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Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
Network systems and data communications analysts design, test, and evaluate systems such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), the Internet, intranets, and other data communications systems.

Systems are configured in many ways and can range from a connection between two offices in the same building to globally distributed networks, voice-mail and email systems of a multinational organization. Network systems and data communications analysts perform network modelling, analysis, and planning, often requiring both hardware and software solutions. For example, a network may involve the installation of several pieces of hardware, such as routers and hubs, wireless adaptors, and cables, while also requiring the installation and configuration of software, such as network drivers. Analysts also may research related products and make necessary hardware and software recommendations.

Network systems and data communications analysts normally work in offices or laboratories in comfortable surroundings. They typically work about 40 hours a week, the same as many other professional or office workers. Telecommuting is increasingly common for many computer professionals as networks expand, allowing more work to be done from remote locations through modems, laptops, electronic mail, and the Internet. However, some work still must be done in the office for security or other reasons.

Common work tasks are to:

- perform network modelling, analysis, and planning, often requiring both hardware and software solutions
- install routers and hubs, wireless adaptors, cables, and network drivers
- maintain files by adding and deleting them on the network server and backing up files in the event of problems with the network or electricity supply failure
- set up user accounts, regulate and monitor file access to ensure confidentiality and proper use
- design and implement systems, network configurations, and network architecture, including hardware and software technology, site locations, and integration of technology
- identify areas of operation that need upgraded equipment such as modems, fibre optic cables and telephone wires
- test and evaluate hardware and software to determine efficiency, reliability, and compatibility with existing systems, and make purchase recommendations
- read technical manuals and brochures to determine which equipment meets establishment requirements

Satisfying Aspects
- knowing that you are playing a crucial role in the workplace
- availability of many job opportunities in this field

Demanding aspects
- evening or weekend work may be necessary to meet deadlines or to solve specific problems
- having to concentrate for long periods of time
- having to be ‘on call’ in case of system failure

- have good communication skills
- be able to think logically
- have an analytical mind
- enjoy developing original solutions to problems
- be able to concentrate and pay close attention to detail

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting requirements for degree course

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Computer Science

Since relevant computer skills are always essential for network systems and data communications analysts, many enter this field with different levels of formal training since training requirements can vary according to occupation. Most employers seek applicants who have bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS).

- business management organisations
- financial firms
- insurance companies
- government agencies
- factories

Computer Society of South Africa
P O Box 1714
Halfway House, 1685
Tel: (011) 315-1319 Fax: (011) 315-2276