Project Manager Vs. System Analyst

Both project managers and systems analysts address efficiency. We'll look at the similarities and differences in the two careers, as well as their respective salary and job growth data.

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Comparing Project Managers to System Analysts

Individuals, companies, and even cities may hire these professionals for very different reasons. While organizing a team for a large project and building the computer systems that flow throughout a company may not seem related at first, these two professions and their responsibilities are similar in some interesting ways.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Project Managers Bachelor's Degree $72,069 (2017)** 8% (managers, all other)
System Analysts Bachelor's Degree $87,220 (computer system analysts) 9% (computer system analysts)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

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Responsibilities of Project Managers vs. System Analysts

Project managers serve as the overseer of and point-person for specific projects or endeavors. System analysts build structures in the form of information systems. Both of these careers require close attention to regulations, safety, and timelines. Additionally, both are leaders who are responsible for meeting the standards of the client or company.

Project Managers

Project managers meet with clients and company leaders to gain insight into the project before beginning. They assist in developing a plan, which includes the budget, necessary resources, and a timeline. For those involved in construction, they may also be responsible for finding the perfect building site. Once the details of the project are agreed upon in the meeting, project managers then create a document, much like a contract, for the stakeholders to sign.

Job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Dealing with setbacks in a timely manner so the project can continue
  • Leading and directing the team to ensure everyone has a job
  • Ensuring all relevant regulations are followed
  • Rating employee performance at the end of a project

System Analysts

System analysts step in for a company to make them more efficient by implementing and updating computer systems. They begin by studying data on computer processes and employee workflow. This helps them pinpoint any issues and decide how to proceed. One option is to program new software to build the system themselves, or they may look into the programing of the old technology to find any bugs. Sometimes, the choice of which option to take can depend on a cost benefit analysis, which is the responsibility of the analyst.

Job responsibilities of a system analyst include:

  • Researching new and efficient technology to offer the best solutions to any technology issues
  • Creating profiles for new users, including passwords and security levels
  • Testing the new technology to ensure it operates as needed
  • Training users on the new system so they can use it efficiently

Related Careers

As someone potentially interested in a position as a project manager, you could also research a job as an advertising manager, as these both require meeting the goals of a company. If you're curious about a job as a system analyst, you may also look into a career as a data security analyst, especially since these careers deal with passwords and encryption.

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