The GlobalCareer team regularly encounters requests for systems analysts. They’re in high demand by both large industrial or financial holdings and young startups. Today we’ll find out who they are, get an understanding of the labor market and talk about the qualities and skills that professional consultants pay attention to during interviews.
In the IT sphere, two main types of analysts are in demand: business analysts and systems analysts. Business analysts use various business analysis tools to define tasks in business systems and support the business logic of a project. Systems analysts base their work on information received from business analysts. They create tasks for developers creating software that solves business problems.
Depending on a company’s activities, the required technical skills, experience and education of a prospective systems analyst may vary. But as a general rule, employers expect experience in communicating business requirements and technical tasks, database skills, good knowledge of SQL and the use of basic tools for describing business processes (BPMN, UML).
Angela Krytsina, GlobalCareer consultant, explains «A systems analyst is a translator from the language of business to the language of developers and vice versa. Therefore, the key feature is communication directly with developers. So they should at least understand programming languages, and if they have experience in programming, then this is real luck.»
The Tasks of a Systems Analyst:
- Statement of TK, functional requirements for developers.
- Formation of technical specifications for the development of systems architecture, databases, integration solutions, etc.
- Coordination of the development process, writing test scripts, participation in testing.
- Acceptance of code from developers.
- In some cases, writing queries to the database, conducting code-review, participating in writing, code refinements.
According to GlobalCareer, at the beginning of this year the index of pressure of business analysts in Moscow was 5.2, while that of systems analysts was −2.5 suggesting that systems analysts are harder to find. However, it’s worth noting that in many vacancies and resumes for business analysts, the listed functions are actually those of a systems analyst. Because of this, it’s possible to make mistakes during candidate selection.
To avoid this, it’s good to remember that systems analysts do not report, do not consider indicators and do not calculate risks. They formulate requirements and participate in the development of systems that do all of this. Therefore, specialists with experience in marketing, investment and financial analytics, business process optimizers, risk analytics and sales analytics, as well as data analytics/BigData and the people who make up the managerial, regulatory and financial statements will definitely not suit you as a systems analyst.
Ekaterina Chepikova, GlobalCareer senior consultant, remarks, “Recently, the bulk of requests for finding systems analysts have come from Moscow. Although such vacancies also regularly open up in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and many other Russian cities where companies have large development centers. High demand for these specialists is observed in the banking industry, IT and retail companies. As for the requirements, in each case they are individual. For some projects, the strong technical base of the candidate is of great importance, for some, experience in a similar industry is valuable, and someone wants to see a systems analyst who himself was a developer in the past..
It is quite difficult to determine the level of competence of a systems analyst by resume alone. Therefore, GlobalCareer consultants recommend asking the following questions:
- How does the candidate describe the architecture and functionality of the products with which he worked?
A great systems analyst should be well versed in the technologies used in the project. Of course, the final decision is up to the architect. But the analyst must understand why they did just that and what factors influenced the choice of a solution. The response style — words and terms — will demonstrate how well the candidate is guided in what is happening and whether, if necessary, they can explain the essence of the processes to a fellow programmer.
- At what level does the candidate know SQL and how long has he used it in his work?
For a better understanding, you can ask for examples of queries they’ve recently used, specifying whether they worked with nested queries, ranking, aggregation or grouping functions. These days almost any website uses relational databases and SQL is the most efficient way to work with them.
- What tools for describing business processes does the candidate use?
It is important that the candidate has modeling skills in BPMN and UML notations. In addition, they must be able to read and understand other types of notations, because in their work they’ll be interacting with many different employees.
- What documentation practices were used in previous projects, and what types of documents did the candidate compose?
Because documentation compiled by the systems analyst helps generate documents that explain the work processes of the company, you need to find a candidate with excellent documentation skills. This will allow for the setup of systems and a clear delineation in areas of responsibility between project participants in the present, and also preserves the transparency of work schemes in the future. It also enables team members to get all the necessary information on the project at any time.
In addition to professional knowledge, during the interview it is important to evaluate the overall experience of the candidate in project work. You can do this by asking:
- What methodologies does the candidate work on (Agile/Scrum, RUP, Waterfall, etc.)?
This will help you understand how the candidate’s experience aligns with the current development process within the company.
- What type of team did the candidate work on?
The answer to this question will make it possible to predict how quickly the candidate will be able to adapt and join in new tasks. For example, if the applicant is used to working in teams that assume universality but is recruited to a company with a clear distribution of tasks, they may need more time to get used to the new conditions.
The truth is, to adequately assess the skills of an applicant, just answering these questions is not enough. To discover how a candidate solves problems at work, a test task is required. The best option is to have the customer assign a small task for the candidate to complete during the interview, taking into account specific company activities. Since any task has several solutions, the systems analyst should aim to choose the most optimal one and explain their workings.
Often, it’s the solution to the technical task that helps inform the final decision regarding an applicant. In our experience, there have been a number of cases when only after this stage did it become clear that the applicant was more of a business analyst, lacking a number of core systems analyst skills.
The selection of systems analysts is a painstaking process. But the GlobalCareer base and the experience of our consultants allow us to search for candidates with even the rarest competencies quickly and efficiently. If you need an excellent systems analyst, we will help you find them. Leave your application here.