How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst
Computer Systems Analyst Careers & Degrees

If you’ve got a knack for computers and fantastic problem solving skills, then you might like to become a computer systems analyst.

Nearly every business and company relies on computers to help them operate at their best.

Better systems can mean better productivity.

It’s the role of the computer systems analyst to find or design the best systems for the needs of business, and to help set up and implement these systems.

To succeed as a computer systems analyst you’ll need to have a diverse skill set.

You’ll need to have a good understanding of information systems and computer applications.

You’ll also need a good grounding in business, and the way companies work.

You’ll also need to have great interpersonal skills, as you will often be communicating with managers and executive officers.

Education Requirements to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

The minimum educational requirement to become a computer systems analyst is a four year bachelor’s degree.

An ideal major would be in computer science or management information systems.

Your major would be well complemented with business subjects, such as business administration and finance.

A bachelor’s degree will help you to gain a role as a computer systems analyst.

However, more companies are looking for individuals with a higher degree, such as a master’s in MIS or business administration.

If you are looking to gain a highly paid job, then you may need to complete post graduate study.

A good idea is to gain a job with your bachelor’s degree, then go on to complete further study part time.

Employers will look for individuals with relevant industry experience.

For instance, a hospital will want a computer systems analyst that understands the healthcare industry.

When it comes to the IT industry, technology is ever-changing, continuing professional development will be essential, as you will need to always be in the know when it comes to new technology advances and software programs.

Computer Systems Analyst Job Description

When you become a computer systems analyst, your role is to make sure that a company has the best possible computer systems in place.

Good systems mean that people’s jobs are made easier and productivity improved.

This means more profit and a healthier bank balance for the company.

You would likely start your task with an analysis of current systems.

You might meet with managers to speak about the IT needs of the company, and then spend some time conducting your own research into the best systems.

In most cases, you would design the right systems yourself.

Once the new systems are approved, a computer systems analyst, sometimes with the help of a computer programmer, would complete the new software and put it in place.

It is also part of the role of a computer systems analyst to test new software, and to troubleshoot problems after the changeover is complete.

Here are some of the tasks of a computer systems analyst:

  • Analyzing the computer and technology based needs of a company
  • Researching new systems
  • Preparing a proposal for new systems
  • Designing a system
  • Installing and implementing a new system
  • Getting rid of bugs and glitches
  • Communicating with colleagues

Computer Systems Analyst Salary and Career Path

Most computer systems analysts are employed by large companies.

Banks, hospitals, insurance companies, and government departments were the biggest employers.

A small proportion of the workforce is self-employed.

When you first become a computer systems analyst, your first job will likely be an assistant to another analyst.

As time passes and you gain experience, you could expect to be given more responsibility and more challenging tasks.

You could eventually be promoted to senior analyst.

Some computer systems analysts will go on to become information systems managers.

Others become consultants, or start their own firms.

The median wage for a computer systems analyst is $75,000 a year, while independent consultants can make significantly more.

Some similar roles to a computer systems analyst include:

If you have a good understanding of computers, and are also great at solving problems and simplifying issues, then you might like to become a computer systems analyst.

Job prospects are strong, meaning that a good salary and secure employment opportunities are available for successful candidates.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$96,160
$55K
$70K
$96K
$117K
$147K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$87,600
Alaska$72,980
Arizona$90,250
Arkansas$72,770
California$110,820
Colorado$99,860
Connecticut$96,910
Delaware$97,850
District of Columbia$109,300
Florida$85,970
Georgia$90,700
Hawaii$79,650
Idaho$81,410
Illinois$91,340
Indiana$82,310
Iowa$85,040
Kansas$77,770
Kentucky$73,540
Louisiana$81,620
Maine$80,540
Maryland$100,970
Massachusetts$98,360
Michigan$86,320
Minnesota$96,090
Mississippi$69,660
Missouri$83,240
Montana$73,850
Nebraska$79,900
Nevada$82,640
New Hampshire$96,340
New Jersey$104,630
New Mexico$79,900
New York$109,910
North Carolina$94,330
North Dakota$68,080
Ohio$88,550
Oklahoma$77,660
Oregon$94,690
Pennsylvania$97,560
Rhode Island$98,840
South Carolina$82,620
South Dakota$75,680
Tennessee$79,690
Texas$102,120
Utah$77,910
Vermont$80,220
Virginia$106,490
Washington$101,460
West Virginia$78,710
Wisconsin$84,340
Wyoming$68,610
Guam$54,420
Puerto Rico$51,900
Virgin Islands$55,920

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $110,820.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $110,820
New York - $109,910
District of Columbia - $109,300
Virginia - $106,490
New Jersey - $104,630
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Computer Systems Analysts, OCC Code 15-1211, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a computer systems analyst do?

Computer system analysts study a business’s current computer systems and try to find ways of improving the way the organization operates.

They usually have knowledge of business and information technology because they need to understand both fields in order to develop IT solutions that make the business operate more efficiently.

As a computer system analyst, you have to keep up with new IT developments and to try to find the ones that best suit your company’s business needs.

Some analysts choose to specialize even further and become software quality assurance analysts or programmer analysts.

Software quality assurance analysts test and diagnose problems of the systems they design to make sure that the systems meet the standards and write reports on how to improve existing systems.

Programmer analysts typically do more coding than the other analysts because they design and update a system’s software and create applications designed especially for the company’s needs.

QuestionHow much does a computer systems analyst make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer system analysts was $88,740 as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on experience, employer, and other factors.

Some computer systems analysts make less than $55,000 while others earn more than $140,000 a year.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a computer systems analyst?

Computer system analysts typically hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

However, some companies may prefer to hire analysts with a degree in business, liberal arts or a different specialty who have technical and programming skills.

Tuition costs vary widely depending on the school you choose and the program itself.

A four-year program in computer science will cost you, on average, around $170,000 in total while a bachelor’s degree program in business will cost you an average of approximately $140,000 in total.

You should keep in mind that most companies prefer to hire candidates who have programming and technical skills but also knowledge in the field they are working in.

For example, banks may prefer to hire candidates with strong programming skills and a degree or diploma in financing.

QuestionWhat is the demand for computer systems analysts?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer systems analysts is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028.

As more organizations increase the role information technology plays in their day-to-day operations, more computer systems analysts will be hired to make these systems more efficient.

Their services will be needed especially by cloud service providers and in the healthcare field.

In order to have better employment opportunities, you should also complete some training in the field in which you want to find employment.

For example, if you want to work for a hospital, you may have an advantage over the other candidates if you hold a degree in computer science or a related field and you have also completed some coursework in health management.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a computer systems analyst?

Computer systems analysts typically need at least 4 years of training beyond high school.

As a computer systems analyst, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or a related field.

In order to have better job prospects, you should also complete some coursework in business administration or the field in which you want to find employment.

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