Become a Computer Systems Analyst

In 2013, the median salary for computer system analysts was $39.03 hourly and $81,190 annually [v]

Salary Potential if you become a computer system analyst

In 2013, the median salary for computer system analysts was $39.03 hourly and $81,190 annually [v]

Are you interested in an IT career that could help businesses operate more efficiently?

Those who become computer system analysts are typically responsible for analyzing computer systems problems related to business, science, engineering, or other fields in order to improve IT infrastructure and hopefully save time and money for the organization. Considerations for modifying and enhancing existing computer systems may include user workflow, new project requirements, and reported problems, as well as any recent innovations that could be implemented to improve system functionality, efficiency, and cost.

In today’s rapidly-transforming business and technology landscape, companies often need to be adaptable and ready for change. A computer systems analyst may play a key role in ensuring that an organization’s computer systems suit their growing and evolving needs. In fact, this role often brings together knowledge of business and technology to solve challenges related to both fields. Want to learn more about this IT career track?

What Computer Systems Analysts Do

Computer systems analysts, sometimes known as business systems analysts, are usually in charge of studying and designing computer systems that allow organizations to run more effectively. The role often involves understanding the challenges and needs of the specific organization and industry in order to make the best technology recommendations. For example, a computer systems analyst for a bank should understand the technology requirements of financial institutions, whereas a systems analyst for an engineering firm could have a different set of knowledge. By working closely with both the leaders of the organization and the Information Technology department, computer systems analysts can translate business goals into instructions understood by IT staff. Here are some other typical duties if you decide to become a computer system analyst:

  • Design computer systems using data modeling, flowcharts, and other methods
  • Manage and coordinate systems installation with engineers, programmers, and other IT staff
  • Modify, upgrade, and maintain computer programs and systems
  • Train system users and provide support and problem-solving for system errors
  • Stay up-to-date on new technology products, techniques, and innovations in order to recommend improvements to computer systems functionality
  • Communicate with business executives to gather information on IT needs, goals, and initiatives; present and defend solutions
  • Prepare costs and benefits analyses to determine if system upgrades make sense for the company’s bottom line

Computer Systems Analyst Qualities and Skill Sets

Requirements for this role could vary a great deal depending on the employer, since every organization has different business needs and goals. But here are just a few areas computer systems analysts may need to be familiar with:

  • Knowledge of database and application development environments such as Microsoft SQL Server, MVC4, jQuery, JavaScript, C#, and others
  • Knowledge of design and engineering concepts – computer systems analysts could design complex IT infrastructures as well as improve existing ones.
  • Knowledge of configuration management software such as HyperSpace, InstallShield, and more; enterprise application integration software such as IBM WebSphere; program and usability testing software
  • Knowledge of business administration – in addition to understanding business goals and department workflow, you may need to know how to manage resources, personnel, and multiple projects
  • Interpersonal skills – this role could involve communication with business decision-makers and customers, leadership of IT staff, and tech support services for non-IT employees
  • Adaptability to change – computer systems analysts may have to deliver quick turnaround on new goals and requirements, as well as understand and implement new technologies

How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

Education[i]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most computer systems analysts earn at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in an area related to computer science. However, some may earn a degree in a different field, such as liberal arts, and learn computer programming and other IT skills independently. Some employers could prefer candidates who hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA), though a Master of Science in Computer Science may be preferred for more complex technical roles.

Because computer systems analysts often have to understand the way businesses run in order to propose the best-fitting IT solutions, business courses could be helpful preparation for this role. Finally, these IT professionals often pursue continued education throughout their careers, whether formally or informally, in order to understand new and changing concepts.

Training and Career Enhancement[i]

Computer systems analysts may benefit from having specific industry knowledge related to the organization they wish to work for. As an example, computer systems analysts in the healthcare field may be better able to serve the needs of a hospital if they understand health management and the role of technology in a medical environment. If you are hoping to pursue an opportunity in a particular field, like healthcare or finance, you may want to consider applicable coursework in this area. With experience, computer systems analysts may also be able to explore enhanced roles such as IT project manager or even IT Director or CTO.

Certification offered by product or software vendors could be beneficial if you are hoping to demonstrate your competencies to prospective employers. Here are a few examples of certifications that may be relevant if you decide to become a computer systems analyst:

  • CCNP Collaboration Certification – this credential, offered by Cisco, could certify your knowledge of Cisco Collaboration and Unified communications devices and networks for improving business collaboration.[ii]
  • Microsoft MCSE: Business Intelligence – this certification tests your knowledge of techniques and concepts related to data deployment and delivery using Microsoft SQL Server.[iii]
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) – this series of certifications may be a good starting point for demonstrating your knowledge of Windows servers, operating systems,  SQL Server, and Microsoft Office 365.[iv]

Computer Systems Analyst Salary Potential and Job Growth[v]

If you’re considering this career path, you’re probably curious about what computer systems analysts may earn. You should be aware that salary potential varies depending on many factors, such as your prospective employer, your credentials and experience, and the area where you hope to pursue employment. However, these stats may give you an idea of the salary potential:

  • In 2013, the median salary for computer system analysts was $39.03 hourly and $81,190 annually.
  • Projected job growth between 2012 and 2022 is 22% or higher, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
  • In 2012, the top industries employing computer systems analysts were professional, scientific, and technical services, as well as finance and insurance.

Still interested in pursuing a computer systems analyst career path? You’re encouraged to keep exploring this profession and learn as much as you can about your options. For starters, you may wish to check out some learning opportunities and degree programs related to this role. 


[i]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm#tab-4| [ii] cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/professional/ccnp_collaboration/index.html | [iii]microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcse-sql-business-intelligence.aspx|[iv] microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcse-sql-business-intelligence.aspx |[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1121.00 | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/computer-hardware-engineers.htm#tab-6

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