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Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts may best be described as systems consultants who assist organizations to realise the maximum benefit from their investment in computer equipment and personnel. At all times systems analysts are accountable to clients in developing the best possible systems according to the requirements specified.

In summary, systems analysts study clients' systems requirements, write comprehensive programs and system specifications to meet these requirements, then finally consult with the users of the system to ensure higher production. They are also responsible for the detailed design of computer systems, which a programmer can convert into a computer language.

Their work follows a very logical step-by-step format. For any project undertaken these steps may include the following:

Systems analysts consult with the client in order to determine the client's needs and requirements. They then decide whether and how computers or computer applications could be used to improve them.

They then draw up diagrams of how the work is to be done and work out the new system's requirements and specifications. In some cases, the system analyst may work with a system designer to draw up detailed charts and diagrams that indicate the various components involved.

They specify the inputs to be accessed by the system, design the processing steps and format the output to meet the users' needs. Analysts use techniques such as structured analysis, data modelling, information engineering, mathematical model building, sampling and cost accounting to plan the system.

They then check the feasibility and workability of a conceptual design. This may include the preparation of cost-benefit and return-on-investment analyses to help management decide whether implementing the proposed system would be financially feasible.

After receiving approval they may then oversee the system's development, including design, choice of computers and computer programs.

Finally, they test the new system with a variety of people and fine-tune the system where necessary.

Most systems analysts work with the specific type of system, application or field in which they have experience:

Applications system analysts undertake design tasks for specific applications. For example a business computer application or system may include the development of a new payroll or stock control system.

Database analysts play a role in devising databases to suit large data acquisition, storage and retrieval requirements. These analysts develop database solutions that satisfy client need for high-speed access, multiple views of the same information, accuracy and security, and the sharing of information between systems.

Network analysts are generally involved in the development of in-house networks for mainframe systems. This work can be very complex, with large numbers of protocols, platforms and software solutions needing to communicate with each other.

Operations systems designers are involved in the design and implementation of operational systems, with the objective of optimising systems performance. The focus is on operational systems such as mainframes and desktop solutions.

Software analysts work in the area of design and modification of the operating environment software that links computer software and hardware.

Systems architects examine the hardware requirements that support systems implementation across personal computers, mainframes or networks.

Systems researchers specialize in systems investigation and research for the on-going development of hardware and software.

Business systems analysts study the overall business and information needs of an organization, in order to develop solutions to business and related technology problems.

Satisfying Aspects
- challenging work
- variety of work
- working with others
- opportunity to be creative
- very good employment opportunities
- good remuneration

Demanding aspects
- frustration of programming problems
- having to work long hours to complete
- emergency projects or rectify problems
- stress of having to pay close attention to detail at all times
- dealing with over-demanding clients

- thorough knowledge of computers
- aptitude for mathematics
- insight into the functioning of organizations
- able to think clearly and logically
- above average intelligence
- self-discipline
- sound judgement and good decision-making skills
- initiative and perseverance
- proficient in computer languages
- able to write technical reports
- ability to conceptualize and think creatively
- excellent interpersonal communication skills
- persuasive, patient manner
- team leadership capabilities

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma    requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Information Technology

Degree: BSc Computer Science or Information Systems or Information Technology as major, or a BCom. degree with information systems - RU, UCT, UWC, NMMU, UFS, Wits, US, UP, UNISA, UKZN, UJ, UZ, UFH, NWU, Monash.

Diploma: N.Dip.: Computer Technology or N.Dip: Computer Data Processing - CUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, CPUT, UNISA.

- the information technology industry
- large computer companies
- large business and industrial organizations
- government departments
- provincial administrations
- computer bureaus
- any company or business using computer systems and networks
- self-employment, on a consultancy basis.

Computer Society of SA   
P O Box 1714
Halfway House, 1685
ICT House
546 16th Road
Constantia Park [Unit No.3]
Tel: (011) 315-1319 Fax: (011) 315-2276

ISETT (Information Systems Electronics & Telecommunication Technologies)
P O Box 5585 Halfway House 1685
Tel: (011) 805 5115 Fax: (011) 805 6833