An application analyst is a computer programmer that builds and manages custom applications for a business. The responsibilities of an application analyst include program design, implementation, and support management. In addition to building custom applications, analysts also work with engineers and project managers to modify existing software for company use. Application analysts may work for a business to handle in-house software development or they can choose to work for a company that specializes in designing applications for clients.
The job description of an application analyst may also include database setup and management as needed for a particular piece of software or program. Most positions require an analyst to know multiple programming languages in order to be flexible enough to work with different types and functions of software depending on business need. Analysts normally work with object oriented programming languages such as Hypertext Preprocessor language (PHP), Java, Python, and Ruby.
Server setup and management is also a typical duty undertaken by application analysts. Computer servers are used to run business applications, and are correctly configured and routinely updated by an application analyst. Both the front-end and back-end of software applications are created and maintained by an analyst. The front-end of a piece of software or an application is the user interface and input part of a program, while the back-end of an application is the databases and code that make the program function.
Another important part of an application analyst's job function when creating or modifying an application or program is accurate and complete documentation. The documentation for a piece of software or web application is the instructions and guide for the use of the program, as well as notes for future programmers to use when working with the application. Analysts help set the standardization requirements for an application in order to coordinate the work implemented on a project, as one piece of software is often created by many individuals working on it simultaneously.
Once an application has been developed, analysts may also be responsible for the support and update of the program. Support duties usually include training clients or employees to use the software as well as trouble-shooting any problems that may occur with the application or the server that runs the application's software. The work of an application analyst is undertaken in an office environment and typically consists of working with other analysts to develop programs and attending meetings to plan software development. Many application analyst positions require an individual to have at least a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or a related field, though some companies will allow many years of experience in the field in place of a degree.