How To Become A Computer Systems Analyst
Career Video: Computer Systems Analyst
Do you have a high aptitude for technology and enjoy the business side of operations? Do you enjoy troubleshooting in a logical and analytical manner? Would you want to utilize your talents to increase an organization’s productivity, using the latest technological trends? If you have a keen understanding of computer systems and how they can enhance business operations, then a career as a computer systems analyst may be an excellent choice for you.
Why Become A Computer Systems Analyst
A computer systems analyst is often referred to as systems analyst. The primary job of a computer systems analyst is to evaluate a company’s computer systems and create custom improvements to increase operation efficiency and productivity. Their objective is to coordinate business aspects of an organization with information technology (IT), defining needs and finding solutions.
Computer systems analysts must be up-to-date with research regarding current technology trends. They are also responsible for conducting cost-benefit analyses to assist an organization when considering updating and adopting new technologies. Computer systems analysts often train other people on how to use specified computer systems, and they often write training materials. In addition to these tasks, computer systems analysts regularly run tests, supervise installations, customize configurations, design new systems, and optimize the functionality of all systems.
This occupation requires many specific talents and skills in the field of computer information systems:
- Articulate and able to convey various types of information
- Problem solving and decision making
- Resourceful and innovative
- Dynamic and balanced
- Knowledgeable in computer systems
- Excellent communication skills (writing, reading, speaking, and listening)
- Teaching skills
- Dedication to quality control
- Ability to sell ideas
- Managerial traits (operation and personnel)
- Programming capabilities
- Desire and ability to troubleshoot
- Analytical and logical aptitude
- Interpersonal communication skills
Computer Systems Analyst Work Environment
Computer systems analysts primarily work in offices, either as employees of a particular organization or as hired consultants, working for information technology firms. Because the majority of their work involves collaborating with other people, systems analysts typically work onsite; although some telecommuting opportunities exist. They can also work with outside vendors in relation to purchasing or leasing new technologies.
Most analysts are fulltime employees, who work normal business hours, unless complexities require overtime. The majority of employees work for computer systems design services, while small percentages work for the following industries: finance and insurance, management of companies, information, and local and state governments.
Computer Systems Analyst Salary
In 2014, the median annual salary for computer systems analysts was $82,710, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay generally ranged between $50,780 and $129,980. Salary can vary depending on whether someone is a salaried employee or hourly. Hourly employees are paid overtime in the field. Another consideration is geographic location and type of business: Computer systems design services typically provide the most salary, with local and state government positions offer the least. Additionally, those working in a metropolitan area will most likely receive higher compensation. Bridgeport, Connecticut; San Jose, California; and the District of Columbia are the top three locations for high-paying computer systems analyst positions.
As with other career fields, experience and education also play a part in salary. Those who telecommute generally make a less than those who work fulltime, on the job site. It is generally held that those who telecommute have fewer expenses to account for, such as vehicle use.
Computer Systems Analyst Career Outlook
This computer-based field is projected to grow 21 percent during the next decade. That is considered faster than average. Regardless of size, businesses need computer systems. This reliance is expected to grow thanks to the introduction of cloud computing and mobile networks. These innovations will create more jobs for computer systems analysts.
Healthcare facilities will also face a need for more computer systems analysts. The increase in the demand for healthcare and electronic record keeping will prompt a need for newer and better computer systems. The largest demand for computer systems analysts will be as consultants serving various companies. Many small- and medium-sized businesses will require more advanced systems; therefore, those looking to work in computer systems design services can expect a 33 percent growth in this sub-field, within the next decade.
Computer Systems Analyst Degree
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for a computer systems analyst, although obtaining a master’s degree may help to elevate skills and employment opportunities.
Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree. A four year degree in computer science, information science, business, or even liberal arts is most common for this field. Computer systems analysts must work as a bridge between business operations and technological use, so it is important to have a balance of both. Those with business or liberal arts degrees must have training in computer programming and systems, as well as information technology. For those with degrees in computer or information science, it is important to take courses that will help aspiring analysts with communication skills and understanding business principles.
Note: It is also important for any individual looking to work as an analyst to specialize according to industry. For example, those looking to work in healthcare may choose to take courses in healthcare administration and technology. Other specialties may include banking and finance, education, and military defense.
Step 2: Obtain a master’s degree (optional). Some analysts may have an MBA with a concentration in information systems. For those seeking jobs that are more technically advanced, they may choose to obtain a Master of Science in Computer Science.
Step 3: Maintain continued education opportunities. Technology and information/computer systems are continuously evolving; therefore, it is essential that computer systems analysts keep up-to-date with the latest research and information. With more advancement, analysts may become project managers, IT directors, and chief technology officers for larger firms.