Computer systems analysts install operating systems and any specialized
software that a company uses. They also maintain these systems and keep them
running. They consult with their clients to determine which systems would
meet their needs.
Computer systems analysts are also called "system administrators" or "sysadmins"
Sysadmins perform regular maintenance, including fixing errors caused by
users and making sure that all software is up to date. They ensure that computer
applications and services are secure.
The exact duties will vary by company, and by what a system administrator
is working on.
"We fix other people's mistakes," says Broderick Wood. He's a senior systems
analyst with a university.
"About 90 percent of our work is on the software side," explains Denise
Welch. She's a computer systems analyst in Palm Springs. "We try to identify
how a business could use a piece of software better. It might mean work such
as keeping programs like Microsoft Outlook working properly within a company
setting, for example. People need to share calendars, so the program needs
constant updating to ensure everything is running smoothly."
Computer systems analysts might also work with other devices, such as digital
camcorders, cell phones, PDAs, Blackberries and so on.
The most sought-after computer systems analysts are those who can communicate
with people as well as with computers.
A systems analyst may be responsible for creating computer security and
passwords and developing databases. They should also be available if the customer
needs help with a program at a later date.
The work generally runs Monday to Friday during regular office hours.
However, shift work, weekend work and overtime hours are common in larger
companies and consulting firms. Analysts are sometimes asked to be on call
for emergency system failures.
"If you have remote access to fix a problem quickly when it emerges, this
often saves a lot of time later," explains Wood.
Systems analysts generally work in clean, well-lit offices. However, because
they work at a computer station all day, they're susceptible to repetitive
strain injury and eye fatigue. In order to prevent these types of injuries,
they should take frequent breaks from their work.
Analysts spend some time away from their desk. Travel is required if they
visit their clients' offices to develop a system.
With the right resources (for example, braille and enhanced hearing devices),
people with certain kinds of special needs may still be able to work in this
field. "The biggest requirement is clarity of mind for troubleshooting and
the ability to understand complex situations and interactions," says Wood.
Sysadmins people are often familiar with many other aspects of computer
work, according to Wood. There are many opportunities for promotion or branching
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Develop and assess computer systems, work with data and supervise
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Computer Systems Analysts
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