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What does a Software Analyst do?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A software analyst has three areas of responsibility: review software specifications, test, and document. He or she typically has a university or college degree in computer services, information technology systems, or computer programming.

People who enjoy working with technology, are focused on details, and can work on a team report the greatest satisfaction as a software analyst. Information technology professionals must work together, completing tasks independently, but ensuring that the work of the team can continue. The role of software analyst is critical to keeping all software development projects on schedule, while maintaining a specific level of quality.

The primary role of a person in this position is to review software specifications. This document provides details on the functions of the software, appearance, user interface methods, reporting, supporting platform, and other features. The business analyst, working closely with the end user or customer, typically develops the specifications. These specifications are fine tuned by the software analyst, and used to develop or write computer software.

System testing forms a large part of a software analyst’s daily work. There are two types of testing: functional and quality. Functional testing is simply to ensure that each command or program behaves as expected. Quality testing ensures that the data processed and returned is accurate, complete, and timely.

Documentation is the process of writing down the steps for using the software. Software documentation typically includes step-by-step procedural guides, overview material, field specific definitions, explanation of reporting functions, and training material. Internal documentation includes reports of all the tests conducted, the results, feedback to the developers, changes to the program, results of retesting, and final sign off.

Talk with people who work in the information technology industry, and they should be able to advise you about the work environment in this industry. In most software development firms, there is a department of software analysts. Information technology departments in large companies typically have two or three software analysts on staff. The size of the department and the number of analysts is dependent upon the type of software they are running, and if they are maintaining it themselves or working with a computer services company.

A career as a software analyst requires dedication to continuing education. The technology is constantly changing, and it is necessary to invest time and effort to stay current. Career advancement in this field typically requires further education in management or certification in a specific technology or hardware. This career is forecast to have a greater than average growth in the next five to ten years.

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Discussion Comments
By anon345371 — On Aug 18, 2013

I'm a software analyst. The scope is so broad it needs such time and dedication.

I'm a business graduate, and in my experience, software analysts need to know a lot about business -- its functions and nature because this job requires a lot of documentation and interpretation of software functionality that both IT and non-IT people can understand.

By strawCake — On Apr 27, 2012

@starrynight - You're right, I know I tend to think of "computer people" as shy and geeky. But we all know stereotypes aren't always true!

Anyway the software analyst job description is a little more broad than I thought it would be. I'm surprised that documentation is part of a software analysts responsibilities. Although, I suppose it makes sense. If you're already going through the software, why not write down the process too?

This definitely sounds like a job for someone way more detailed than me! Even just thinking of doing all that computer stuff is kind of giving me a headache.

By starrynight — On Apr 26, 2012

This article is right on about the teamwork involved in software analyst jobs. I have a friend who has this job, and he works very closely with his coworkers. If he wasn't able to get along with his coworkers and work as a team, he wouldn't be able to get his job done. And I doubt he would have a job for much longer!

I know a lot of people have this stereotype that people who work in the IT field are geeks with no social skills, but that's just not true. You need a lot of social skills to work in certain computer jobs.

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