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System Analyst Vs. System Architect

This article compares the work that system analysts and system architects do, as well as their training requirements, income and job growth rate. It highlights the similarities between these careers and identifies some distinctions.

Comparing System Analysts to System Architects

System analysts and system architects have comparable training requirements but significantly different duties. System analysts focus on analyzing a company's goals and identifying technological solutions. System architects are designers and implementers of the technological solutions proposed.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)**
System Analysts Bachelor's degree $63,924 9%
System Architects Bachelor's degree $108,156 9% (computer occupations, all other)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of System Analysts vs. System Architects

A system analyst works with a team of different types of professionals, including IT, business, end-users, product, etc. to develop a technology solution that works to achieve the goals of a company. The system architect may be part of this team and is responsible for building that solution using both hardware and software. The system analyst is similar to a project manager of a team with a focus on the technology needs of a company; the system architect is the digital architecture expert and designer on the team.

System Analysts

System analysts evaluate the current computer systems in place and determine what changes need to be made to suit a company's needs. While some are employed directly by organizations, others work as consultants. This means that they may travel as part of their duties. Since they may provide information to management about recommended changes and since they also may be involved with teaching staff how to use new forms of technology introduced, they need to have good communication skills. They also need to be capable of providing a detailed analysis of the current computer network system and ways to improve the businesses through technological upgrades.

Job responsibilities of a system analyst include:

  • Assessing the technology needs of the business
  • Identifying areas for improvement
  • Determining how to improve existing equipment
  • Comparing costs and expected benefits of upgrades
  • Preparing information about how to use new technology
  • Teaching staff how the new system works

System Architects

System architects are also known as system engineers. They may modify existing IT systems to address specific problems or they may create a completely new IT system design based on the needs of the company. Problem-solving skills are important for these professionals since they are specifically tasked with addressing issues with a company's computer network. They primarily work indoors in offices and need to have good communication skills so that they can effectively identify user issues and user needs. Analytical skills are important because they need to review options and then make recommendations about the best course of action based on the company's needs.

Job responsibilities of a system architect include:

  • Creating systems infrastructure
  • Constructing operational environments
  • Documenting architectural implementations
  • Specifying technical standards
  • Installing hardware devices
  • Conducting tests to ensure issues are effectively addressed

Related Careers

Those interested in working with computer systems may want to consider other careers in the computer industry that are linked to here.


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