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Computer Systems Analyst Career

Career Description

A Computer Systems Analyst helps organizations to use technology effectively and to incorporate rapidly changing technologies into their existing systems. The work of computer systems analysts evolves rapidly, reflecting new areas of specialization and changes in technology.

Common Work Tasks

  • Design and develop new computer systems by choosing and configuring hardware and software
  • Consult managers and users to define the goals of the system, then design a system to meet those goals
  • Specify the inputs that the system will access,  decide how the inputs will be processed, and format the output to meet users’  needs
  • Prepare cost-benefit and return-on-investment analyses to help management decide whether implementing the proposed technology would be financially feasible
  • Coordinate tests and observe the initial use of the system to ensure that it performs as planned
  • Prepare specifications, flow charts, and process diagrams for computer programmers to follow; then they work with programmers to “debug,” or eliminate errors, from the system
  • Diagnose problems, recommend solutions, and determine whether program requirements have been met
  • Create custom applications tailored to their organization’s tasks
  • Make the computer systems within an organization, or across organizations, compatible so that information can be shared

Other Job Titles

Computer Systems Analysts are also known by other titles,  including:

  • System Architects
  • System Designers
  • Software Quality Assurance Analysts
  • Programmer Analysts
  • Systems Programmers
  • Applications Programmers

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
When hiring computer systems analysts, employers usually prefer applicants who have at least a bachelor’s degree. For more technically complex jobs, people with graduate degrees are preferred. Despite the preference for technical degrees, however, people who have degrees in other majors may find employment as systems analysts if they also have technical skills. Courses in computer science or related subjects combined with practical experience can qualify people for some jobs in the occupation.

Experience
  Employers usually look for people who have broad knowledge and experience related to computer systems and technologies, strong problem-solving and analytical skills, and the ability to think logically. In addition, because they often deal with a number of tasks simultaneously, the ability to concentrate and pay close attention to detail is important. Although these workers sometimes work independently,  they frequently work in teams on large projects. Therefore, they must have good interpersonal skills and be able to communicate effectively with computer personnel, users, and other staff who may have no technical background.

Salary

The median annual salary for a Computer Systems Analyst is $73,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $113,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $44,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of computer systems analysts are:

  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services - $80,150
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $75,050
  • Insurance Carriers - $73,290
  • Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers - $88,240
  • Local Government - $65,160

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  29%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 146,000
  • Employment 2006 : 504,000
  • Employment 2016:  650,000

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