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How to Become a Computer Systems Designer in E-Commerce

Group of Computer Systems Designers work on an e-commerce site.

You may think the areas of computer systems design and e-commerce are nothing alike. In truth, however, computer systems design and e-commerce expertise are heavily in demand in the modern market. So much shopping takes place online these days, and brands are looking to capitalize on this consumer trend.

Computer systems designers make websites, B2B computer networks, or other systems for brands to leverage for their needs. E-commerce experts create functional e-commerce websites, online shopping centers, and customer service pages.

Combined, computer systems design and e-commerce expertise represent a new type of professional. A computer systems design and e-commerce expert will be valuable to almost any company with an online shopping component. Professionals may find themselves drawn to this field since it blends the logical thinking of systems design with the artistic, human-focused elements of e-commerce marketing.

Not sure how to get started as a computer systems design and e-commerce expert? Read on for a detailed breakdown of this unique position and how to land a great job.

What is Computer Systems Design?

Computer systems design is a highly technical and specialized field. In a nutshell, modern businesses often rely on specialized software, IT infrastructure, and other digital systems. They use these digital tools to make products, offer services, and more.

For instance, imagine that an e-commerce brand needs a new website and customer service portal. However, the people running the e-commerce website don’t have any computer systems design skills.

That’s where computer system designers come in. Computer system designers:

  • Come up with the overall idea or design for an IT system, including designing an individual program, coming up with an e-commerce platform, and more
  • Perform other functions like software installation, disaster recovery, and more

Many computer systems designers work under contract terms for their employers. Others may work as part of broader computer systems design firms. It all depends on professionals and their goals!

Furthermore, some computer system designers may specialize in one area or another.

What is an E-Commerce Expert?

“E-commerce” is short for electronic commerce. It broadly encompasses all kinds of commercial activity over the internet. E-commerce can include online stores where customers purchase products and have them shipped to their doors. It can also include digital services, online games, and such.

An e-commerce expert specializes in the designing or management of e-commerce activities. For example, if a brand wishes to expand online, it may hire an e-commerce expert to ensure its online launch goes smoothly.

In many ways, an e-commerce expert is also a marketing expert. An e-commerce expert has to understand:

  • Societies thoughts about e-commerce
  • Interactions between shoppers and shopping platforms and systems
  • How best to leverage computer resources to create an enjoyable, profitable shopping experience

When a shopper visits an online store and decides to make a purchase, it’s partially due to the efforts of an e-commerce design expert. E-commerce experts often use many of the same principles as computer systems designers. They have to think about issues such as:

  • How intuitive or navigable an interface is
  • Whether people will want to use the e-commerce platform or program
  • Whether it’s easy for customers to get lost on shopping pages

Both computer systems design and e-commerce complement each other in surprising ways.

So, What is a Computer Systems Design & E-Commerce Expert?

A computer systems design and e-commerce expert is a computer systems designer who specializes in e-commerce products, software, or digital services.

This blended professional may serve a variety of roles for different companies or brands depending on their unique needs. For example, a computer systems design and e-commerce expert may:

  • Help a brand launch a new online website
  • Help a brand run their e-commerce operations successfully
  • Design specialized software for e-commerce buying and selling for a brand
  • Take part in disaster recovery services for a brand (if customer data is lost, for example)
  • Establish a new marketplace online
  • Manage an on-site data center or helpdesk for a brand’s e-commerce operations
  • Provide computer systems management services for an organization
  • Install specialized software

This specialized yet diverse professional position offers a wide range of opportunities. Those who become computer systems design and e-commerce experts have many options in the future once they acquire the proper credentials.

Why Become a Computer Systems Design & E-Commerce Expert?

A college student or young professional may wish to become a computer systems design and e-commerce expert for several reasons.

For one, these professionals merge multiple disciplines and forms of knowledge. To be a successful computer system designer and e-commerce expert, one must:

  • Understand the logical, systemic thinking behind most computer systems
  • Comprehend the central tenets of good e-commerce design, which prioritizes usability, a human focus, and psychology

In this way, a computer systems design and e-commerce expert is a blended professional position, allowing for exciting and dynamic growth throughout one’s career. A student who becomes this type of professional may find themselves advancing into new jobs every few years.

Furthermore, online shopping is becoming more popular, and computer systems design is just as pertinent now as a few years ago. Therefore, computer systems design and e-commerce expertise are growing, lucrative fields. This trend is unlikely to change anytime soon. If one wants a job to make good money and have job security, this is an excellent field to enter.

How to Become an E-Commerce Expert for Computer Systems Design

Becoming an e-commerce expert for computer systems design may take some time. As a blended professional pathway, students will first need to learn appropriate computer systems design principles.

In essence, computer systems design and e-commerce experts are computer systems designers first. Then they choose to specialize in e-commerce systems design or similar practices.

Let’s break down step-by-step how students can become e-commerce experts with their computer systems design skills.

Get A Degree

Firstly, students need a degree to be hired by any brand looking for a computer systems designer. While students don’t necessarily need a degree to become an e-commerce expert, a degree will be necessary for the other half of this profession.

Students must prove that they have the programming, software management, and other complex skills necessary to be computer systems, design experts. Then they can bring those skills to the e-commerce side of things.

Once they acquire a degree, students can specialize further or add additional credentials under their belts. Then they can start interviewing for positions.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Computer Systems Designer/ E-Commerce Expert?

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to become a computer systems designer. Specifically, students should get a degree in subjects like:

These potential degree pathways could give students the skills to succeed in the computer systems design industry. Students should not get a degree in e-commerce or a related field (at least at first).

Once a student acquires a computer systems degree, they can earn a second degree if they wish.

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, a master’s degree could also be beneficial. With a master’s degree, students can:

  • Potentially qualify for more management positions
  • Likely be paid more for their work
  • Learn more about computer systems design and programming

Bottom line: To get started in this career, get a Bachelor of Science in one of the above fields. Then move on to additional education credentials.

Related Resource: Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science

Online vs. In-Person Degrees

When getting a degree to become a computer systems designer, students will have to choose between online and in-person programs. Fortunately, online programs are just as robust and high-quality as in-person programs these days.

The critical thing to look for is accreditation. Students will want to get an online degree only from an accredited institution. Accredited colleges and universities:

  • Have the academic rigor necessary to prove one’s skills
  • Are reviewed by unbiased outside agencies for quality
  • Prepare students to be hired by worthwhile employers

In many cases, it can be tough to be hired as a computer systems designer or similar professional position if a degree is from a non-accredited institution.

Online degrees are beneficial for many because they:

  • Allow students to complete most coursework asynchronously (that is, on one’s schedule)
  • Don’t require students to move to complete their education
  • May be more affordable than in-person degrees in some cases

However, in-person degrees can also be worthwhile if a student learns best from attending lectures in real life. It’s ultimately up to each person!

Classes to Become a Computer Systems Design Expert

Students need to complete several classes to become computer systems design experts regardless of the program pursued. Students will study subjects including but not limited to:

  • Programming
  • Coding languages, including Python, C++, and more
  • Network and systems architecture
  • Systems design
  • Cybersecurity

The exact class composition will depend on a program’s focus and whether it includes a specialization. Some computer degree programs allow students to specialize in IT security, systems design, and so on.

Suppose a student wishes to become a computer systems design expert. In that case, they’ll want to pick a specialization that closely aligns with that professional goal.

If they also decide to acquire a marketing degree or a degree in a subject related to e-commerce, they may take classes like:

  • Psychology
  • Marketing principles
  • Business management
  • E-Commerce principles
  • Advertising

Acquire Credentials

After acquiring a degree in computer science, computer systems design, programming, or a related subject, students should then obtain additional credentials. Credentials can include:

  • Additional degrees
  • Certificates
  • Academic awards

Regardless, additional credentials prove that a computer science student has the right skills and expertise necessary for available systems design positions.

Why are credentials necessary? Because most organizations that employ computer systems designers want specific things from their employees or contractors. Say that a retail company wants to move online and needs an e-commerce system designed ASAP.

They specifically want a systems designer who can code in Python, which is the programming language used by their other IT professionals. In that case, only a computer system specialist who knows how to write and edit code in Python will be appropriate for the position.

The more credentials a student has, the more likely they will get the best jobs. It’s a good idea for every computer science major or computer systems designer to specialize in at least two programming languages.

In this way, they’ll be able to serve a variety of companies or clients. Furthermore, it may be wise to acquire an e-commerce specialty or expert certificate. One great example is a CIW E-Commerce Specialist certificate. This certificate, once obtained, proves that a student knows how to leverage systems design and marketing techniques to maximize e-commerce success.

While the above certificate is currently retired, similar certificates exist. Each can improve a candidate’s prospect of employment opportunities after acquiring a degree.

Acquire Experience

After acquiring a degree and whatever certificates the student chooses, a candidate should develop experience in computer systems design and e-commerce.

A few great sources of experience include:

  • Working for a company or e-commerce firm
  • Designing one’s own e-commerce systems or platforms
  • Creating a portfolio of code or software

Acquiring experience is vital so that employers understand that a candidate can think outside the box and develop creative solutions for their needs. By definition, computer systems design with an e-commerce focus requires candidates to:

  • Anticipate the needs of a firm
  • Come up with a computer system solution for the firm
  • Implement or iterate upon the designed system as needed

Interview for Positions

After gaining adequate experience, candidates can interview for positions at various companies. Many companies will hire computer systems designers and e-commerce experts alike on a job-by-job basis. It’s possible to become a freelance computer systems designer or e-commerce specialist depending on one’s goals.

However, e-commerce experts may find permanent roles as part of companies’ IT departments. They may be responsible for implementing e-commerce computer systems or designing new systems as needed. Alternatively, they could manage or update existing e-commerce computer systems as required.

Job Outlook for Computer Systems Design & E-Commerce Experts

There are many job opportunities for computer system design and e-commerce experts. These professionals are skilled at e-commerce topics and designing functional, intuitive computer systems.

For instance, an e-commerce expert may become a computer and information systems manager. These professionals earn an average salary of $151,150 per year. They only require a bachelor’s degree, and the job industry overall is expected to grow by 11% over the next few years.

Alternatively, computer systems designers may become web developers and digital designers. These specialists both create and maintain websites. With the right e-commerce specialty, such professionals will develop e-commerce platforms, online stores, and customer service portals. These professionals earn an average salary of $77,200 per year. The industry is expected to grow by about 13% over the next few years.

A computer system designer may also become a computer systems analyst. Such professionals earn an average annual salary of $93,730 per year. This job’s outlook is still positive, if not as high as the others. It is expected to grow by 7% through 2030.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the e-commerce industry to grow rapidly over the next few years. As more people participate in online shopping, novel and intuitive solutions for brands will be increasingly necessary.

The BLS projects that employment in the electronic shopping and mail-order houses industry should reach well over 450,000 positions by the end of 2022.

Related Resource: 13 Highest Paying Technology Careers

Opportunities for Career Growth in E-Commerce and Systems Design

Some professionals in this field may decide to grow their careers by working as freelancers. Computer systems design and e-commerce experts will find themselves with in-demand skills. They will design functional systems and understand e-commerce markets to exceptional degrees.
Therefore, they can work as freelancers by:

  • Designing and implementing e-commerce computer systems including online stores, customer service or checkout portals, brand marketplaces, bidding systems, and more
  • Checking or altering existing e-commerce systems for brands, such as adding an online shopping portal to an existing platform
  • Managing or administrating existing e-commerce websites or shopping platforms

Other computer system designers may decide to enter the app space. Mobile apps are top-rated these days, especially online shopping. However, someone needs to develop these apps – preferably someone with a background in e-commerce design and marketing.

A systems designer with the right specialty, such as mobile app design, could be just the fit for these positions.

Still, more computer system design and e-commerce experts may move into management positions. As they acquire experience, they may decide to lead teams of like-minded marketers or systems designers. Management positions often come with much higher pay alongside their increased responsibility.

Conclusion

Ultimately, computer systems design and e-commerce experts are likely to become more common as time goes on. As more and more brands pivot toward an emphasis on online shopping, e-commerce expertise will become more in demand than ever. Meanwhile, functional and user-friendly computer systems will be just as vital to ensure that customers pick one company over another.

There’s no better time to get started as a computer systems design and e-commerce expert. Students can begin their journeys by acquiring a bachelor’s degree through an online university. GetEducated has a broad range of qualified, accredited schools with stellar computer science and similar programs. Check out the list of accredited online universities today!

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FAQs

What do you need to understand to become an e-commerce expert?

E-commerce is a diverse and growing field, but much of it relies on search engine optimization, or SEO, experience. In a nutshell, SEO relies on optimizing a website, software program, or platform so that it appears more frequently on Google’s search engine results.

High SEO results appear first when someone searches for a specific product or shopping niche on Google. To maximize e-commerce success, many brands employ computer specialists to boost their SEO. They may do this by placing exact keywords within content, designing a new website, and so on.

Is it better to start in e-commerce or computer systems design?

Computer systems design. It’s much easier to learn the core tenets of e-commerce expertise than the reverse. Furthermore, to become a computer systems design and e-commerce expert, students will need a degree in the former and not the latter. Instead, they can get a certificate showing their e-commerce expertise after completing their computer science or systems design bachelor’s degree.

Where is the best place to get experience as a computer systems designer?

Students can get experience building computer systems or designing IT infrastructure in several professions. They could become programmers, in which one writes and tests code for software programs. Or they can become computer hardware engineers, though this focuses more on computer parts rather than software.

They may also become IT business analysts. They’ll use the technology for an employee organization to determine what upgrades or changes can improve profits.

Is a master’s degree necessary to succeed in this field?

Not at all. Over time, building up a portfolio of successful projects will be more important than getting another degree. As mentioned above, however, earning a master’s degree won’t hurt one’s employment opportunities. This choice is especially beneficial if a student wants to become a manager.