Tech specialists like systems analysts are in high demand among businesses. This is because they need experts to keep them informed on current computer systems trends. Businesses use high-end tech business information systems to maintain optimal operations. Find out how to become a systems analyst through this helpful guide.
What Is a Systems Analyst?
A systems analyst is an information technology expert who evaluates the right hardware, software, and other IT needs of an organization. The main goal of a systems analyst is to use tech to help the organization reach its business goals. A systems analyst uses IT skills to provide services such as implementing software systems and monitoring system performance.
Systems Analyst Job Description
The systems analyst provides technological solutions and advice to an organization to help improve its business processes. You can find work exclusively in a company as its main systems analyst or work in consulting firms that offer services to several different businesses. In addition to proposing tech solutions, you will train others in their use.
Systems Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
A systems analyst earns a median salary of $93,730 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some of the industries with the highest systems analyst employment are information, management, computer systems design, finance and insurance, and government. The typical salary range for a systems analyst job is between $56,510 and $152,060.
The projected growth for systems analysts is also positive, with a job outlook of seven percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the BLS. Business leaders are turning to systems analysts to purchase new systems that will help companies reach business goals. Even the healthcare field is starting to transform its business systems to be more digital.
Top Reasons to Become a Systems Analyst in 2021
The future looks good for a career in systems analysis. Being at the peak of digital transformation, there will be a lot of movements in the field that you do not want to miss out on. Below are more reasons to pursue a career as a systems analyst.
- Variety of Skills. You can combine business, analytical, and technical skills as a systems analyst. Improving business systems requires these skills and provides you an opportunity to effectively use them and showcase your talent.
- Positive Job Outlook. The job outlook for systems analysts is higher than the average projected growth at seven percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Small and big firms are adopting advanced technological systems to optimize their processes, so the job opportunities in this line of work are growing.
- Competitive Salary. The annual salary is high for systems analysts as it combines tech and business analysis. Certain cities in California pay higher than the average, according to ZipRecruiter.
- Transformative Contributions to Industries. You will help organizations meet business objectives and guide the transition from traditional to digital. By and large, you are contributing to the overall move of industries to a more advanced way of doing business.
Systems Analyst Job Requirements
There are several requirements that you must meet if you want to work as a systems analyst. It is a career that combines information technology and business, so you need to be comfortable working in both fields. Some of the requirements that you must work on are listed below.
- Computer-Related Education. Complete a degree or training in a computer systems topic. You can try earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, and you can also enroll in a short-term bootcamp.
- Business Consciousness. As a systems analyst, you should be aware of business needs by understanding at least industry-level knowledge to find the right technology for the organization.
- Report Expertise. You will need to prepare reports, position cases, and data-driven analysis. You will present these reports to various managers and defend the needs for a specific technology.
- Professional Certification. A professional certification can help you get a job in the field. Try to acquire certifications and training in subjects like business analytics, computer systems, and database management.
Types of Systems Analyst Careers
There are a variety of systems analyst career options to pursue. Depending on your skills and preferred specialization, you can find a career that suits your needs and that you can feel passionate about. We have provided a list of jobs you can find as a systems analyst, but take note that there are more than what’s listed below.
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A computer systems analyst evaluates the existing computer systems of the organization and proposes improvements and new technologies as needed. Similar to systems architects, these experts are responsible for helping design the IT system of a business. You need to prepare a cost-benefit analysis that meets company requirements.
The average salary of a computer systems analyst is $72,176, according to ZipRecruiter. You can find opportunities in management, information systems, finance, and government. In general, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for this role, but you can also get a coding bootcamp education along with it.
A computer network architect, similar to a network administrator, designs and maintains network systems within an organization. You are in charge of maintaining information and data security and utilizing technologies to ensure good customer service. You can learn computer architecture at a bootcamp or through a degree program.
The median wage of a computer network architect is $97,190, according to ZipRecruiter. Various industries like insurance, computer systems design, management, telecommunication, and educational services require the services of network architects. With more businesses migrating online, this job is in high demand.
A business analyst specializing in information technology provides consultation services to a company on how to upgrade and improve its existing systems. You will need to be familiar with different hardware, software, and other IT products to suggest the optimal tech to the business. You can take extra business courses to learn business skills.
The average salary of a business analyst is $82,343, according to ZipRecruiter. The entry-level education requirement for this role is a bachelor’s degree. Some companies prefer candidates with a master’s degree in IT or other related fields, and others will accept self-taught analysts or bootcamp graduates.
Systems Analyst Meaning: What Does a Systems Analyst Do?
Familiarizing yourself with the responsibilities of a systems analyst will help you achieve your career goals. Knowing what to expect in the field will help you to pick the right training and education path to be a successful systems analyst. Read below to learn more about what a systems analyst really does.
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Evaluates Existing Systems
Your main responsibility is to evaluate the existing IT system of the organization as an expert in this field. Based on this evaluation, you will be able to suggest replacements and upgrades that will align with business needs. This is the most important part of systems analyst positions and requires strong analytical skills.
Prepares Analysis and Reports
The preparation and documentation of analysis and reports are also your responsibility as a systems analyst. Aside from the technical specifics of your proposal, this should also include financial information to help managers decide if they will accept it or not. You’ll need to be familiar with data analysis and have strong communication skills.
Provides Support and Solutions
Some systems analysts that have a background in software development may provide support and solutions for technical issues. Because you proposed a certain technology or system, you are also expected to know how to use it and troubleshoot. Learning to code can help you get further in the industry.
Essential Systems Analyst Skills
To help you perform the duties mentioned above, there are essential skills that you need to acquire. Becoming a systems analyst requires a decent amount of education and knowledge, and you’ll need to be familiar with many skills. Three of these key skills are listed below.
Proficiency in coding SQL and other relevant programming languages is an essential skill for systems analysts, especially when managing data. You must be able to address technical queries about any product that you propose and train relevant members on how to use them. Management information systems often use coding for customization and organization.
Interpersonal skills, such as good communication, are a must, especially when working with managers to effectively discuss changes. You will be overseeing the administration of these systems, so you must also establish a relationship with other members to properly train them on how to operate and care for the technologies.
Business Critical Thinking
A systems analyst is not only knowledgeable in tech, but also in business. All decisions must be made with the business in mind, especially if there is a profit involved. You need to implement a combination of business analysis and tech industry knowledge with every decision you make. Your career progression depends both on your tech skills and business efficiency.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Systems Analyst?
It takes about four years to become a systems analyst, depending on your education path. Most types of systems analyst careers require at least a bachelor’s degree as an entry-level education requirement. However, there are other ways to become a systems analyst, which can be helpful if you’re making a career change.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Systems Analyst?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become a systems analyst. Coding bootcamps offer short, subject-focused programs that you can take up if you want to improve on or learn a specific skill. For instance, you can take up a data analytics bootcamp if you want to develop your database management or SQL programming skills.
Can I Become a Systems Analyst From Home?
Yes. Reputable universities are offering online degree programs, so you can start learning to become a systems analyst at home. Most coding bootcamps also offer online programs to help you get your education from anywhere. All you need is a computer and a stable Internet connection.
How to Become a Systems Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are different ways to become a systems analyst, depending on your previous experience and career goals. However, you’ll need to hit some milestones if you want to succeed. This step-by-step guide provides information to help you become a systems analyst.
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Step 1: Finish Your College Education
It is best to complete a degree program if you want to become a systems analyst. It is a job that requires a certain level of expertise that a four-year college education can provide you. The usual path that students take is pursuing a degree in information technology, then acquiring some business knowledge through audit courses or work experience.
Step 2: Acquire More Skills Through Bootcamps and Online Courses
Coding bootcamps and massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer short courses on specific tech skills that will help you excel in your job. For instance, being knowledgeable in software development prepares you for potential software issues that you may encounter as a systems analyst.
Step 3: Apply for Internships or Apprenticeships
Applying for internships or apprenticeships can provide you with a strong background in systems analysis. While working as an intern or apprentice for a company, you will work on actual cases and clients to give you a real-world perspective. Aside from tech skills, you also get to develop necessary soft skills such as communication and collaboration.
Best Schools and Education for a Systems Analyst Career
Numerous educational options are available and easily reachable today. You can find degrees, certificates, and diplomas in-person in your area or online. Below are some educational options that you can consider to help you become a systems analyst.
Systems Analyst Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are reliable venues to develop your tech skills in programming, data analytics, project management, and more. There are also free coding bootcamps that you can enroll in without the pressure of financial burden. If you’re a career changer, a bootcamp is the best way to grow your skills quickly.
A vocational school may be a good option to sharpen your programming skills. There are a lot of computer-related tech skills offered in vocational schools, including apprenticeship opportunities with tech companies. There aren’t many systems analyst programs here, but it is still helpful to have a diploma under your belt.
A two-year associate degree program in information technology is a good starting point for your career. This pathway is beneficial if you are unsure if systems analysis is a good fit for you. You will get a feel for the field without committing four years to the program. Some community colleges also allow you to transfer your credits.
Systems Analyst Degrees
On top of information technology or computer science degrees, you can also enroll in a course that combines business and technology. A business management degree can be an alternative field as it teaches business technology and data analytics. You may opt for an online or in-person degree, and both are reliable sources of education.
The Most Important Systems Analyst Certifications and Certificates
Are you gearing up for a higher position and salary? You may want to consider earning a systems analyst certification or certificate to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Any of these professional programs and exams below may bolster your resume, no matter what stage you’re at in your career.
The MCSE: Business Applications professional certification offered by Microsoft is intended for individuals who are working on computer systems in a business context. This certification is specific to Microsoft products, which are a popular system used by numerous businesses for daily operations.
The ECBA is a professional title administered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) for entry-level business analysts. The certification exam tests your foundational knowledge of business analysis, including core competencies in business and tech. You need to have at least four years of work experience in the field to earn this certification.
Illinois Tech offers a professional certificate program in systems analysis that will prepare you for a future in the field. The curriculum covers databases, data modeling, as well as cloud computing and cost reporting. You only need a resume to apply for the program, and you will get a certificate once you pass all the requirements and exams.
How to Prepare for Your Systems Analyst Job Interview
An understanding of your duties as a systems analyst will help you prepare for your interview. You should also research the company before you apply. You’ll need to prepare for technical questions that inquire about the depth of your knowledge and technical skills. Below are some of the questions that may come up during the interview.
Systems Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What do you think is your most basic role as a systems analyst? How will you excel in this role?
- What is your process for analyzing computer systems and other technologies? Please explain.
- Describe a project where you designed a system. What were the important points that you considered for this project?
- How do you deal with technical hiccups and problems for a system you design? If you can, please cite a specific example.
Should I Become a Systems Analyst in 2021?
Yes, you should become a systems analyst in 2021. Compensation and job growth are promising, and you can find high-paying jobs for systems analysts all over the country. Studying to become a systems analyst could be an excellent option for your future. You should become a systems analyst if you’re ready for a rewarding and lucrative career.
Systems Analyst FAQ
Yes, you can become a systems analyst without a degree, but it is more difficult. Some businesses prefer advanced degrees or certifications for higher-level roles.
Yes, the requirements to become a systems analyst may be difficult to meet, especially if you are not interested or able to complete a four-year course. However, there are coding bootcamps and other reliable learning platforms where you can learn the in-demand skills for the job.
To qualify as a systems analyst, you need to have in-depth knowledge of different technologies and computer systems. You also need to have a background in programming, software development, and more so you can provide solutions if the system runs into a problem.
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