How to Get Started
as a Systems Analyst
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Tech careers are always a good option. Becoming a tech worker means that you join a thriving industry, with one of the best job outlooks in the world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computer and information technology careers will grow at a rate of 11 percent over the next ten years.
If you are looking for a career in this field, consider becoming a systems analyst. In this article, you will learn how to become a systems analyst in 2021, including salary expectations, career paths, benefits, and job duties.
What Is a Systems Analyst?
A computer systems analyst is a computer scientist in charge of designing and working with information technology systems to solve problems for an organization.
These professionals use marketing, management, and the latest technology to help clients work more efficiently. A systems analyst may have expertise in different fields of computer science, software design, and data processing.
How Does Systems Analysis Relate to Data Science?
Systems analysis and data science are intrinsically related. Systems analysts must know data science to carry out their work. They collect and analyze information, and create service and management strategies based on what they find. Systems analysts work with database platforms to manage tasks, present results, and evaluate figures.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Systems Analyst?
Traditionally, to work as a systems analyst you need a bachelor’s degree, which takes four to five years to complete. The field of systems analysis is a complex one; as such, it requires higher education, advanced training, a substantial amount of experience, and certification.
However, these days more and more companies are hiring people without a college degree. A growing number of companies are recruiting graduates from computer science courses like coding bootcamps. Bootcamp graduates usually get entry-level positions and work their way up to high-level jobs.
Where to Study Systems Analysis
Where to study to become a systems analyst depends on your career goals. If you are content with an entry-level position, an associate degree is enough. Higher positions demand higher education and certification.
Below, we present you with the different pathways you can take to become a systems analyst, and discuss their requirements, costs, and benefits.
Systems Analyst Community Colleges
An Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems is a two-year program where you learn the fundamentals of this trade. Community colleges and some public universities offer this degree.
This option has many benefits. You’ll enjoy quality education at lower tuition than you would at a university. In addition, many schools have the option to pursue this degree online so you can study from home.
Systems Analyst Universities
Earning a degree at a university is the most common way of becoming a systems analyst. The university curriculum is more in-depth and will prepare you more thoroughly for the challenges you will face as a professional systems analyst.
University tuition is higher than at community colleges. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a bachelor’s degree costs approximately $16,647 per year. People with Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Information Systems earn more than those with just a high school diploma or associate degree. Statistics from PayScale show that people with this degree make an average of around $78,000 a year.
If you want to increase your earning potential and specialize, you can consider a master’s or doctoral degree. A postgraduate degree opens the door to researcher and instructor roles and qualifies you for higher positions with larger salaries. People with Master’s Degrees in Computer Information Systems earn an average of $96,182 per year, according to PayScale.
Systems Analyst Coding Bootcamps
Coding boot camps are an increasingly popular option. These schools offer intensive programs that turn newbies into tech experts in a matter of months. Bootcamp programs last between two and 12 months. During this time, you’ll work closely with industry professionals to gain advanced technical skills.
Bootcamps are inexpensive compared to traditional higher education, and most schools offer some sort of financial support such as scholarships. Bootcamps are also convenient; many offer online programs you can complete from the comfort of your home.
BrainStation, for example, offers courses in data science, web development, software design, and other subjects relevant to systems analysis. According to figures published by the school, 88 percent of graduates from BrainStation’s web development program found work within 180 days.
Systems Analyst Online Courses
Online courses can be useful in honing your skills as a systems analyst. The curriculum won’t be as comprehensive as that of a university degree, but you can choose a course that tackles the topics and skills that most interest you.
Most courses on the Internet are open to everyone. Pricing varies according to the provider, the duration of the course, the educational resources provided, and whether or not you’ll receive a certificate.
How to Become a Systems Analyst A Step-by-Step Guide
There is no one-size-fits-all path to becoming a systems analyst. The path you take depends on your level of education and professional experience, among other factors.
Here we present you with a common route to becoming a systems analyst.
Choose a school and education path
Before choosing a school, consider all your options. Evaluate the job market for the systems analyst profession in your city or state. If it is not promising, you may want to move to a different area.
Enroll in a school or program and begin your studies. Depending on the level of education you choose, this step can take anywhere from a few months to several years. Remember that education is essential to gain access to better job opportunities.
Certification in this profession is often optional. However, many companies require a credential that proves your knowledge and skill level. Consider certification to boost your resume.
Look for work
Once you complete your studies, it’s time to look for work. This step can take a few weeks or several months, depending on the effort you put in and how attractive you are as a candidate. Many schools offer career assistance. Take advantage of these services to find a suitable job as quickly as possible.
Keep learning and improving your skills
Success in this industry requires constant improvement. If you want to get a better job, consider pursuing certification, online courses, or a higher academic degree. When you land that job you’ve been dreaming of, you’ll be happy you’ve invested in yourself.
Entry-Level Systems Analyst Job Requirements
A computer systems analyst’s job requires understanding the fundamentals of computer science. This can be learned in an associate or bachelor’s degree program.
Most employers look to junior systems analysts to evaluate, recommend, and manage hardware and software systems. These professionals may also assist IT staff and direct small technology projects.
Systems Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
The job outlook is a factor that you should always keep in mind when charting your professional path. Job outlook figures tell you your chances of finding a job in a given industry and location.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for computer systems analysts will grow seven percent by 2029. Computer occupations, in general, are predicted to grow 11 percent in the same period. Systems analysts earn an average salary of $93,730. These figures vary according to the employer, years of experience, and location.
Example Systems Analyst Job Interview Questions
- What drew you to this career?
- How do you ensure that you keep abreast of the latest development and technologies in the field?
- What tools and programs do you use in your day-to-day work?
- What projects have you led as a systems analyst?
What Does a Systems Analyst Do?
As a systems analyst, your responsibilities revolve around evaluating computer systems, managing IT teams, and ensuring computer systems are running smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at each responsibility.
Evaluates Computer Systems
A common task is to verify, test, and examine the operation of computer systems in a company. Typically, companies hire these workers to evaluate systems and suggest any changes that might improve performance.
Manages IT Staff
Systems analysts work with computer programmers, project managers, and finance professionals to transform ideas into concrete plans. Part of a systems analyst’s job is also to help to train and evaluate members of the IT team.
Reports Bugs and Updates
In addition to designing the company’s systems, these professionals monitor their operation, report and repair bugs, and carry out updates. They are also in charge of storing data and sending problem reports to managers.
Essential Systems Analyst Skills and Certifications
To succeed as a systems analyst, you’ll need strong technical and soft skills. The skills listed below are what companies are looking for. While certification isn’t mandatory for this career, it can improve your job prospects.
Systems Analyst Skills
Calculus and Mathematics
Numbers are an important part of this job. Most companies hire professionals well versed in calculus, statistiscs, and math. In fact, many systems analysts find positions with financial companies. You must be able to work with grid charts, simulations, decision tables, and cloud computing techniques and be proficient in Excel.
To work as a systems analyst, you must be able to think on your feet and solve any problems that pop up in the computer system. To do that, you’ll need experience with software design and coding. Time is an essential factor for companies; strong analytical skills will help you deal with system errors quickly.
Working as a part of a team requires strong communication. Explaining to a colleague how a system works is not easy; you must have solid teaching skills and be able to express ideas in very detailed and precise terms.
Systems Analyst Certifications
Certification validates your professional skills. Although you do not need a license to work as a systems analyst, earning a certification can open the door to higher positions and larger salaries.
Below are the top three certifications in the IT and computer system industry.
Cisco IT Certifications
Cisco has a licensing system for tech workers in different areas. As a systems analyst, you can choose to get certified in IT, computer network architecture, and computer science. The prestige that comes with these licenses will give you access to exciting job opportunities.
CompTIA offers certification for IT workers like systems analysts. The Network+ test involves several exams that assess your ability to install, maintain, develop, and repair IT systems.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
This credential assesses the performance of IT workers in cyber security and computer systems. CISSP is awarded by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium or (ISC)².
Reasons to Become a Systems Analyst in 2021
Salary and job outlook are two compelling reasons to consider a career as a systems analyst. In addition, you can study and improve your professional prospects with online courses and coding bootcamps. The time to become a systems analyst is now.
In addition, the systems analyst profession is part of a thriving industry that you want to be a part of. Job openings in the technology sector are skyrocketing and will continue on this path for years to come.
Systems Analyst FAQ
How many people work as systems analysts today?
According to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, more than 632,400 people were working as computer systems analysts in the United States.
How much do systems analysts charge per hour?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that computer systems analysts charge $45.06 per hour on average. These professionals earn an average salary of $93,730.
Where do systems analysts work?
Systems analysts work in the following industries: computer systems design and related services, finance and insurance, information companies, and government offices.
Can I work as a systems analyst from home?
Yes. Thanks to digitization and the growth of freelance platforms, thousands of people work as systems analysts from anywhere with Internet access.