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How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst | A Career Analysis

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The Information technology (IT) industry is expanding by the minute, with more and more organizations relying on it. Hence, the demand for Information Technology or Computer Systems Analysts, who can assess how the cloud affects the digital infrastructure and computer procedures, is steadily increasing.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the career outlook for computer systems analysts to increase significantly in the coming years. This growth is because they play a vital role in maintaining, developing, and troubleshooting digital corporations’ technological infrastructure. This article will answer all your questions regarding who a computer systems analyst is and how to become one. Let’s get started!

Who is a Computer Systems Analyst?

Computer systems analysts are technologically well-versed individuals who help companies and digital organizations use computer technology efficiently and effectively. In addition, they indulge in cost-benefit analyses to incorporate advanced technology into preexisting systems and determine whether it would serve an organization well. Primarily, there are three types of computer system analysts:

  • System architects or designers – look for technical solutions to achieve the long-term goals of organizations or companies.
  • Software quality assurance (QA) analysts – diagnose and test various technical complications in the computer systems and ensure quality.
  • Programming analysts – write and develop software code corresponding to a client or employer’s requirements.

What Does A Computer Analyst Do?

Computer system analysts, also referred to as IT analysts, system administrators, or system architects, analyze the effectiveness of technological infrastructure at the strategic core of businesses. They are also responsible for ensuring the integrity of vital systems and making necessary adjustments as per clients’ requirements or circumstances.

Job Requirements & Responsibilities

The career path of a system analyst often leaves room for a specific computer system-based specialization used primarily at a particular organization. Some standard job requirements for system analysts may include:

  • Researching, evaluating, and assessing the infrastructure technology
  • Chalking out ways to improve techniques based on user demands by understanding them
  • Highlighting the cost of efficiency by developing cost analysis reports
  • Maintaining and troubleshooting data storage systems and data warehouses
  • Training users
  • Communicating with stakeholders

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some other job responsibilities include:

  • Consulting with administration or managers to determine the IT systems in an organization
  • Developing new ways to add specialized functionalities to existing computer systems
  • Conducting tests to ensure the system is working as expected
  • Writing instruction manuals

System analysts may also be responsible for troubleshooting minor hardware issues, scheduling or running backups to data, or timing updates. All of that depends upon their approach to software applications and backup and business.

Specializing as a Software Quality Assurance Analyst

Computer system analysts also can specialize as software quality assurance analysts. A software QA system analyst carries out an in-depth evaluation, testing, and diagnosis of the software they design to ensure it meets all critical requirements. Simply put, a software QA analyst tailors software to an organization’s needs by coding and debugging. The job duties may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Designing new technological systems
  • Managing installation and maintenance of a system
  • Comprehending the goals of an organization’s IT systems
  • Researching new technologies in the pertinent fields
  • Carrying out system tests as per requirements
  • Training system users or, in some cases, interns

Where Do Computer Systems Analysts Work?

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer system analysts held about 607,800 jobs in 2020. Computer systems design and related services were their largest employers with a 26% analyst employment percentage. Finance and insurance employers employed 15% analysts, management of companies and enterprises recruited 9%, and both Information and Government employers hired 6% each.

Computer system analysts typically work in office environments. They usually work for IT firms and provide on-site services at a customer’s location or over the telephone. A computer analyst may also be self-employed as an independent contractor, work directly for organizations, or be a member at an IT staff firm. Regardless of the location or position of employment, a system analyst often works in a server room.

Computer system analysts generally rotate job duties to level out the workload. Still, the schedule depends upon the number of system analysts an organization has. For example, one individual may be on call for on-site issues, whereas another may work 40 hours a week in an office. Naturally, an organization may call an on-system computer analyst any time of the day, and even on weekends and holidays, as many organizations can’t handle system downtime during that period.

What Skills Does A Computer Analyst Need?

A professional computer system analyst requires strong technical skills to excel in IT, such as designing databases and interpreting software code. In addition, a skilled analyst should be competent in the following areas:

Analysis and Investigation skills

Computer system analysts collect, investigate, and interpret a nexus of data collected from various sources. Therefore, they should possess adequate investigation skills to decide a course of action, such as installing new software or performing a performance upgrade. Digital organizations also require analysts to evaluate an initiative’s success and failure rate, which requires apt judgment skills.

Effective Communication Skills

Since the IT department typically works with company leadership, practical communication skills are necessary to maintain a seamless relationship with leadership, administration, and clients. Most of them are not well-versed in the IT language. Computer analysts should also explain potential IT problems and solutions to all stakeholders in standard terms understandable by even a non-specialist.

Passion and Creativity

Working in the IT industry means coming face to face with several technological complications in a day. An individual who is not passionate might lose interest quickly. In addition, a system analyst should be innovative and creative, as some business problems may require a non-traditional approach. With new technologies entering the market daily, only a clever system analyst can speculate out of the box and explore possibilities.

Steps To Become A Computer Analyst in 2022 – 5 Things You Need To Know

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a computer system analyst’s typical career path begins with a Bachelor’s degree in a computer or IT-related field. After that, employers generally seek candidates with higher education degrees in the relevant areas and practical working experience.

Step 1: Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

The most common step to kickstart a computer systems analyst career is earning a bachelor’s degree in either a computer or IT-related field. Students can concentrate on technology-related coursework if that aligns with their interests and future goals. Standard and helpful computer system analyst courses usually cover topics related to:

  • System Design
  • Operating Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Programming
  • Computer Algorithms

However, employers may also look for technical expertise with liberal arts or business degrees. Students can also take several undergraduate courses to build their knowledge as per their interest in a particular field, such as health care.

Step 2: Getting Certified

Although getting certified is not a compulsory requirement, certifications help candidates become successful and credible system analysts. Certifications and licensures also add glitter to resumes, making one more likely to get employed. Common certifications include:

CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ is a prestigious certification for entry-level IT candidates. It provides a solid foundational understanding of specialized and modern IT principles. Consider an online preparatory program such as the Technical Certificate in CompTIA A+ Certified Preparation from Southeastern Technical College.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ certification ensures that analysts have a firm grip on corporate cyber security.

CompTIA CySA+

This cybersecurity certification is a mid-level certification. It delves deeper into the most significant cybersecurity operations and is more thorough than Security+.

CASP+

CompTIA offers CASP+ and is an advanced certification that ensures candidates have the hard and soft skills essential to become a cybersecurity professional.

Some other commonly sought after certifications include:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA),
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

These credentials require specific pass rates on different examinations and are available on various professional levels.

Although any professional certifications are not compulsory, students can earn credentials from various organizations to stay competitive with the ever-changing IT-related technologies. These organizations include the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP), which offers professional certifications leading to various designations, including:

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • Certified Data Professional (CDP)
  • Certified Computing Professional (CCP)
  • Information Systems Analysts (ISP)

Step 3: Improving Technical Skills

IT is an ever-changing industry, and analysts must keep up with the changes in the field to adapt to this landscape. Both education and technical skills are essential for computer system analysts. They can do so by taking classes about technology developments. Since this career depends more on skills than science, advancing technical skills as an analyst depends solely on an individual. Analysts focusing on the technical side concentrate on developing new hardware or software to help organizational goals. Others may focus on software coding and developing customized tools for operations.

Consider Enrolling in a Bootcamp

Bootcamps are relatively concentrated and brief learning experiences that focus on a particular aspect of the field. They are available in both full-time and part-time formats. Still, students can also enroll in virtual programs at their convenience. Bootcamps usually aim to equip students with the knowledge and skills to advance their careers. Registering in boot camps can provide students with real-world skills and experience concentrating on the latest tools and computer system analyses.

Since boot camps are accelerated learning environments, they can also act as preparatory classes before a degree by helping with fundamental concepts. The learning environment includes individual projects based on the latest software. Still, group projects can also be a part of the course. So, computer system analysts often work in collaborative situations and thus should have necessary soft skills.

Step 4: Getting A Job As A Computer System Analyst

Getting your first job may seem like a daunting endeavor. Still, there is nothing to worry about if you have the credentials and educational background that make you a golden candidate. A first job offers graduates the opportunity to put their theoretical learning to practical use. Developing an attention-grabbing resume, networking, and sharpening interview skills are some reasonable strategies for landing your first job.

A computer systems analyst position, like several other careers, may require education and on-the-job experience. However, this may vary depending upon the employer. Landing an entry-level job may suit fresh graduates who want to develop technical skills, gain leadership experience, and learn about the industry.

Relevant certifications and advanced degrees significantly boost a base-level computer system analyst’s salary and job position. According to the Global Knowledge’s 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, IT professionals who acquired a new certification or skills received an average raise of $12,000-$13,000. This increase shows that organizations are not dismissive of computer system analysts who actively develop their professionalism and skill set.

Step 5: Earning a Master’s Degree

Advanced education plays a significant role in advancing the career of a computer system analyst. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning a Master’s degree can help you transform into an analyst with an in-demand skill set. In addition, many organizations value computer system analysts with higher education and offer higher salaries with a flexible work schedule.

Several universities and colleges offer online Master’s degrees in advanced fields, including Master’s in Computer Science and Master's in Cybersecurity. In addition, a wide array of related courses is available that can fit any career goals, timeline, and budget. However, it is pivotal to look into accreditation, full and part-time options, courses, and program length before choosing. Some other relevant advanced degrees may include Master of Business Administration in Information Technology or Master of Science in Software Development.

An online Master’s in Computer Science is a favorable choice. It covers various topics, including computer architecture and software development. Moreover, this degree usually includes both required and elective courses, and the choice of electives helps determine a student’s specialization.

Computer Analyst Job Outlook, Salary, and Growth

Computer system analysts can find employment opportunities in various settings such as non-profit organizations, government agencies, and for-profit companies. However, their job growth depends upon multiple factors, including cybersecurity threats, technology adoption in healthcare and other industries, and adoption of cloud computing. The median pay for computer system analysts in 2020 was $93,730 per year and $45.06 per hour (BLS Statistics). Salaries ranged between $55,180 to more than $147,670 for the highest and lowest earners, respectively. This is one of many well paying careers in information technology.

The number of jobs in 2020 was 607,800 and is expected to increase by 7% between 2020-2030. This job outlook is powerful and as fast as the average growth, majorly because of the speedy adoption of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems and other healthcare IT types.

What To Expect From an Online Bachelors in Computer Science Program

Besides providing flexibility, an undergraduate computer science program explores several fundamental concepts through theoretical and practical approaches. Some of the common subjects universities usually include in a computer science curriculum include:

  • Operating systems
  • Programming languages
  • Algorithms
  • Software
  • Legal and ethical issues

They also include advanced mathematics courses that hone vital complementary skills, including linear algebra, calculus, and discrete mathematics.

An online computer science degree aims at producing skilled, knowledgeable, and well-rounded computer professionals with enhanced technical abilities, excellent communication skills, a professional code of conduct, and a lifelong commitment to learning. In addition, students attain theoretical knowledge that has practical use in software development, database administration, web development, network engineering, and information systems. Because of these all-encapsulating online undergraduate degrees, most students can find employment opportunities without advanced degrees.

Get Started With An Online IT Program Today!

The rapidly developing world is fanning the flames of tomorrow’s advanced software trends, including new interface designs, cybersecurity, progressive web apps, low code development, blockchain technology, and agile systems. Keeping up with these changing trends is pivotal to keep in touch with the future.

An online Bachelor’s degree in IT or Computer is well-equipped to prepare future computer system analysts in this domain. Professionals interested in beginning their educational journey right from the comfort of their home can start today by visiting Geteducated.com and learning more about these online programs!

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FAQs

Question: Does it take long to become a computer system analyst?
Answer: Aspirants can become computer system analysts by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Computer or IT, which takes about four years to complete. But since system analysts require better credentials to work at a promising position, a few years of experience along with a Master’s degree in an advanced subject may take up 5-10 additional years.

Question: Which degrees related to computer science can one seek?
Answer: There are several degrees similar to a Bachelor in computer science that offer high-level technical training, and include:

  • Software engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Data science
  • Information systems
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Question: Which career choices are related to computer system analysts?
Answer: Career choices relevant to computer system analysts that can help determine a career path include:

  • Network administrator
  • Computer programmer
  • Computer network architect
  • Database administrator
  • Computer systems administrator

Question: How much do computer system analysts earn?
Answer: The BLS data implies that Computer system analysts earned $93,730 per year and $45.06 per hour in 2020.