What is a Computer Systems Analyst?

A computer systems analyst plays an essential role in any company, non-profit or government agency that relies on information technology (IT) to perform critical processes. Almost all modern organizations use computers to store, transmit and use data, as well as interact with customers and communicate internally. Analysts can fill a variety of positions with a wide range of responsibilities, so the required skills and knowledge varies extensively depending on the employer’s needs.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

Computer systems analysts’ responsibilities revolve around bridging the gap between their employer’s needs and IT resources. They are often tasked with analyzing the current state and capabilities of computer systems to make sure they are enough to meet expected demands. Analysts are often responsible for identifying ways to maximize performance and efficiency of systems, as well as streamline the processes used by other employees who access the system for their job.

While computer systems analysts are expected to have a firm practical understanding of computers, many also need advanced people skills to succeed in their role. Analysts must communicate effectively with business leaders and management, as well as their team members collaborating on projects. They may also be required to translate technical concepts to audiences that lack specific expertise, so they can work with them to develop strategies that meet the organization’s objectives.

Technical Skills and Education

The “hard skills” required by employers depends on the type of IT systems and infrastructure they use. Prospective computer systems analysts should be fluent in several key programming skills, including SQL, JAVA and Oracle among others. It’s a good idea for computer science students to expand their studies to include common languages that are in popular demand, as they are required for many related positions in professional environments.

The vast majority of people who start a career as a computer systems analyst enter with only a bachelor’s degree, which is typically in the field of computer science or information science. Following their formal education, computer science professionals can further advance their credentials by seeking certification from the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals. The organization offers a variety of certifications based on specific skills and industries, allowing individuals to pursue specialized credentials within their field.

A Career as a Computer Systems Analyst

As modern organizations become more and more reliant on information technology for everyday operations, the demand for computer systems analysts is expected to rise considerably. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that computer systems analysts earned a median pay of $87,220 a year in 2016. The listed job outlook also forecasts 21 percent growth in demand, which is much higher than the average across all occupations.

Related Resource: How Do You Become an Information Security Officer?

Anyone interested in making a career out of computer science, or systems analysis specifically, needs to develop their understanding of both IT and business. Learning how to use systems to meet the needs of an employer requires critical thinking, effective communication and a thorough understanding of technical details. While the job requires a variety of advanced skills, the rising demand for computer systems analysts means it is a profession worth considering for those interested in IT.