Technology is becoming a larger part of how every business and organization does its work. As this trend continues, demand for computer systems analysts is higher than ever.
Computer systems analysts are responsible for helping an organization navigate how to use technology efficiently and effectively. They’ll help a company incorporate new technologies into their organization, and help ensure a smooth transition to those new technologies.
Computer systems analysts also command high salaries and have great job prospects, which makes the field an attractive career path for many.
How do you become a computer systems analyst? This is the question we’re going to answer in this guide. Here, you’ll find all of the information you need to make an informed decision about which path you’ll take to become a computer systems analyst. You’ll also find other helpful information on training programs, salaries for computer systems analysts, and more.
What is a Computer Systems Analyst?
Computer systems analysts will study an organization’s current computing infrastructure and create solutions to help the organization become more efficient. They’ll help bridge the gap between business and technology by understanding the constraints of both. Unlike IT managers, they’ll be focused on introducing new technologies to a business and assisting in their introduction to the organization.
Computer Systems Analyst Job Description - What Does a Computer Systems Analyst Do?
Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems, and help them identify opportunities to integrate new technologies, or make current tech more efficient.
They’ll have to combine their knowledge of both business and information technology to help an organization use technology more effectively while considering their budget and other constraints. Computer systems analysts will research new technologies and decide whether installing them within a business will help them become more efficient.
They’ll also prepare a cost and benefit analysis of new technology so management can decide whether new updates are worth it. A computer systems analyst will also have to make sure new technology is installed correctly, and that other members of an organization know how to use the technology.
Computer Systems Analyst Job Outlook
Computer systems analysts have a strong job outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of software engineers is expected to increase by 9 percent by 2028, which is “faster than average” for all other occupations. This increase has been caused by the further adoption of cloud computing by organizations of all sizes, as well as an increase in IT being used in industries such as healthcare.
Computer Systems Analyst Salaries - How Much Do Computer Systems Analysts Earn?
Computer systems analysts earn impressive salaries. The national average salary range for computer systems analysts falls between $59,000 and $96,000, but the average overall salary is over $71,200.
There’s no way to know exactly how much you can expect to earn as a computer systems analyst because salaries vary between businesses and locations. For example, computer systems analysts in San Francisco earn an average of $79,800 per year, whereas the same analyst would earn $69,700 in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s clear that, cost of living aside, location has an impact on what you can expect to earn.
Your salary will also depend on your experience. According to ZipRecruiter, the average senior computer systems analyst earns over $90,200, and some jobs requiring more experience offer salaries of up to $156,500. Keep in mind that salary does not include benefits, perks, or stock options that are often offered by tech companies, which may influence how you consider jobs you are applying for.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
How Can You Become a Computer Systems Analyst?
There are a few different paths you can take to become a computer systems analyst, but the most common routes to starting a career in computer systems are usually:
- Earn a Computer Science degree at a college or university
- Attend an intensive coding bootcamp specializing in software development
- Learn software development and systems analysis through self-study
Each path has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, going to university to study computer science will give you a more well rounded education, but you’ll have to spend four years studying. In the past, only computer science graduates and self-taught programmers found jobs in systems analysis. However, there’s another option available to people interested in this career path: coding bootcamps.
Coding bootcamps are a viable alternative to a college education. Rather than spending four years in a university, prospective technology workers can spend less than a year in a coding bootcamp and learn the practical skills they need to succeed.
Companies that Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn Computer Systems Analysis
There’s more than one way to learn about computer systems analysis. Some computer systems analysts attend college and pursue a degree in computer science or a similar field. Other analysts have taught themselves about software development and do not have any formal coding education. However, there’s a new way to acquire the skills you need to become a computer systems analyst.
Instead of going to college or teaching yourself how to code, you can go to a coding bootcamp. During a coding bootcamp, which usually last between three and nine months, you’ll learn all of the practical skills you need to prepare for a job in tech. You’ll also build a portfolio of work which will allow you to demonstrate your skills to employers.
Top Skills Needed for Computer Systems Analyst Careers
To succeed in your career as a computer systems analyst, there are a few technical skills you’ll need to have. Let’s break these down into two categories: technical skills and “soft” interpersonal skills. We’ll start with technical skills.
Essential Technical Skills for Computer Systems Analysts
There are a couple of technical skills you’ll need to have to become a successful computer systems analyst. These skills include programming languages, technical best practices, and other abilities.
- Systems Architecture.
You should have a good understanding of systems architecture, and how systems interact with each other. You should be able to navigate your way around Linux, and be able to install, update, and maintain programs on the operating system. You may also need to know about Windows systems architecture, depending on the type of position for which you apply.
One large aspect of your job will be to maintain an organization’s network. Therefore, you should have a firm understanding of how systems can be networked together, and what hardware and software facilitates communication between systems.
- Systems Analysis.
You should be able to analyze the efficiency of a current system, and write a report on whether or not it could be improved. You should also be able to run a cost-benefit analysis based on the benefits of new technologies versus whether it will provide material long-term value for an organization.
- Hardware Configuration.
You should be comfortable installing new hardware including servers, networking equipment, and computers. Indeed, after you identify technologies that an organization could leverage, you’ll have to setup that technology and ensure that it is prepared for organizational use.
You should be comfortable training other people without a technical background in how to use certain technologies. For example, if your organization updates Windows to a new version, you should make sure everyone knows how it works and how they can navigate their way around the system. You may have to write instruction manuals, give hands-on training sessions, or otherwise assist in training.
Essential Soft Skills for Computer Systems Analysts
In order to be a successful computer systems analyst, you’ll need to have more than technical skills. You’ll need to have a set of “soft” interpersonal skills as well. The most common soft skills you can expect to come up are as follows:
You’re most likely going to be working on a team at some level. Perhaps you work with other systems analysts, if you’re working for a big company, or you may just work with people from other departments to ensure they understand how to make the best use of current technology. Either way, you should be able to work efficiently and effectively with others.
As a computer systems analyst, you’ll have to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. For example, you may be given a budget for a new systems upgrade, and you’ll have to find which technologies you can afford within that budget. You’ll also have to use creativity to decide how new technologies will be implemented across an organization.
- Problem Solving.
Systems analysis is all about solving problems. You have to figure out where there are inefficiencies within an organization, and how technology can help the business reduce those inefficiencies. You should be able to break down problems into smaller components, and evaluate the best potential solution to a problem.
How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst: Step-by-Step
Now we’ve covered the background and skills associated with this position, it’s time to evaluate how you can become a computer systems analyst. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to break into this exciting career:
- Choose a systems analysis career path
- Learn about software development through a coding bootcamp, college, or self-study
- Develop and refine your technical skills
- Craft your systems analysis portfolio
- Write your technical resume
- Start the job search
- Prepare for a technical interview
Career Karma is here to support you along every step of your journey to becoming a computer systems analyst. We’ll provide you with free coaching, mentorship, and access to a community of peers who can help support you in your path to becoming a computer systems analyst.
We’ll also help you prepare for and get accepted to one of the top software engineering coding bootcamps, so you can learn the skills you need to succeed in your new career!
Learn about other top in-demand careers in technologies