Many companies today rely on computer systems to conduct day-to-day operations. IT analysts are in demand because they help set up these systems, and you can be one of them if you follow our tips. You can use this guide to learn how to become an IT analyst. It includes average salaries, education pathways, job opportunities, and more.
What Is an IT Analyst?
An IT analyst, also commonly known as a computer systems analyst, is responsible for designing and monitoring information technology systems. As an analyst, you must ensure these systems efficiently run and be ready to provide solutions to problems during operations. You will need communication skills and technical skills.
IT Analyst Job Description
IT analysts monitor equipment, programs, and tools for company operational needs. They rely on the appropriate IT skills to advise stakeholders on issues surrounding a company’s computer system. IT analysts are vital in any company that uses technology and the Internet to function. In 2021, this includes pretty much every company and organization.
IT Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay for an IT analyst is $93,730. IT analysts can expect to receive between $56,510 and $152,060 per year, depending on their experience. Companies across many sectors, including finance, insurance, and government, hire IT analysts for operational needs.
As businesses continue to rely on information technology, more jobs in the field are being created. The BLS predicts that IT analyst jobs will grow by seven percent between 2020 and 2030, with increasing demands for experts in the healthcare industry driving the boom.
Top Reasons to Become an IT Analyst in 2021
Job opportunities and innovation do not slow down in the IT field. Businesses and organizations are always on the lookout for individuals with exceptional technical skills. Despite the pandemic, 2021 is a good year as any to become an IT analyst for the following reasons.
- Good annual salary opportunity. The average salary of an IT analyst is a good motivation, especially if you succeed more in the field and have the credentials and skills. Even entry-level positions pay well.
- Promising job outlook. The job growth for IT analyst jobs is at seven percent until 2030. This means that more jobs will get created for you in that time.
- Industry experience opportunities. Common industries such as information, management, and finance provide job opportunities. However, companies in other sectors, such as healthcare, look to hire IT analysts.
- Personal interests and goals. If you are into tech innovation and computer systems, pursuing a career as an IT analyst is the right choice.
IT Analyst Job Requirements
The path to becoming an IT analyst can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Individuals with career goals to become IT analysts should prepare as much as possible to meet all job requirements. Take a look below at the things you need to get a job as an IT analyst.
- Education. Most companies require their IT analysts to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Technology, but other organizations depend on those with skills and proven track records regardless of degree.
- Problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills are necessary for an IT analyst job because you are expected to provide tech solutions for your business.
- Relevant non-technical skills. Having unique qualifications to prove you have analytical, soft, and communications skills is a must so you can collaborate with company stakeholders.
- Up-to-date knowledge. Be on the lookout for technology trends because you will need to know these for future proposals and projects for your business.
Type of IT Analyst Careers
What are some of your job prospects as someone interested in information technology? IT analysis is a broad pathway, so you can find many different opportunities. The points below highlight the careers you can pursue if you want to become an IT analyst.
Computer systems analyst is another term for IT analyst. To succeed as a computer analyst, you must be ready to provide solutions, designs, and expert advice regarding IT systems. You must also combine IT and business skills to help your organization implement strategies to reach its goals.
The median salary for a computer systems analyst is $93,730 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It notes that jobs for systems analysts will grow seven percent until 2030. This boom is to take place in the information, computer design, finance, and healthcare sectors.
An information security analyst defends IT systems from potential security threats. As a security analyst, you must safeguard crucial data and information stored within servers from cyber attacks. Aside from that, you implement security measures to prevent breaches and conduct ethical hacking to identify vulnerabilities.
The median salary for an information security analyst position is $103,590, according to the BLS. The predicted job growth for the 2020 to 2030 period is promising at 33 percent, thanks to the increasing need for tighter cyber security. Expect companies in the information, finance, computer design, management, and administrative support sectors to seek your expertise.
An IT-focused business analyst career focuses on developing the IT system of an organization. You collaborate with other teams to upgrade tech to ensure efficient business processes. One unique requirement you need to become a business analyst is exceptional programming skills in SQL to attend to the data analysis and database administration aspects of the job.
Business analysis pays an average salary of $69,844, according to PayScale. Well-known companies like JP Morgan Chase, Accenture, Bank of America, and Ford are the popular employers of business analysts. PayScale also reports that New York City business analysts earn about 14 percent more when compared to the national average.
IT Analyst Meaning: What Does an IT Analyst Do?
Still quite unsure what an IT analyst does? Familiarize yourself with the following responsibilities so you know what to expect from the job. These duties can vary depending on your position and the company you work for, but this is the general job description of an IT analyst.
Proposes IT Upgrades
The primary responsibility of an IT analyst is to find the appropriate technology that organizations can use to boost efficiency and productivity. The tech does not have to be new or popular, but companies need the right tools and equipment for their operations. IT analysts should be aware of a wide variety of technology solutions.
Addresses IT Business Issues
Organizations face many tech problems like system failures due to unforeseen circumstances. As an IT analyst, it is your responsibility to provide solutions to these issues. If you specialize in cyber security, you are involved in the planning of preventive and protective measures. You can also become a senior business analyst with a higher level of education.
Analyzes Cost and Benefit
Business data analytics is part of your work as an IT analyst, especially if you conduct business analysis. To succeed, you must know how to analyze costs and benefits and propose plans for tech systems. You must include your analysis in any of your proposals so stakeholders can make business decisions.
Essential IT Analyst Skills
Are you wondering what skills you need to excel as an IT analyst? There are many different hard skills and soft skills that you can use to succeed. Make sure to focus on strengthening these skills as early as now to reach your career goal in tech.
Knowledge of IT Products and Services
You will need to understand the most effective and efficient information technology systems that you can acquire for your organization. This way, you can create a tight proposal that stakeholders can support. Knowing the ins and outs of the tech world gives you an advantage, allowing you to tackle any situation.
Software Maintenance and Development
Organizations expect you to use your software development skills to fix tech problems and provide troubleshooting if needed. As an IT analyst, one of your core skills should be programming. You can learn to code at one of the best coding bootcamps.
Use your analytical skills to track interconnected issues. IT analysts are often bombarded with different types of tech and non-tech problems to address, so using logic and reasoning can help you solve problems. As an analyst, this is a skill you will use in your everyday work to create business solutions.
How Long Does It Take to Become an IT Analyst?
It can take a few months to a few years to become an IT analyst, depending on the educational pathway you take. The most general way to become an analyst is to enroll in a degree program in information technology or computer science. A bachelor’s degree can take about four years to finish, so be prepared to commit.
However, there’s another choice. You can opt to take a non-traditional path by pursuing an associate degree at a community college or a certificate at a vocational school or coding bootcamp. A full-time coding bootcamp generally takes 10 to 12 weeks to complete, while a part-time program usually lasts over 20 weeks.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an IT Analyst?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become an IT analyst. What makes a coding bootcamp different from a university program is that the former is shorter with a focused curriculum. You can enroll in an SQL bootcamp, programming bootcamp, or even a data analytics bootcamp.
Moreover, coding bootcamps have career service programs to help graduates land a job in tech. Well-known companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and more are hiring coding bootcamp graduates as well. With proper training and a solid project portfolio, you can join their ranks.
Can I Become An IT Analyst From Home?
Yes, you can become an IT analyst from home. Many different education programs are offered online. Coding bootcamps are the usual go-to if you want to take up a particular tech skill. There are hundreds of resources through massive online open course (MOOC) platforms as well.
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You can also earn an online IT degree through programs at various US universities, including the University of Washington and George Mason University. The training offered at these universities is the same, and you will earn a diploma just like studying at an in-person school. If you keep up with your studies, you can become an analyst from home.
How to Become an IT Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you want to become an IT analyst, you should follow these standard steps. Even though no IT analyst follows the same path, meeting these milestones is the best way to streamline your experience. Read below to read the best steps to become an IT analyst in 2021.
Step 1: Develop Your IT Skills
Whether you go for a bachelor’s degree program or a coding bootcamp, you will need to develop your IT skills. Choose the educational pathway that you feel will effectively improve what you can already do. Coding bootcamps are faster and less expensive, but a degree program might be more comprehensive.
Step 2: Apply for Internships
Internships provide training grounds to get to know the field and work on real projects. Tech companies can provide you with professional training as early as your pre-graduation stage. Through internships, you can learn strategies and obtain knowledge that you can apply when you work as a professional yourself.
Step 3: Take a Certification Exam
Depending on your chosen career, there is a certification exam that you can take if you want to have additional credentials. There are professional exams that you can take after graduation for your first job application. Meanwhile, there are certification exams that you can only take when you already have a certain amount of work experience.
Best Schools and Education for an IT Analyst Career
In terms of schools and available education, there is a wide range of options for an IT analyst. You can receive training from coding bootcamps, vocational schools, community colleges, and universities. Each of these options has its own approach, so the decision depends on your study preference.
IT Analyst Bootcamps
Several coding bootcamps provide shorter courses for you. There are specific IT analyst bootcamps you can check out, with programs offered by bootcamps like Coder Academy and Wharton Exec Ed. You can also take programs on cyber security, data science, data analytics, and project management.
If you want to focus on information technology alone, a vocational school is a viable option. IT programs at vocational schools focus on practical skill-building for a potential apprenticeship. Vocational schools prepare you for the right job, so you can expect programs to have a tighter curriculum.
Through a community college, you obtain an associate degree in under two years. Do this if you are short on time or still deciding whether to complete a four-year degree program. Community colleges offer associate degrees in information technology, computer science, as well as business.
IT Analyst Degrees
A bachelor’s degree is the go-to educational pathway because most IT analyst careers require four years of education. Information technology, computer science, business administration, and other related programs are available in various universities in the US. You can opt to take an online degree course as long as your chosen school is offering it.
The Most Important IT Analyst Certifications
Taking a professional certification exam is not necessary for an IT analyst career. However, if you want to prove your expertise, there are exams conducted by reputable institutions. In this section, you will find IT analyst certifications and business analyst certifications.
The Advanced Level Test Analyst is a software certification exam for your knowledge and capability in the different stages of software development. Knowing software development is an asset for an IT analyst because coding is vital for many different positions.
The Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification is for business analysts who want to prove their expertise. Those who are interested in business analyst positions can take this exam to demonstrate their competencies in business and information technology. The exam includes questions on risk aversion and the software lifecycle.
IT analysts who want to work in cyber security can check out CompTIA’s CySA+ certification exam that tests your ability to detect and prevent cyber security threats. The exam focuses on attack findings, software security, IT compliance, and other security concerns. CySA+ is recognized by the US Department of Defense.
How to Prepare for Your IT Analyst Job Interview
Your primary concern during your interview is to demonstrate the common skills expected of an IT analyst. Along with your education and experience, you will need to express your personality. The interview is likely technical, so make sure you prepare to answer the questions and stay confident throughout the process.
IT Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What specific IT skills make you qualified for this position?
- Did you design an IT system in school? Please describe your process.
- When did you experience a technical problem with a program you were using? How did you troubleshoot or resolve it?
- How do you communicate and maintain good relationships with customers?
Should I Become an IT Analyst in 2021?
Yes, you should become an IT analyst in 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a decent job growth rate, and experienced analysts can earn high salaries. Many industries are turning to IT systems to speed up operations and processes. Taking advantage of this today will be a good career move, and you should become an IT analyst.
IT Analyst FAQ
Yes, you do not need an advanced degree to become an IT analyst. While certain companies prefer bachelor’s degree holders, you can try learning at a bootcamp instead.
Yes, there is no easy path to reach your goals, and becoming an IT analyst is no exception. Regardless of your chosen educational pathway, you need to study and work hard to master the skills that you need.
Those who are interested in the business analysis field can become business analysts because it incorporates IT in business models. You can also venture into a cyber security career as an information security analyst.
Yes, an IT analyst earns a median salary of $93,730 per year, according to the BLS. If you specialize in business management or cyber security, then you can potentially receive more money.
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