Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Information systems analysts and consultants conduct research, develop and implement information systems development plans, policies and procedures and provide advice on a wide range of information systems issues. They are employed in information technology consulting firms and in information technology units throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.
- Encounter clients who lack the technical background needed to understand commonly-used acronyms and information technology jargon. They determine the extent of clients' technical understanding and use more appropriate language. (2)
- Determine that projects will not finish on time due to delays caused by work stoppages, late arriving shipments and technical glitches. They work with suppliers, clients and co-workers to resolve the delays and then establish new timelines. (3)
- Have clients who change specifications after projects have started. They determine the extent of the changes and renegotiate timelines and budgets. (3)
- Discover that database applications are not capable of meeting all the technical specifications requested by clients. They consult with clients to discuss the limitations and determine options such as which of the lower priority functions could be abandoned. (3)
- Decide what labels to assign to fields and tables. (1)
- Choose tests to assess the performance of new software applications and platforms such as Oracle 9i, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise. For example, they may use manual or automated tests to ensure that relational databases are performing as expected. (2)
- Decide which applications and database platforms will best meet client needs. They factor in the number of users expected, budgets, scalability requirements and the need for web-based technologies such as Java, HTTP, Web Services and XML. (2)
- May decide to bid on projects. They consider the deliverables, timelines, fee schedules and levels of expertise required. (2)
- Decide how to migrate data from legacy systems to database applications such as DB2 and Sybase by considering data structures, storage requirements and the functionality of new software programs. (3)
- Decide the priority levels of concurrent projects. They consider how delays will affect each project and how they can use available resources to satisfy at least some of their clients. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Evaluate the acceptability of software performance. They compare the results of manual and automated tests to technical specifications published by suppliers. They verify specifications such as throughput rates, load times, functionality and connectivity. (2)
- Evaluate the ability of legacy databases to meet increased data processing and information sharing demands. They consider system architectures, data processing speeds, defect escalation reports and reporting capabilities. (3)
- May evaluate the adequacy of existing database security measures. They review the security risks presented by current business practices and the protection offered by existing security measures such as the use of passwords, firewalls and virus filters. (3)
- Assess the suitability of database platforms and software applications such as enterprise reporting tools and online transaction processing systems. They consider client needs and resources, and the costs, technical supports and specifications provided by suppliers. (4)
Information systems analysts and consultants organize their daily activities to meet project deadlines. They generally work on multi-disciplinary teams and may be involved on one or more projects simultaneously. Juggling projects is a necessary part of the work and they frequently have to decide which projects to work on next. They must be prepared to shift priorities if important project delivery deadlines are threatened. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember registration dates, passwords and logon codes.
- Remember the functionality of software programs.
- Recall which applications and database platforms work best in on-line environments.
- Recall documentation processes used with previous projects.
- Locate technical specifications, timelines and budgets by referring to proposals, reports and business plans. (1)
- Seek information about system and software malfunctions from co-workers, colleagues and suppliers. (2)
- Consult technical manuals to locate specific information such as program codes and executable commands. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Information systems analysts and consultants generally work independently but they may also work on teams with project leaders, software developers and subject matter experts. These teams are generally formed for specific projects and disband once the work is completed. Information systems analysts and consultants may work on a number of teams simultaneously. Self-employed information systems analysts and consultants may work alone. (3)
Information systems analysts and consultants must engage in continuous learning because information technologies are changing very rapidly. They are responsible for setting their own learning goals and objectives. Employers encourage continuous learning, but generally do not make it mandatory. They keep abreast of changes by reading industry magazines, listservs, brochures, journals, attending conferences and workshops, and taking courses such as graphics and database programming. Software developers, technical institutes, and universities offer training with costs covered by vendors or employers. They also learn from co-workers and other members of project teams. (3)