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Computer Systems Analysts

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Essay title: Computer Systems Analysts

Computer Systems Analysts

COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYSTS are responsible for designing computer information

systems, modifying systems to improve production or work flow, or expanding

systems to serve new purposes. The information they deal with relates to

all aspects of an employer's operations planning, monitoring, testing,

accounting, forecasting, coordination, scheduling, etc. They must

understand the capabilities of the firm's equipment and software, and may

be asked to provide recommendations about selection of new equipment or

software packages. They may be responsible for a firm's entire system or

part of it, or work from project to project. They also may analyze systems

for their employer or for client firms.

The first task of the Computer Systems Analyst is the evaluation of business

procedures and problems. Analysts begin an assignment by talking with

managers or specialists to determine the precise nature of the problem and

to break it down into its component parts. This may involve interviews with

staff to specifically identify what information is being processed, where it

comes from, and where it goes. In addition to the interview method of data

collection, analysts also conduct written surveys and observe workers

performing tasks. On occasion an Analyst may assume the worker's role for a

week or so in order to understand and document the processes being performed.

After sufficient information has been collected, the analyst prepares charts

and diagrams that constitute a representation of the new system in terms

which managers or non-data-processing personnel can understand. Analysts

consult with management throughout this phase in order to confirm that the

analyst and the management agree on the principles of the system. Analysts

also prepare analyses which present cost versus benefit as a result of

implementing the proposed new system.

Once the system is accepted, Systems Analysts prepare specifications for

programmers to follow. The specifications include detailed descriptions of

the records, files, and documents used in processing, and data flow charts

describing the interrelationship of the data elements to be considered by

the programmers. The analysts also coordinate the development of test

problems to debug the system and participate in trial runs of the systems.

They also may determine what computer hardware and software will be needed

to set up the system. Some analysts also prepare programs and may be known

as Programmer Analysts.

In computer manufacturing firms, Systems Analysts design application

software for the computers. They also prepare technical documentation and

instructional manuals relevant to the establishment and functioning of

entire operational systems.

Because the possible uses for computers are so varied and complex, Computer

Systems Analysts usually specialize in either business, scientific, or

engineering applications. Often, they have training or experience in the

field in which they develop computer systems.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Systems Analysts usually work about 40 hours a week, the same as other

professional and office workers.

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