An application support analyst manages a company's software systems and may provide both internal and external technical support. He or she is responsible for installing, upgrading and maintaining programs and also works with databases, operating systems and networking. The job involves a lot of troubleshooting and configuration tasks, but it also can involve providing training to other technical personnel, assisting businesses with selecting appropriate systems and finding and implementing security solutions.
A major portion of the job involves providing technical support for all of the applications a company uses. In addition to helping internal users with application issues, the analyst also may provide support to outsiders, especially if the company makes the software itself. Other common technical support tasks include analyzing error logs for potential problems, documenting the procedures used to fix issues and maintaining a record of all upgrades and fixes the analyst has applied.
Maintaining software is another important responsibility of an application support analyst, and one usually creates a maintenance plan. Although the analyst may apply upgrades, patches and service packs to fix documented issues, he or she also uses these tools to prevent future problems. Analysts may choose to test upgrades before applying them to all the systems in the company, or they may apply the patches or upgrades to specific systems that experienced problems in the past. Application support analysts also configure software to provide the best user experience, do some programming and write scripts that automate installation and configuration tasks.
Application support analysts also deal with issues that are not directly related to software, including database management, hardware, security and operating systems. Many applications work with databases and run on server operating systems, so the analyst also should be able to troubleshoot these. They also may repair system hardware, fix driver issues and solve common network problems. Security also is a common concern, and analysts should be able to secure both the computer systems and the software the company uses.
The wide range of duties also includes training new employees, assisting with complex issues and providing advice to businesses. The application support analyst may act as a mentor to other technical support employees and usually also provides support for complex problems that the help desk can't solve. It's common for these analysts to provide technical solutions to business problems, and some may eventually become technical consultants.