What's an Application Analyst?
Applications analysts have a hands-on role to play in maintaining IT services and providing support for service users. They are typically responsible for monitoring applications and software infrastructures, in addition to other administrative duties.
As an applications analyst, you will ensure the safety, integrity and availability of the applications and data infrastructures which form information systems within an organisation. You will play a pivotal role in making sure that all the processes a business needs to function are running as smoothly as possible, which will involve being a technical point of contact to fix system and application issues.
Typical application analyst roles will be within larger IT departments, comprising software engineers and app developers, which means you could also be in charge of staff training, diagnosing application errors, long-term problem resolution, and designing and implementing new applications. Application analyst roles can also be advertised as system analyst, technical adviser and problem analyst roles.
Depending on your employer, you may need to:
- Identify improvements in existing software infrastructures
- Analyse and resolve technical issues and error trends to minimise outages and downtime
- Develop tech specs to create roadmaps for future software improvements
- Integrate and test new applications and systems
- Oversee routine system upgrades and backups
- Train other members of the IT team, where necessary
- Respond to support requests
- Run in-depth diagnostics on system errors
- Propose new application solutions
- Regularly attend external and internal meetings
- Manage and maintain servers
- Work alongside software suppliers to meet the objectives and requirements of the company
- Keep records of linked applications and key databases
- Oversee functionality changes
- Promptly flag system issues to users of the applications
- The starting salary of an applications analyst is £29,000 – £32,000 – depending on qualification, specialism, and certification
- The average salary of an applications analyst is £42,000
- The salary potential for an application analyst trained in Bash Scripting, UNIX or SQL is £45,000 – £48,000
Applications analysts in full-time employment can expect to work the office hours of 9 am – 6 pm, Monday – Friday. Overtime or weekend work may be required depending on the nature of the project. However, employers in this sector tend to be flexible by allowing their employees to take time off following overtime.
For experienced analysts, contract, part-time and freelance work is also available.
What to Expect
- The majority of your working day will be spent working with computer-based systems; however, some roles may need you to move, carry and set up heavy equipment.
- Your prioritisation skills will be put to the test as you will need to handle and switch between tasks of varying urgency.
- You will commonly work as part of a team on multiple projects, depending on the nature of your employment.
- You will need to communicate with external clients and internal members of staff.
- The dress code can be relaxed, but this will depend on the nature of the company you are working for and if you will be meeting clients on a regular basis.
- You will be expected to keep your finger on the pulse of new technology and applications.
While it is possible to be a successful application analyst candidate without an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, it is worth bearing in mind that you will be in direct competition with other candidates who hold relevant degrees in informational technology, information systems and computer science. Engineering and mathematics graduates may also have a competitive edge in the sector.
Regardless of your qualifications, you may be asked to present a work portfolio to exhibit your skills as an applications analyst; strong technical skills are also essential.
The technical skills required vary with each position; however, you can expect to see Microsoft SQL, #C, CSS and HTML5 listed on the candidate criteria. Commonly, technical experience is the main deciding factor during the interview process; therefore, it is important to garner as much of it as possible to stand out in the highly competitive job market.
Application Analysts will need to demonstrate:
- Lateral problem-solving abilities
- The capacity for high-quality customer care and service
- An ability to think analytically
- An exceptional eye for detail
- The virtue of patience to withstand the often-frustrating projects.
- A proactive and positive attitude while working alone and as part of a team
- Project management capacities, including being able to work to deadlines
- Excellent interpersonal skills (verbal and written)
- A willingness to continuously learn about new applications and technologies
- The ability to create strong relationships with stakeholders
- An ability to communicate information without using jargon or overly complex language when relaying information to clients and other non-technical users
The vast majority of employers require their applicants to have prior work experience. For graduate and junior application analysts, the best way to get on the first rung of the career ladder is by partaking in a placement or internship or searching for charities advertising volunteer support roles. Your primary stage interview will depend on prior experience, which is why many candidates obtain a relevant degree, which allows them to gain hands-on experience in the field.
If they prove proficiency and value to the company, application analysts are typically promoted within their organisations after gaining in-depth application knowledge. To get to the next pay bracket, additional responsibilities will need to be undertaken, such as project or team management. There is also scope to become a senior analyst or team leader, whereas some analysts venture into software development, business analysis or project management.
While many choose to work their way up career ladders within companies, some analysts go down the self-employment route and set up consultancy companies.
There is an ever-increasing number of institutes and organisations across all sectors seeking IT support from application analysts, including public administration, education, financial services, retail, and healthcare. Commonly, it is the big companies with already well-developed IT systems which offer the best employment opportunities; they also typically run graduate schemes.
Open vacancies can be found across all of the main job sites, and on platforms such as IT JobsWatch, TechnoJobs and CWJobs.
The competition for freelance work can be tough; success will mostly revolve around personal contacts made through networking, as any publicly advertised jobs will attract specialists from around the world – if remote work is possible.
Taught on the Paisley UWS campus, this four-year full-time degree will put application analyst vacancies at international and large blue-chip companies at your feet. During your study, you will learn the fundamentals of business tech and operations before learning systems analysis and project management skills. You will gain a thorough understanding of the latest advancements in information security management and business intelligence through theoretical learning and industry-relevant placements.
If you are looking for a career as an application analyst with a cyber security focus, learn how to protect and secure modern data infrastructures with the five-year full-time course from UWS Lanarkshire. You will learn programming theory, the frameworks of ethical hacking, and a deep understanding of infrastructure networking. The cyber-security sector is already booming in the UK, and it is expected to expand even further in the next few years as more services move online.
The four-year course, which primarily takes place on the UWS Lanarkshire campus, comprises full-time company learning with part-time attendance to lectures, making this undergraduate degree highly sought after by students looking to gain hands-on experience with problem-based learning. From day one of the graduate scheme, you will apply your skills and learning in a work-based environment to bolster your portfolio with employability skills. Throughout the apprenticeship scheme, you will be introduced to software engineering and the principles of programming to put you on the right path towards lifelong learning skills.