouts performed. I was always under the impression that I would be stuck in a cubicle all day programming without much communication, but this is not the case at all. I am very happy with this situation because I would have quickly become bored at my job had there not been this communication and planning aspect of my career." (IT Analyst; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Bellevue University in Nebraska; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Technology Is Always Changing - Change With It...
Technology is always changing - do not stop learning! I am surprised by many who get into this industry after graduating and thinking they are done with learning new things. They are quick to fall behind and get left behind." (Business Systems Analyst; 2014)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, male
School: Studied Finance at University Of Alabama in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 1992


"Learning Programming Advances Your Career Quickly...
I was most surprised about how beneficial knowing SAS coding was for getting a job. Although I am certainly not an expert, this knowledge basically got me the job." (Data Analyst; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Epidemiology at Tulane University in Louisiana; completed Master degree in 2012


"The greatest surprise was the diversity of the work. While people envision one set of activities for the job description, in actual practice the lines between systems analysis, application development, and system maintenance become very much blurred." (Systems Analyst; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Environmental Policy And Planning at Indiana University in Indiana; completed Master degree in 1978


"I was surprised to see so few females in the IT field. There have been more women in these jobs recently but still not as many as I expected. I am also surprised at how some workers are able to secure a good IT job without prior hands-on experience and just a degree diploma." (IT Analyst; 2012)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Computer Science at NC State in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2001


"One of the most surprising aspects of being in the IT industry was not so much about how quickly technology changes, but that the changing technologies was not the most important aspect of my field. Understanding business processes, having a good sense of logic, and good communication skills are keys to success in my field. Learning the new technology is not that difficult; having the other skill sets has really been the key to my success." (IT Analyst; 2012)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Computer Science at Bryant University in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 1982

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Systems Analyst: "I work with a wonderful team of people. I've been able to work my way up into a job at which I'm successful and well appreciated. I love the balance of customer contact and technical aspects of my job. I work in a windowless office, but get to talk daily with customers from all over the state. Analyzing and fixing technical problems is like putting together a puzzle, often very intricate and time consuming. But, when the final picture comes together, it is very satisfying." (2011)


Systems Analyst/Programmer: "The best part of my job is that I am never bored. It seems like there is always something going on related to Information Systems and I am right in the heart of it. I feel that I am an important part of the backbone of the company, because there are so many people and processes relying on me. It is also a great feeling to have the opportunity to use my creativity to fix problems or come up with new ways to address a problem." (2011)

Career Background


Systems Analyst

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Career Video

Career Tips


"Never Stop Learning...
To be successful as an IS Analyst, you must continue to further your education while specializing in your current area of responsibility." (Information Systems Analyst; 2014)


"If You Believe You Are Worth More, Act Like It...
Everyone has to enter the business world on the ground floor. If you are unable with the amount of money you make when you start, go above and beyond the parameters of your job description to prove you are worth more investment from your company. If you do this, it is likely your employer with invest in your monetarily and professionally." (Content Manager; 2014)


"Be A People Person...
Even though you are used to working with computers and wires, be personable too. You will ALWAYS work with people." (Business Systems Analyst; 2014)


"Analysis Skills Will Get You A Job In Health Care...
If you want to find a job related to health care, learn analytics reporting and software. This skill will make you stand out to employers." (Data Analyst; 2014)


"Follow The Money And The Companies That Earn It...
I would tell any student to focus on Television Networks because they seem to be the only people in the Business that have proper budget's." (Systems Analyst; 2014)


"Technically Successful...
My advice for long-term success is to focus on improving your soft skills (communication, presentation) as well as your hard skills (technical). Being a well-rounded, knowledgeable person separates you from the crowd." (IT Analyst; 2014)


"Develop Subject Matter Expertise...
Find a project and follow it around the world. Becoming a subject matter expert and knowing how to sell your solution is the surest way to survive in this economy." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Effective Communication Skills Will Enhance An IT Career...
Good communication skills will advance your IT career. I encourage every computer science major to minor in communications or English if possible, but at the very least, take several courses on effective presentations or public speaking." (Sr. IT Analyst; 2013)


"Memorization < Google...
Worry less about the current software and more about the overall theory. Most software codes and issues can be fixed with a simple google search, whereas if you don't know how to diagnose where the problem is, you will be there all day." (IT Tech; 2013)


"Patience Is Not Only A Virtue...
Make sure you have patience. A lot of times, end users have trouble explaining what they want and you must carefully pull it out of them. This can be a pain staking process and you must get right." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Business Knowledge...
Gain work experience while in school, take classes on business and management." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Skill Diversity Is Key...
It is good to be well rounded when entering the IT field. The more knowledge you have on multiple topics, the more diverse your background is." (Business Applications Analyst; 2013)


"Remember To Network...
Network as much as possible; both online and off. Technology changes and gets old quickly and you need to be able to change with it or at least have some help." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Grow Your People Skills...
Take a couple extra classes in communications. Although you may work on computers most of the day. You must be able to work with "people" and communicate with them effectively." (System Analyst; 2013)


"Learn More About The Additional Education...
Take the time to either do an internship/work study or shadow workers in the field. Find out what things you can do while in school that will get you ahead of the game." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Business Classes Should Be Taken To Make Your IT Education More Well-Rounded...
In order to do well in IT at a large company, take advantage of the various courses that your school offers. Do not just focus on the IT classes, but mix in some business classes as well. These basic business classes will help prepare you for your career in IT, as there is much more to this type of career then simply having the technical knowledge and skill sets." (IT Analyst; 2013)


"Communication Skills Are Key...
Hone your communication skills. IT is no longer a hidden department in many companies, and you will often be required to speak to your field in a clear and concise manner. Jargon is not usually helpful, so you should always be ready to speak about IT topics in a non-technical and easy-to-understand way." (Systems Analyst/Programmer; 2013)


"Stay On Top Of New Developments...
You have to keep learning. As you are already aware, things in computers get obsolete pretty quick, you have to be willing to take the time to learn about anything and everything. By knowing and doing all things with computers, you can find a job anywhere doing just about anything." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Certs Take Less Time And Money...
Focus on certifications rather than degrees. They take less time, less money, and don't bog you down with tons of useless facts. Get a mentor that has already done what you are trying to do. Find out what they did to be successful, and follow in their footsteps." (Information Assurance Analyst; 2013)


"Keep An Eye Open For Advancement Elsewhere...
Don't be afraid to look for other work in other places. There are lots of opportunities if you are willing to move, be flexible and work hard." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Mind Your Users...
Technology is only as good as the people who design it, deploy it, maintain it and use it everyday. Do not argue with the end users if they say a design is not intuitive. You may be overly attached. If they say it is confusing, it is confusing. Listen to the end user, periodically review with the end user, test with the end user--they are your most valuable resource." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Not An Easy Job...
For a person who is pursuing any career in computing or is interested in becoming a technical analyst. Please keep in mind that this is not the easiest job in the world. At times it can be very frustrating and the hours can be harsh. This is no cake walk." (Technical Analyst; 2013)


"Good Job And Pay For The Robotics Enthusiast...
If you have a knack for programming and like thinking of the future Robotics or anything related to it can be a really good choice. The money is decent and people really enjoy knowing someone who knows the "brain" of a robot." (Robotics Analyst; 2013)


"Communication Courses Important Too...
While your focus may be largely in technical or math related courses, pay close attention in your communication courses as well. Your ability to convey information will be very important later on." (Operations Analyst; 2013)


"Know The Industry You Work In, Not Just IT...
Whatever industry you end up in, take whatever time is necessary to really understand the industry. It's not enough to have a technical skill set - you need to know how to apply that skill set in a business context." (Business Analyst/Project Manager; 2013)


"Good Analysts Are In Demand...
There's always a demand for you, and if you're good, companies will compete for you." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Network With Everyone...
The main tip I can give is that you need to network with EVERYONE, you never know if the guy you're having a conversation with today at work could start his own multimillion dollar company and hire you. Also finding a job can be hard at first but don't give up, apply everywhere and send your resume in. ALWAYS follow up and call them back about the job, just stick with it." (Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Learn One Language Inside Out...
Pick one programming language and learn it inside and out. This will be your base language that you can rely on for any task." (Software Analyst; 2013)


"Take Computer Science Courses And Engage In Self-Directed Study...
If you want to be a business systems analyst, take as many courses in computer science as you can. Also, never hesitate to engage in self-directed study and other free information available on the Internet. I particularly recommend the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offerings now available from MIT, Stanford and Udacity, to name the most well known." (Business Systems Analyst; 2013)


"Be Nice To Support Employees...
1. Absorb as much technical knowledge as you can, whether in class or in real life. 2. My first job did not involve any technical skill, but because I have something of an aptitude for it, I squirreled my way into it. When you find that you are good at something, push in that direction. Request related assignments and put them on your resume. 3. Always be friendly and gracious to your support staff. You will find your job much easier and you'll your name in the right ears if they like and respect you." (Systems Analyst; 2011)


"Tinker With Computers At Home...
Never be afraid to dig deep into figuring out how or why a system works the way it does. Build a test system, break it, or take it apart, and then try to put it back together again. So much can be learned just by playing around at home. College is very important, but so is ability and real-life experience. School can teach you the fundamentals, but getting out there and doing things for yourself is so important." (Systems Analyst/Programmer; 2011)