Becoming a Specialist Systems Analyst in South Africa

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What is a systems analyst?

System analysts are responsible for the maintenance and improvement of computer systems within an organization. As organizations move more operations, processes, and communication online, this IT role is becoming increasingly popular and in demand. Systems Analysts often work beyond normal hours to ensure that there are no interruptions to business. The System Analyst job description must emphasize the need to be able to communicate complex ideas and logic to others. Systems analysts work in the IT industry to find solutions to problems by connecting different systems or computers. They also need to determine which platform, protocols, and software can be used and what communications mediums are available.

Business analysis vs System analysis

Systems analysts are typically limited to a given system or assigned area. They often work alongside business analysts. Although they may overlap in some ways, these roles are not identical. The business analyst will assess the business needs and design the solution. However, they won't go into too much detail about the technical aspects of the solution. Instead, they will rely on a systems analyst. Systems analysts will often review code and modify scripts.

It is possible to become a system analyst by applying for admission to the BCom in Information Systems and/or computer science foundation BCom. This degree can be obtained after successful matriculation and satisfying the minimum requirements of the new NSC. These include a minimum entry level of +50% or +70% in Mathematics Literacy and a minimum entry level in the English Language. Candidates with higher accomplishments, such as a higher pass score in Mathematics (or Mathematics Literacy), and English Language, will be preferred in the selection process. Please note that university entry requirements can vary from one university to the next.

You could be employed as an IT Project Manager or Computer Systems Analyst, Computer or Information System Technician, or Chief Technology Officer.

Qualifications of Systems Analyst

·    Bachelor's degree or equivalent in information technology or computer science.

·    4 to 6 years of experience in information technology and system analysis

·    Strong analytical, computer, and hardware skills

·    Demonstrated ability to identify business needs and translate them into solutions

·    Solid understanding and knowledge of database administration and maintenance principles

·    Experience installing, configuring, and documenting new systems and applications.

·    A wide range of programming languages is required to be proficient in the job.

Career advancement opportunities may include:

·    Promotion to a senior analyst or lead analyst and leading a team

·    Indirect moves within an organization, such as the development of technical expertise (in a role as a systems/technical administrator)

·    Project management or sales and accounts management roles

·    Moving in a more strategic direction within the company or through a consulting firm.

·    Your career path will be affected by the size and structure of the company you work for.

The projected growth in employment of computer system analysts from 2021-2031 is 9 percent, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations.

On average, there will be 44,500 computer system analyst openings each year. This is a 10-year average. Many of these openings will be caused by the need to replace workers who leave the workforce or transfer to other occupations.

Let's talk about money

A Systems Analyst who has less than one year of experience can expect to be paid an average total salary (including tips, bonus, and overtime) of R250 000. An early career Systems Analyst can expect to earn an average total compensation of R350 000 for 1-4 years. A mid-career Systems Analyst earns around R490 000 in total compensation. An experienced Systems Analyst with 10-20 years of experience will earn an average total salary of R600 000, based upon their previous work. Employees earn an average total salary of R690 000 in their final years of employment (20 and above). These figures are approximate and are based on comparison. It has been noted that the salaries depend on a wide range of factors namely being: company (firm) of employment, region of employment and experience. 

These are the top universities in South Africa to study information systems and computer science.

·    The University of Pretoria

·    The University of Johannesburg

·    The University of KwaZulu Natal

Why would you want to pursue a career as a systems analyst?

You will use your technical and research skills to improve and lead business functions. This is a broad range of industries. It's great to be in high demand, make a decent salary, and do what you love: tinkering with computer systems and solving problems.

As a systems analyst you need to have/be:

·    an ability to learn quickly and be proficient with the software and systems used by the company

·    outstanding organizational skills and attention to detail.

·    vast knowledge of programming and computer systems.

·    have Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.

·    great interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to work with others.

·    good problem-solving and analytical skills.

·    vast knowledge of programming and computer systems.

Look out for an interview from a systems analyst and potential bursaries!

Hear what Specialist Systems Analyst Nosi September has to say about her career! Interview

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