A systems analyst is very similar to a business analyst. A business analyst focuses on business processes and finding a solution to a problem from a stakeholder perspective. A systems analyst has more of a technical focus. This role was developed in a time when developing a system was far more technologically intensive than it is in today's world. The system analyst works with the client to develop user requirements; however, they focus on the technical requirements required for the solution to be created. Systems analysts will also advise the client on the ability of an existing system to support proposed change of an existing system.
Historically the systems analyst would advise the client if the required changes could be completed in light of the technical elements that were needed to make it happen.
Today, very few organisations employ systems analysts, as the need for this role has decreased with automated technological advances. The business analyst role now encompasses much of the historical system analyst responsibilities.
A systems analyst exhibits a combination of capabilities from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and from the Leadership competencies for Queensland.
Within the SFIA profile, the systems analyst has level 4 and 5 capabilities, i.e. enables, ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Refer to the framework for descriptions of the seven levels of responsibility and accountability.
SFIA skill code
SFIA skill level of responsibility
SFIA skills level descriptor
Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.
Adopts and adapts appropriate systems design methods, tools and techniques selecting appropriately from predictive (plan-driven) approaches or adaptive (iterative/agile) approaches, and ensures they are applied effectively. Designs large or complex systems. Undertakes impact analysis on major design options and trade-off. Makes recommendations and assesses and manages associated risks. Reviews others' systems designs to ensure selection of appropriate technology, efficient use of resources, and integration of multiple systems and technology. Ensures that the system design balances functional and non-functional requirements. Contributes to development of systems design policies and standards and selection of architecture components.
Programming/ software development
Designs, codes, verifies, tests, documents, amends and refactors complex programs/scripts and integration software services. Contributes to selection of the software development approach for projects, selecting appropriately from predictive (plan-driven) approaches or adaptive (iterative/agile) approaches. Applies agreed standards and tools, to achieve well-engineered outcomes. Participates in reviews of own work and leads reviews of colleagues' work.
Leadership competencies for Queensland describes what highly effective, everyday leadership looks like in the sector. In simple, action-oriented language, it provides a common understanding of the foundations for success across all roles. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 11 leadership competencies required against five leadership streams.
Leadership streams are not connected to a level or classification, but rather reflect the balance between leadership and technical skills required of an individual. Individuals can consider the value proposition of roles rather than the traditional lens of hierarchical structures or classification levels. The five leadership streams are:
- Individual contributor (Leads self and does not supervise others)
- Team leader (leads a team and typically reports to a program leader)
- Program leader (leads team leaders and/or multiple areas of work)
- Executive (leads program leaders or other executives)
- Chief executive (leads the organisation).
When developing a role description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
A degree level qualification in information technology is very highly regarded. Skills in programming and highly developed communication skills are essential in this role.
A diploma level qualification can helpful in gaining entry to a degree level course if the applicant does not have the required year 12 passes.