A software analyst, sometimes called a computer systems analyst, checks computer programs to ensure they are meeting the needs and demands of users. He acts much like a quality control specialist on a development team. Before a software product is released, he goes through it with a fine toothed comb to be sure everything meets expectations and standards.
The Required Education and Important Skills
A software analyst needs and uses many of the same skills as software developers and other IT specialists. These include, but are not limited to, knowledge of programming languages and knowledge of computer systems and hardware. Depending on the specific software being developed, the analyst may also need to be very familiar with a certain business’s network or the graphics engine for a certain game.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or similar is required to show businesses that a person has a professional level of education. The candidate may also want to pursue various certifications in programming and IT.
Attention to detail is one of the most important skills for a software analyst. As the quality checker, he must know the ins and outs of the program completely and must be able to stop issues in user-interface or coding that may cause hassles for users later on. The analyst must also be able to predict the wants and needs of users to be sure the program meets those expectations.
The work environment for a software analyst has a broad range of possibilities. The majority of analysts will work on a software development team, but that is about the only given. Work hours and environment will depend greatly on the company the analyst works for. He may be huddled in a cramped development office for long hours if he is part of a small development firm, or he may be traversing the floors of a New York skyscraper if hired for a big business.
One thing that a software analyst should be good friends with is his computer. Most analysis work is done independently on the computer. They will need to occasionally meet with their team members or prepare presentations on a program for non-IT executives and managers, but mostly they will be working alone.
The Bridge Between Business and IT
A common part of a software analyst’s job is to serve as a bridge between the IT side of a company and the business side of the company. When the executives see a demand for a software product or a technology need in their own company, they will explain their need to their IT department. The software analyst will be the one to translate those business needs into something the computer experts and developers can work with. During the project, the analyst will usually be the one to show the work-in-progress to the executives and detail how the completed project is going to meet the business or consumer needs initially demanded. Finally, at the project’s end, the analyst will check to ensure that the completed product is correct and will then demonstrate to the executives how the product will perform.
Good software analysts end up with a dual nature. They need to be technical experts to work with IT, but they also need to be business minded and sociable to work with the executives and consumers. This career can be exciting and lucrative for those interested in both the affairs of business and the solutions technology can bring.