A computer systems analyst works in the grey area between IT and business management. They analyze existing computing solutions within an organization and help increase efficiency. They can ‘translate’ what the managers of a company wants in order to make that company more efficient to the IT department. By and large, analysts research, design, and implement computer system solutions that help businesses thrive. Like most computer-related career tracks, this one pays very well. On the other hand, it also comes with very high standards for attaining employment.
Computer Systems Analyst Job Description
An analyst looks at the IT infrastructure of a given company, including both computers and the protocols which they use. As a result of their analysis, they will provide IT system solutions to render this segment of operations more efficient, effective, and reliable. They work in the liminal space where business and information meet. To this end, they need to be able to work closely with the managers of a company, in order to figure out what part the IT system plays within the structure and efficiency schemata of that enterprise. They will have to come up with cost and benefit analyses for these managers, in order for the former to determine whether or not upgrades are in order. They will come up with solutions to render the existing infrastructure more operational and will also research, design, develop, and implement new system setting. These involve both hardware and software configuration. Finally, they will train the end-users, in order to make sure they are properly using the new system solutions.
A systems analyst isn’t part of the IT team, but they do work closely with it. They employ data modeling solutions and work out the speed and memory requirements for the entire computer system of an organization. Since this field is very ample, most analysts become specialized in the specific type of system their organization needs. Some analysts now work remotely, thanks to the increasing prevalence of telecommuting. However, those who provide consultancy services must often travel to meet their clients.
Computer Systems Analyst Education Requirements and Training
Becoming a computer systems analyst will usually require a degree in Information Science or in Computer Science. However, it is not altogether uncommon for professionals with business or liberal arts academic backgrounds to become a systems analyst. In fact, some organizations favor candidates with a strong business or information system management majors, since the job is heavily business-focused. This all depends on the nature of each specific jobs: some of the more business-oriented positions will favor applicants with an MBA and a concentration in IT; meanwhile, those with a more pronounced focus on technical tasks will require applicants to hold an M.A. in computer science.
Also, it’s important to note that becoming an analyst requires a life-long learning process. The field of computer technology is highly dynamic and competitive. As such, in order to stay up-to-date with the new research and keep their skills up to par, many professionals in the field continue to attend training courses throughout their career. Also, it’s important for an analyst to have a good grasp of the field they work in. A background in health management will be relevant for a hospital analyst. A bank analyst must possess a clear understanding of the financial world.
Computer Systems Analyst Salary
Like all computer-based occupations, the computer systems analyst salary is quite healthy. In fact, at a median yearly wage of $79,680 (according to data from May 2012*), it pays far better than most other jobs in the field. The median yearly wage for all professionals in the computer industry stands at $76,270. Experts calculate median wages as earning mid-points in any given profession. Half the workers in this field earn less and half will earn more than that. To further confirm the fact that this job pays well, it’s interesting to know that the bottom 10 per cent of earners in this field make less than $49,950. For a broader picture of what this means, the total median wage for all occupations in the United States is $34,750. The top 10 per cent of income earners in the field of computer system analysis make more than $122,090.
Of course, this hefty salary comes with the territory. The vast majority of workers in this occupation work full time and some 25 per cent of those polled in 2012 by the BLS stated that their work weeks regularly exceeded 40 hours. Of all 520,600 computer analysts employed in the U.S. that year, most (27 per cent) worked in computer system design and other related industries. The remainder of the top 5 employing industry consisted of finance and insurance (14 percent of all systems analyst), company management (8 per cent), information services (7 per cent), and government services, both at state level and at local level (7 per cent). Though most professionals in the industry work in-house, some provide occasional consultation services. They are usually employed by IT companies and are in charge of collaborating with the employees of other companies.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Systems Analyst Outlook
Predictably enough, the field will see a lot of rapid growth from 2012 to 2022. This career track is expected to expand by 25 per cent* over these 10 years, as more and more businesses become heavily reliant on IT. New computer system solutions, such as wireless, mobile, and cloud-based computing are becoming the norm. Companies that want to stay competitive will want to integrate them to the best of their capabilities. To this end, they will need analysts who know just how to design such systems and make them work for each business that opts for them. It’s also relevant to note that the expansion of the health care field will further ramp up the need for quality analysts. This is because the health services industry will continue to integrate electronic health records and prescriptions, among other IT-based solutions.
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/