Alumni Profile January 2020

 

Name: Patrick Locke
From: Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Secondary School: Whitstone School
Attended EMS: 2014 – 2016
A-level Subjects: Maths, Further Maths, Physics
Next Step: Bsc (hons) in Mathematics and Statistics at Loughborough University
Currently: Working in London as a Systems Analyst

What is Systems Analysis?

As a Systems Analyst I work closely with clients to create a specification (spec) for how exactly the software my company provides is going to function. I then pass this on to developers to create the software, and then carry out tests to confirm the program is developed according to spec and is working efficiently. As an analyst I’m the primary point of contact for the clients, so any change requests or faults they find are reported to me.

What attracted you to it?

It was different! A lot of other generic ‘Analyst’ roles seemed to be focussed around obtaining data and, well, analysing it – this analyst role is however completely different to anything else I had applied to. It involves a lot more communication with clients which makes you feel a lot more involved with all stages and all areas of the project.

What does a standard day look like?

There’s no such thing as standard! I’ll give a couple examples though:

One day developers could have finished a bunch of their changes at once, so the majority of my day will be spent communicating with them, testing the software, logging any changes made and filing any defects

Another day could be focussed more on communicating with clients, where I spend a lot of my day in various meetings, combining our test logs or business issue logs and clarifying any ambiguities

Or it could be a combination of both! Content wise I spend a lot of my time working with Excel and SQL as well as an in-house tool.

What skills do you need?

Strong verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills – I’m always conversing with both internal and external customers

Be enthusiastic, have strong problem-solving skills, and be helpful! I work as part of a team of analysts and developers; we all have our strengths and weaknesses. The ability to clearly explain how to do something to someone else is invaluable.

More technically for my role: A-level mathematics, degree in any computing, analytical, statistical or mathematical discipline AND/OR relevant experience.

What has been your highlight so far?

I’ve only been here a month – but so far for me it’s been the Christmas party getting comfortable with all the new software I’m using. This was my first time using SQL, and as someone with next to no programming experience it’s been interesting and quite satisfying to pick it up quickly.

What is next for you?

That remains to be seen! I’m totally happy with my current role and have no plans on moving. I hope to pass my probation at the three-month mark, after which more options may open up!

What advice do you have for those interested in Systems Analysis?

Remember every role will be different! A systems analyst role where I work may be totally different to one at a different company. As shown in the ‘skills required’ section above you can enter this role with a number of different degrees, or any somewhat relevant work experience, so there’s no pressure to lock yourself down to a specific education path in order to enter the field. I personally hadn’t even heard of the role until a month before I started working here! If you’re REALLY interested, then start making contacts! LinkedIn is a very good resource, attend careers fairs, talk to teachers or lecturers or anyone that may be able to help put you in contact with people that work in the field.

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