Like many jobs in technology, computer systems analyst is a rapidly growing profession. It offers a variety of career opportunities for those who enjoy working with computer systems and finding ways of leveraging technology to create effective and efficient organizations.
The federal government projects 9% growth in the profession between 2018 and 2028, with 56,000 people becoming computer system analysts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*. About a third of all systems analysts work for information systems companies that are hired as consultants.
An information technology degree can open the door to becoming a systems analyst. Other job titles in the profession include information security analyst, computer programmer, database administrator and computer network architect.
Dr. Christian Sonnenberg, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor at Florida Tech, said that whether students earn an MBA in IT Management or MS in Information Technology at Florida Tech, “One of the most popular careers to have is a systems analyst.”
“Systems analysts are designed to be a liaison between the business realm and the technology realm,” he said. “They’re designed to give you technical expertise as well as some of the business background – how you run projects, cost analysis, risk management and so on.”
What Does a Systems Analyst Do?
As part of the liaison role described by Dr. Sonnenberg, systems analysts evaluate computer systems and identify problems and challenges. Everything is assessed through the lens of discovering ways that systems can provide more functionality to end-users.
The first step for someone new to the job is to determine the role of IT in their organization by consulting with managers. On a daily basis, a computer systems analyst may do some or all the following:
- Maintain and monitor programs and systems
- Coordinate hardware and software installation
- Troubleshoot system malfunctions and restore normal functioning
- Expand or modify systems to improve workflow and performance
- Use computers to analyze and resolve business problems
- Develop, document and revise system design and test procedures
- Establish quality standards for computer systems
- Analyze the cost benefits of potential system upgrades
What Is A Systems Analyst’s Salary?
With the high demand and the importance of the job for efficient business operations, systems analysts command a high salary. The median annual wage nationwide for systems analysts in May 2018 was $93,610, according to the BLS.*
What Skills Are Required To Be a Systems Analyst?
The first skill needed for success as a systems analyst is the ability to work well with computer systems. Analysts typically have earned a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field.
In the degree program, they will have developed expertise in computers and electronics, as well as mathematics, software and hardware systems, and applications used to interface with computer systems, according to the BLS.
They also need soft skills such as critical thinking, active listening, reading comprehension and communication (especially in the context of speaking to those outside of the IT department), according to O-NET Online.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Systems Analyst?
In addition to the four-year degree, many systems analysts succeed by having knowledge of the specific industry of their company, according to the BLS. For example, a healthcare company might want an analyst to have an understanding of Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance plans. Those who work for a bank will need knowledge about finance.
Conversely, some of those who major in other fields – such as business or the liberal arts – may move into systems analysis.
Some companies may prefer candidates with a master’s in business administration or computer science, states the BLS. According to O-NET Online, 33% of computer systems analysts hold a bachelor’s degree, while 14% hold a master’s degree. Most analysts also commit to ongoing education, taking classes that teach them the latest about innovative technologies.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Systems Analysts, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm (accessed October 16, 2019).
National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Degree and/or certificate program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.