Computer Systems Analyst

Computer and information technology is essential for corporations and organization to operate efficiently. Computer systems analysts incorporate new information technology into a firm's existing computer systems and make recommendation for technology, software and hardware upgrades to improve efficiency, reliability and security. Since technology is continually changing, computer systems analysts jobs are constantly evolving.

Computer systems analysts resolve computer problems and make recommendations for incorporating new technology into a company's operations. They design new computer systems by selecting hardware and software and discover ways to utilize existing technology. Systems analysts either work with business, engineering, scientific, accounting, or financial systems. System architects advise companies on the types of software and other equipment that should be selected for their computer systems. System designers specialize in finalizing and fine tuning completed systems.

When developing a new system, systems analysts meet with managers to determine the objectives of the system. To meet project goals, analysts determine the inputs the system will access, how inputs will be processed, and design the outputs to meet customers' needs. Moreover, analysts use structured analysis, information engineering, mathematical model building, and data modeling to efficiently complete company projects. They also advise management on financial issues by providing cost benefit and return on investment analyses.

After a system design is approved, system analysts then select computer hardware and software to support the implementations of the system. They perform tests to make sure a system is operating properly. They prepare reports and flow charts to instruct programmers, and work with them to debug the system. Software quality assurance analysts perform more in-depth system research, diagnose problems, develop remedies, and provide quality assurance of new and existing systems.

Some companies hire programmer analysts to design, update, and customize their current software. Programmer analysts must also be experienced with programming and system analysis, and since programmers are skilled in programming and analysis, they work with databases, client-server applications, internet and multimedia technology, and programming languages.

Work Environment
Computer systems analysts work in comfortable office and laboratories, and some many telecommunicate or work remotely. They generally work 40 hours weeks during regular business hours, but sometimes work nights and weekends to meet deadlines.

Computer systems analysts may experience back pain, eye strain, or carpal tunnel syndrome from working in front of computers all day.

Education and Training
Computer systems analysts are highly skilled professionals. While a few systems analysts learn their trade on the job, the majority of analysts start their career by earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, management information systems (MIS), or a closely related discipline. Most employers prefer hiring individuals with technical degrees. Notwithstanding, professionals with degrees in various fields are able to find employment in the the field of computer systems analysis.

Most community colleges and technical schools offer associate degrees in computer science or closely related technical discipline. Programs offered at community colleges and technical schools are usually career oriented, and focus on preparing students for entry-level job opportunities upon graduation. Bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science and various other technology fields are offered at four-year colleges and universities.

On average, computer scientists, including compute systems analysts can expect to make between $65,000 and $110,000 a year. The top 10% of earners in this field make over $130,000 a year, while the bottom 10% make less than $50,000 a year. The median wage for computer scientists involved in computer systems design is about $88,000 a year.

Job Outlook
Over the next decade, growth in employment opportunities for computer systems analysts is predicated to be over 14%, substantially greater than the average employment growth rate for all other occupations over the same time period. The demand for more efficient, more security and up-to-date computer networks will drive the demand for skilled computer systems analysts.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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