The Life of a Systems Analyst

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A System Analyst is a person who uses analysis and design techniques to solve business problems using information technology. They are responsible for maintaining and improving computer systems for an organization and its clients.

So, What Does a Systems Analyst Actually Do?

At Segue, Systems Analysts are often responsible for working with the customer and assisting with maintenance, upgrades, and development of new features for a new or existing system. They also share responsibility for supporting the user base, troubleshooting, and contributing to the overall security posture of the system.

As with any position, the responsibilities of a Systems Analyst may vary depending on the level of experience (entry, mid, senior, lead) and the project/client we support. In general, a System Analyst is responsible for:

Meet and coordinate with internal and external stakeholders to establish project scope and system goals

Conduct elicitation activities with stakeholders to identify system requirements

Examine existing IT systems, interfaces, and business processes to assess the current state

Define future states requirements and coordinate with project team on proposals for modified or replacement systems

Collaborate with project team and end users to ensure technical compatibility and user satisfaction

Translate elicited requirements into user stories/cases with well-defined acceptance criteria

Document and update requirements in a system with versioning such as Atlassian Jira/Confluence

Update requirements throughout the development lifecycle and maintain requirements traceability

Verify development implementation to ensure it meets all approved user stories/cases

Coordinate with Quality Control (QC) on the development and execution of validation testing procedures

Guide stakeholders through the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) process

Oversee implementation of a new system including data migration

Coordinate the project team to address reported errors and alarms

Provide requirement documentation, end-user guides, and training as needed

Evaluate implemented solutions to identify their value and identify opportunities for improvement

Stay up to date with current technologies and technical developments

Skills and Competencies

Systems Analysts have a balance of technical expertise and soft skills, some of the skills we look for when hiring are:

  • Soft skills: critical thinking ability, attention to detail, strong problem-solving capacity, strong written and verbal communication skills, time management skills, ability to work under pressure and to meet tight deadlines, interpersonal skills.
  • Technical skills: extensive knowledge of software development lifecycle (SDLC); ability to assess business needs and translate them into relevant solutions; experience eliciting and documenting high-level and detail-level requirements; experience writing system documentation (for example: System Requirements Specification (SRS), traceability matrix, user guides); familiarity with common programming languages (for example: SQL, Oracle, Visual Basic, C++, and Java) and available technology solutions; experience troubleshooting system errors; working knowledge of QA processes and QC practices.

What’s It Like to Be a Systems Analyst?

An Interview with Nicole Pearson, Business Analyst Lead III at Segue Technologies Inc.

Why did you decide to pursue a Systems Analyst job/career?

Years ago, as part of my “other duties as assigned,” I served as a point of contact for a new budgeting system my department requisitioned. I was tasked with gathering all the suggestions from the end users, documenting them for my supervisor’s review, and then meeting with the developers. I enjoyed the process of defining requirements and working with the developers on solutions, so I accepted the opportunity to become an Analyst when it was offered to me.

What educational path did you take to become a Business Analyst?

You don’t necessarily need any specific qualifications to land a job as an entry-level Business Analyst. Previous work experience relating to troubleshooting, process improvement or change management are valuable. I, like many others, become an Analyst with no formal qualifications in the Information Technology field. I had Bachelor’s in Criminology & Criminal Justice when hired by Segue and earned an MBA in Finance soon after. The most common degree held by Systems/Business analysts is Computer Science, but other common ones are Information Technology, and Management Information Systems.

What certifications or tests did you need to pass, if any, to enter the field and/or progress in your career?

The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) offers three certifications for professional business analysis: Entry Certificate in Business Analysis™ (ECBA™), Certification of Capability in Business Analysis (CCBA®), and Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®). These certifications are intended for the Business Analysis practitioners who want to get recognition to demonstrate their business analysis skills and knowledge.

How did you prepare for them?

I prepared for certification exams by reading the Business Analyst Book of Knowledge (BABOK) and attending an exam prep course. I also took practice exams online.

What were they like?

IIBA exams are proctored, timed, and contain multiple choice questions formulated from the BABOK® Guide. You have the option of taking the certification exams online remote allowing you to take any IIBA exam securely from the convenience of your home or office. You can also choose to take your exam in-person at a testing center located near you.

What is a typical day like for you? Please elaborate

Typically, I spend my mornings developing elicited information into user stories for new or changing functionality. Throughout my day I attend meetings, usually Sprint ceremonies, with the Development Team to refine requirements for features. In the afternoon I create wireframes to prompt stakeholder feedback and updating documentation in Atlassian Jira.

What are the 5 main duties/responsibilities of a Business Analyst?

Systems Analysts review client’s current systems and procedures, and then find a way for them to operate in a more efficient and effective way. To accomplish this, an analyst needs to:

  1. Elicit information through collaboration with the stakeholders,
  2. Define the future and transition states needed to address the business need
  3. Refine elicitation results into user stories and designs,
  4. 4 Evaluate the performance of the developed solution, and
  5. Keep requirements documented and updating throughout the project lifecycle

For whom do you think this career is a good fit? Why?

A successful Business Analyst needs a detail-oriented, analytical mind, and also an appreciation of business processes and goals. The Analyst work also involves plenty of talking, so good communication skills are needed. Being inquisitive and curious will help when eliciting requirements, organizational skills will help document findings, record changes, and keep documentation updated at the situation changes.

What is your favorite part of being a Business Analyst?

My favorite part is seeing something I helped define go from idea to implementation.

What is the most challenging part of working as a Business Analyst?

Absent or indecisive stakeholders can be the most challenging part of eliciting requirements. Sometimes you will be given access to an application and told to “make it better” with minimum stakeholder input on what currently is “bad” about it. Using Agile Development practices help mitigate changes in requirements, but nothing counters a stakeholder that is too busy to collaborate with you on how to make their application better.

The most rewarding aspects?

I find it most rewarding when the end users test the application and are genuinely pleased with the results. It’s nice seeing users happy that the innovations excited to use the application or feature that I helped define.

What advice do you have for individuals considering becoming a Business Analyst?

Don’t be afraid to ask, “Why?” and not just “How?”  You will find out that sometimes people do things just because that’s the way it was done, or how they were taught, but it’s not a value-added activity. Activities not backed by a regulation or compliance requirement can often be minimized and sometimes eliminated.

What do you like about working at Segue as a Business Analyst?

I like that Segue has a wide array of clients and programs, so I often float between different applications based on need. I like learning new systems, seeing different ways people accomplish things. and innovating new ways of accomplishing it.

Fun fact you can share about your role at Segue?

Initially, I was on the client end of things. Segue built a budget system for my department, and I was the point of contact for working with Sague’s development team when the system went into production. I liked working with Segue on solutions, and Ron Novak liked my attention to detail when documenting requests from the end users. He offered me a position as a Systems Analyst at Segue and I’ve been Team Segue ever since.

If you are interested in joining our team or exploring our career opportunities visit Segue’s career page or share your resume with our Recruitment team at To find more information about our team members go to Segue’s Blog: Employee Spotlight.