Computer Systems Analysts Overview

The field of employment for computer systems analysts is expected to increase more rapidly than average. As organizations continue to use more sophisticated technology, excellent job prospects are expected to develop. A bachelor’s degree is generally preferred by most employers along with work experience related to the field.

Nature of the Work for Computer Systems Analysts

Computer Systems Analysts

Most organizations today depend on computer and information technology or IT to run their businesses and operate more efficiently. The computer systems analysts enlist IT tools to help companies of all sizes to reach their goals. Choosing and constructing hardware and software is part of the design and development for new computer systems. They can also develop ways to use existing system’s resources for new tasks.

Many computer systems analysts work with specific types of systems, including accounting, business, financial, scientific and engineering. The analysts that help companies choose the proper systems are called system architects or system designers. Those analysts who help fine-tune systems are referred to as systems analysts.

The analysts generally consult with a company’s manager to decide the goals of the system and design a system that will meet their needs. Deciding on the inputs required to access the systems, determining how the inputs should be processed and formalizing the output to meet the user’s needs are the goals of the computer systems analyst. Techniques used by computer systems analysts are known as structured analysis, data modeling, engineering, mathematical model building, information, sampling, and many accounting principles that will determine that their plans are efficient. Preparing cost-benefits and return-on-investment analysis are often used by management to determine if implementing these techniques would be financially acceptable.

Upon approval, the systems analysts will oversee the installation of the hardware and software needed and its parts. Coordination of tests and observations of the initial use of the systems performance are all part of the computer systems analysts duties. The use of flow charts and diagrams along with specifications are prepared by the computer systems analysts. They will also work with programmers to check for “bugs” to eliminate errors in the system. Those programmers who run additional tests to diagnose problems and recommend solutions are known as software quality assurance analysts. They can also decide whether all requirements have been met in programming. After the entire system has been tested and implemented, the computer analyst can also train users and can write a training manual.

Some companies have the programmer-analysts design and also update the computer’s software. The creation of customized applications that are designed for a company’s tasks are also the duties of computer systems analysts. In companies where the computer systems analyst is responsible for both programming and analysis, they must be knowledgeable and proficient in both. This dual proficiency is becoming more common enabling analysts to work more frequently with databases, object-oriented programming languages, client-server applications and technology of the internet.

The increased use of computers has created the challenge of having different computer systems that can communicate with each other. The use of “networking” is used by the computer systems analysts to connect with companies inside and outside of the network.

The work environment of the computer systems analyst is in an office or laboratory. Comfortable surroundings and a 40 hour workweek are typical, although some analysts can work more than 50 hours weekly. The use of telecommuting is becoming more common allowing workers to use remote locations.

Although physical injuries are uncommon, computer systems analysts can suffer from eyestrain, backaches, and hand and wrist problems.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Computer Systems Analysts

Training for computer systems analysts varies depending on the job, but many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree. Work experience is also very important. There is opportunity for advancement for those with good skills and experience.

A bachelor’s degree is generally preferred by employers and more complex technical positions will often require a graduate degree. Jobs in a technical field or scientific background will often require applicants whose degree is in a technical field such as computer science, applied mathematics, engineering or physical science. For jobs in a business field, employers usually seek applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field such as management information systems or MIS. A concentration on information systems is also preferred along with a master's degree in business administration by some employers.

Technical skills can also help those looking for jobs as systems analysts who may have degrees in other areas. Coursework in computer science or other related areas can also be combined with job experience to qualify people looking to enter this field.

Expertise in the area that is relevant to the job is often sought after by employers. Analysts who want to work for financial institutions should have some expertise in finance while analysts who wish to work for a hospital should have some coursework in health management.

Continuing education is important as technological advances occur rapidly in the computer field. Additional training for computer systems analysts may also occur from seminars, colleges and private training institutions.

Qualifications for computer systems analysts may include knowledge and experience associated with computer systems and technology. Good problem-solving and analytical skills are necessary along with thinking logically. Good concentration with attention to details is important as multi-tasking is common for computer systems analysts. The ability to work well with others is also necessary as working together on projects is possible.

Experienced analysts can be promoted to senior or lead analyst. Advancement to executive positions is also possible for those who have strong leadership and business skills. Those computers systems analysts who have expertise in a specific area can find jobs as independent contractors or consultants.

Although the majority of computer systems analysts are employed in industry jobs, many also were employed by government, insurance companies, business and financial firms. A small percent of computer systems analysts are self-employed.

Top 10 Most Popular Computer Science Schools

1. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. ECPI University (Multiple Campus Locations)
3. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York)
4. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California)
5. Purdue University Global - online (Multiple Campus Locations)
6. Colorado Technical University (Multiple Campus Locations)
7. University of Maryland - University College (Hyattsville, Maryland)
8. San Jose State University (San Jose, California)
9. New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, New Jersey)
10. DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois)

See All Computer Science Schools

Top 10 Most Popular Computer Science Schools

1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Colorado Technical University - Online School
3. American InterContinental University - Online School
4. Jones International University - Online
5. Purdue University Global
6. Ashworth College - Online School
7. DeVry University - Online School
8. University of Arizona Global Campus
9. Penn Foster High School
10. South University’s Online programs

See All Online Computer Science Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for Computer Systems Analysts

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow much faster than average (increase 20% or more).

Jobs for computer systems analysts are expected to grow much faster than other occupations and job prospects in the future should be excellent.

Demand for computer system analysts will grow as companies continue to add and integrate more sophisticated technology as the need grows for information security.

The demand for computer networking will grow as information technology becomes more important to business. The internet and its functions will also add demand for computer systems analysts. The use of the wireless internet and mobile computers has also caused a demand for new systems that can integrate both networks and demand for analysts who are knowledgeable in both. The demand for information security specialists is expected to grow as sensitive data will need to be stored. In the area of healthcare, the use of information technology will cause a demand for services of computer analysts as the use of e-prescribing, maintaining electronic health records and other IT areas will increase.

Earnings and Salary for Computer Systems Analysts

Median annual wages of wage and salary computer systems analysts are $77,080. The middle 50 percent earn between $60,070 and $97,200 a year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $47,130, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $119,170.

Annual Salary for Computer Systems Analysts

On average, Computer Systems Analysts earn $77,080 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $47,130/yr $60,070/yr $97,200/yr $119,170/yr

Hourly Wage for Computer Systems Analysts

On average, Computer Systems Analysts earn $37.06 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $22.66 $28.88 $46.73 $57.29

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook