About Computer Systems Analysts
A computer systems analyst is a specialist who focuses on enterprise infrastructure. Though they are experts in information technology, they must also be acutely aware of a business’s needs, as they are expected to provide solutions to facilitate daily operations while overcoming technical limitations.
A computer systems analyst who is starting with a company from the ground up will look for solutions to help the enterprise meet its short- and long-term goals. As the business expands or contracts, the analyst will make changes as needed to ensure that the computer systems can accommodate the company’s shifting needs.
The ability to combine business and technology expertise is gained through years of education and hands-on professional experience. As both of these fields are constantly changing and new trends and innovations are always being introduced, computer systems analysts must stay up to date on relevant developments and have the flexibility, decision-making confidence, and complete knowledge of their specialization to keep their companies online and competitive.
With so much on the line and with the progression of technology moving at such a rapid pace, this is a challenging, competitive, and demanding profession. However, it is also incredibly fulfilling for those who can thrive in this environment. Individuals who can complete the education and advanced training required to become computer systems analysts will enjoy abundant advancement opportunities and an enticing salary.
What Education and Experience Are Needed to Become a Computer Systems Analyst?
Your path to this career begins with your undergraduate education. You can choose from a few different degrees to build the foundation you’ll need to find a job in the tech industry after graduating or to continue with your studies at the master’s level. A bachelor of computer science is a popular choice, but many students complete a bachelor of information technology instead. Applying for scholarships and filing the FAFSA can enable you to commit your full focus to your education and ongoing training.
You can find a job as a computer systems analyst with just a bachelor’s degree. This is especially true for those who complete an internship and gain some real-world experience while they’re in college. However, a master’s degree enables students to dig deeper into subjects like database management and artificial intelligence, so many people continue their education before they enter the workforce full time. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs, such as those available through the Institute of Computing Professionals, can also strengthen your career prospects.
Computer systems analysts are needed in every industry. Any organization that uses technological infrastructure — which is essentially required in the modern marketplace — needs to hire these professionals. As such, you can enjoy a competitive salary and job security. The median annual pay for a computer systems analyst is $87,220.
Average Duties and Tasks
On a daily basis, computer systems analysts assess a business’s information technology. They may look for improvements to current systems, draft plans for design changes, implement those processes, or search for problems that can be solved through tweaks or improvements to the company’s infrastructure. They may also train other professionals (tech personnel and all other employees who interact with the infrastructure) to ensure that they are literate with the systems.
There are many opportunities to advance your career through lateral movements across industries, with jobs open in the private sector and at the local, state, and federal government levels. There are also plenty of chances to move up into management positions and into roles such as lead systems analyst.
As you work your way up, you may consider narrowing your focus to become a more competitive candidate. Though you need a breadth of knowledge about all applications and systems that are relevant to an organization’s infrastructure, you may also concentrate on a specific application, like SQL, or a specific programming language, like Java.
Many career advancement opportunities are available to those who have more specialized knowledge. This can be gained through the completion of a minor during your undergraduate training (such as a minor in management information systems) or through the completion of advanced training at the master’s level. Again, completing the FAFSA® will help ensure that you receive the financial aid needed to continue pursuing your professional and academic goals.
This field is demanding, with many professionals logging over 40 hours per week at their jobs. There can also be some stress, as safeguarding a company against tech-related issues and serious cyber-crimes is a major responsibility. Those who are up to the task enjoy secure, long-term careers that are guaranteed to be in demand for decades moving forward.