As a network analyst, you’ll be responsible for the installation, layout, and maintenance of all network components within a company.
Many network analysts find that they become quite involved in both the business side and technical side of a company. This means is can be necessary to identify problems within the business and then identify a suitable technical solution.
You’ll be required to plan, design, analyse, and provide technical support for data communications network or group of networks in the company. Work can also include research and evaluation of network technology and recommending purchases of network equipment.
Typically, you could be working for a large retail company, government department or financial institution for example. Alternatively you could work for an IT company that specialises in troubleshooting projects.
The projects you work on will largely depend on the type of organisation, but you could expect to be involved in areas like restructuring a bank’s customer accounts to make them more secure, or the integration of phone and internet systems at a call centre to help staff manage enquiries better.
In most cases you’ll work closely with the IT team of programmers, designers and IT managers to design systems. Depending on your level of responsibility you might oversee the installation of the networks then test and evaluate their success and ensure all necessary staff are trained to use them properly.
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There are network analyst positions across most industry sectors, from finance and ecommerce to utilities and defence.
If you’re keen to travel, a career as a network analyst could provide you with the opportunity to work abroad, as there are many client projects overseas that require this skill set.
The typical career progression path of a network analyst would lead to promotion to senior or principal analyst and then project manager of network manager, but this will depend on the positions required by the company and its particular staff structure.
For more work flexibility, you could move towards contract or consultancy work and specialise in a particular field, for example finance or security. With experience, you may choose to explore other areas, like IT systems architecture, project management, strategic business planning or a people management role.
As a network analyst, employers will be looking for the following attributes:
• Up-to-date knowledge of hardware, software and programming – particularly relating to that used by the company
• The ability to simplify and explain technical information to others
• An understanding of business
• Team working and team management experience
• Good project management skills
• Good organisation and problem-solving skills
• To be methodical and analytical
• A level of programming knowledge (e.g. SQL, Visual Basic, C++, Java, Unified Modelling Language or SAP)
Being a network analyst is quite a senior role, so you’ll be required to have a relevant degree, such as in computer sciences and business information, as well as experience in a related field of IT.
You can also take a postgraduate conversion degree to build upon your technical skills and qualifications in relevant subjects.
It is possible to work your way towards becoming a network analyst by starting work as a trainee programmer, or a similar role, and move towards a more senior position.
It’s likely you’ll have an intensive period of training when you start a network analyst position, to ensure you are fully aware of the entire network and needs of the company. You could also receive systems analysis training.
Long term, you’ll be required to continually update your software skills and knowledge, as the IT industry moves and changes so fast.
Some courses may be given in house, but often you'll attend external courses which can lead to professional qualifications from organisations such as the British Computer Society, e-Skills or the Institute of Information Systems.
Hours and environment
The typical hours for a network analyst are 37 to 40 hour week, but occasionally working late might be required to update or maintain systems. This is often not possible during normal working hours without disrupting part of the business.
Most of the work will be based within an office, either at your own designated workstation or at clients’ sites. If you are required to work for clients then you might have to travel away from home for short periods of time, but this depends on where the client is based. In some cases, this could be overseas.
It is possible to work from home at times, but this will depend on the employer’s preferences.
As a newly qualified network analyst, you can generally expect to earn around £25,000 per year. With experience, your annual earnings will increase to nearer £40,000 and after a number of years you could potentially earn up to £58,000
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