A systems analyst creates plans for the integration of computer systems. Their main goal is always the maximization of an organization’s investment in staff, hardware, software, and processes. A systems analyst uses information engineering, structured analysis. cost-benefit analysis, and data modeling, among other methods.
Most systems analyst positions require a degree in systems analysis or a related technology field. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Systems Analyst Job Responsibilities
A systems analyst will interact with both internal staff and external clients, often on the same project. It is critical for a systems analyst to understand the operational systems of a client, and what the client requires as changes to their existing systems. The systems analyst must translate those requirements into technical specifications to be used by internal staff to develop the system modifications; diagrams must also be prepared explaining the modifications so that both technical staff and executive management can understand what must be done. The systems analyst must propose alternative solutions that balance cost and benefit, and adequately test the possibilities for business and technical compatibility — the result of this phase of the work by a systems analyst will be feasibility reports that will enable executive management and the technical staff to come to a consensus on how to proceed.
Systems Analyst Training and Education Requirements
The training and education requirements for a systems analyst will vary from industry to industry, but, because of the large number of workers currently in this job area, the educational level of a job applicant must be higher than average in order to have a good chance at gaining employment as a systems analyst.
Other factors that may affect what educational level a company will require for a systems analyst position are such things as the current economic condition of the company and the industry, deadlines that a company may be facing for specific projects, local demand for systems analysts, and changes in technology.
For a systems analyst position, most employers require at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in information science, management information systems (MIS), or computer science. However, many of the competition applying for a systems analyst position will have advanced degrees, such as a Master’s in computer science or some other technical area. Some competitors for a position may even have an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) with a concentration in MIS or Information Systems (IS).
An Associate degree or a certificate in IS may gain an applicant a foothold in a company at a basic technical level, but it is not likely to lead to an offer of employment as a systems analyst.
Systems Analyst Salary and Wages
Most employees in the computer field earn more than the national average, and that fact is true for systems analysts too. Using the figures for 2008, labor statistics show a non-supervisory systems analyst averaging around $1400 gross per week, compared to a national average of $600 gross per week. Systems analysts are paid well for their expertise and specialized skills. On an hourly basis, a systems analyst can expect to earn $38 an hour if employed directly by a computer systems design company. If employed as a systems analyst in some other industry, the pay drops slightly to $36 an hour.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
More experience and higher levels of education, of course, will lead to higher wages. Some areas of the country may also pay higher wages for systems analysts, but this fact depends a great deal on local business conditions. A systems analyst in a metropolitan areas will earn more than a systems analyst in a small town or in a rural area.
Systems analysts are rarely unionized (2% nationwide, versus a national average of 14% over all private industries), but, because of the demand for their skills, still receive such company benefits as paid sick leave, paid vacation, and health benefits
Systems Analyst Certifications
Exams, training and certifications are available through many professional and educational organizations. Some of the topics covered in such exams include determination of technology needs, system design, analysis of information systems, and system development.
Professional certifications can be acquired from computer companies such as Microsoft, Novell, or Sun, from organizations that have taken sponsorship of technology (such as Linux), and from professional organizations of various scopes throughout the world.
Systems Analyst Professional Associations
There are many professional associations for systems analysts, some specific and others more general.
- The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), at http://www.acm.org/, has a scientific and educational focus on computing technology.
- The Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, best known as I-Triple-E), at http://www.computer.org/, is an international group for IT professionals.
- The Council of European Professional Infomatics Societies (CEPIS), at http://www.cepis.org/, covers many countries in Europe.
- The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), at http://www.isaca.org/, is a global organization focusing on IT governance and control.
- The British Computer Society, at http://www.bcs.org/, is intended for UK IT professionals both at home and abroad.
- The Institution of Analysts and Programmers, at http://www.iap.org.uk/, is based in the UK and covers all areas of business and computer analysis.
- The Information Technology Senior Management Forum, at http://www.itsmfonline.org/, is intended for the African-American IT professional progressing into executive management.