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Become An Application Programmer Analyst

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Working As An Application Programmer Analyst

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $93,750

    Average Salary

What Does An Application Programmer Analyst Do

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.


Computer systems analysts typically do the following:

  • Consult with managers to determine the role of IT systems in an organization
  • Research emerging technologies to decide if installing them can increase the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness
  • Prepare an analysis of costs and benefits so that management can decide if IT systems and computing infrastructure upgrades are financially worthwhile
  • Devise ways to add new functionality to existing computer systems
  • Design and implement new systems by choosing and configuring hardware and software
  • Oversee the installation and configuration of new systems to customize them for the organization
  • Conduct testing to ensure that the systems work as expected
  • Train the systems’ end users and write instruction manuals

Computer systems analysts use a variety of techniques such as data modeling to design computer systems. Data modeling allows analysts to view the processes and data flows even before programs have been written. 

Once programs have been written, analysts conduct in-depth tests and analyze information and trends in the data to increase a system’s performance and efficiency.

Analysts calculate requirements for how much memory and speed the computer system needs. They prepare flowcharts or other kinds of diagrams for programmers or engineers to use when building the system. Analysts also work with these people to solve problems that arise after the initial system is set up. Most analysts do some programming in the course of their work.

Most computer systems analysts specialize in certain types of computer systems that are specific to the organization they work with. For example, an analyst might work predominantly with financial computer systems or engineering computer systems.

Systems analysts help other IT team members understand how computer systems can best serve an organization by working closely with the organization’s business leaders.

In some cases, analysts who supervise the initial installation or upgrade of IT systems from start to finish may be called IT project managers. They monitor a project’s progress to ensure that deadlines, standards, and cost targets are met. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Many computer systems analysts are general-purpose analysts who develop new systems or fine-tune existing ones; however, there are some specialized systems analysts. The following are examples of types of computer systems analysts:

Systems designers or systems architects specialize in helping organizations choose specific types of hardware and software systems. They translate the long-term business goals of an organization into technical solutions. Analysts develop a plan for the computer systems that will be able to reach those goals. They work with management to ensure that systems and the IT infrastructure are set up to best serve the organization’s mission.

Software quality assurance (QA) analysts do in-depth testing and diagnose problems of the systems they design in order to make sure that critical requirements are met. They also write reports to management recommending ways to improve the systems.

Programmer analysts design and update their system’s software and create applications tailored to their organization’s needs. They do more coding and debugging than other types of analysts, although they still work extensively with management and business analysts to determine what business needs the applications are meant to address. Other occupations that do programming are computer programmers and software developers.

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How To Become An Application Programmer Analyst

A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees who have skills in information technology or computer programming.


Most computer systems analysts have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Because these analysts also are heavily involved in the business side of a company, it may be helpful to take business courses or major in management information systems.

Some employers prefer applicants who have a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. For more technically complex jobs, a master’s degree in computer science may be more appropriate.

Although many computer systems analysts have technical degrees, such a degree is not always a requirement. Many analysts have liberal arts degrees and have gained programming or technical expertise elsewhere.

Many systems analysts continue to take classes throughout their careers so they can learn about new and innovative technologies. Technological advances come so rapidly in the computer field that continual study is necessary to remain competitive.

Systems analysts must understand the business field they are working in. For example, a hospital may want an analyst with a thorough understanding of health plans and programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and an analyst working for a bank may need to understand finance. Having knowledge of their industry helps systems analysts communicate with managers to determine the role of the information technology (IT) systems in an organization.


With experience, systems analysts can advance to project manager and lead a team of analysts. Some can eventually become IT directors or chief technology officers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Analysts must interpret complex information from various sources and be able to decide the best way to move forward on a project. They must also be able to figure out how changes may affect the project.

Communication skills. Analysts work as a go-between with management and the IT department and must be able to explain complex issues in a way that both will understand.

Creativity. Because analysts are tasked with finding innovative solutions to computer problems, an ability to “think outside the box” is important.

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Application Programmer Analyst jobs


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Application Programmer Analyst Career Paths

Application Programmer Analyst
Business Analyst Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Program Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Systems Manager Information Systems Manager
Director Of Information Services
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Applications Developer Senior Consultant Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Information Technology Specialist Information Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Software Engineer
Senior Programmer Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer Senior Consultant
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Systems Analyst
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Information Systems
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Applications Developer Business Analyst Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Programmer Analyst 4.0 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Senior Programmer 3.4 years
Systems Developer 3.4 years
Senior Analyst 3.3 years
Lead Programmer 3.1 years
Business Analyst 3.0 years
Analyst Lead 2.9 years
Technical Analyst 2.8 years
Design Analyst 2.8 years
Automation Analyst 2.7 years
Application Lead 2.6 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Software Analyst 2.6 years
Developer Analyst 2.5 years
Database Analyst 2.5 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Junior Programmer 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 7.9%
Consultant 5.5%
Top Employers After
Consultant 9.0%
Developer 2.5%
Manager 2.5%

Application Programmer Analyst Demographics












Hispanic or Latino




Black or African American

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Languages Spoken










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Application Programmer Analyst Education


University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)


University of Phoenix


University of Washington


University of South Carolina - Columbia


Marist College


Stephen F Austin State University


Louisiana State University and A&M College


University of South Florida


San Jose State University


University of Nebraska - Lincoln


University of California - San Diego


Drexel University


Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis


Webster University


California State University - East Bay


Southern University and A & M College


Pennsylvania State University


Minnesota State University - Moorhead


University of Texas at Dallas


Kent State University

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Computer Science




Computer Information Systems


Computer Engineering


Information Technology


Management Information Systems


Computer Programming


Information Systems


Electrical Engineering










Computer Applications


Computer Technical Support




Project Management


Management Science




Data Processing

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Real Application Programmer Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Applications Programmer/Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Jul 26, 2016 $138,362
Applications Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA May 16, 2016 $138,362
Specialist-Applications Analyst/Programmer Hitachi Data Systems Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jun 20, 2016 $135,000
Application Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Apr 18, 2016 $133,000
CRM Applications Programmer/Analyst Harmonic, Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 08, 2016 $129,150
Application Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Dec 19, 2016 $128,669 -
Applications Programmer/Analyst III ICMA-RC Washington, DC Sep 29, 2016 $127,379
Application Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 27, 2016 $125,000
Applications Programmer/Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Jun 09, 2016 $117,603
Application Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Feb 05, 2016 $117,000
Programmer Analyst_Web Based Applications Born Group, Inc. FKA Group FMG Inc. Boston, MA Jun 20, 2016 $115,000
Applications Programmer/Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 26, 2015 $114,400 -
Specialist-Applications Analyst/Programmer (SR IT LD Dvlpr) Hitachi Data Systems Corporation San Francisco, CA Mar 30, 2015 $114,393 -
Oracle Applications Programmer Analyst Config Consultants Corporation Round Rock, TX Apr 16, 2015 $112,258
Applications Programmer Analyst Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Oct 14, 2015 $94,162
Oracle Applications Programmer Analyst Config Consultants Corporation Plano, TX Apr 16, 2015 $93,891
Programmer Analyst, Business Application Management Schaeffler Group USA, Inc. Fort Mill, SC Jul 10, 2016 $92,000 -
Applications Analyst Programmer IV Harris Teeter, Inc. Matthews, NC Oct 26, 2015 $91,208 -
Web Application Programmer/Analyst ICMA Retirement Corporation Washington, DC Jul 12, 2016 $91,104
Programmer Analyst-Application Development (Multiple Openings) Wipro Limited East Brunswick, NJ Nov 01, 2016 $90,459 -
Programmer Analyst-Enterprise Applications (ERP, CRM) (Multiple Openings) Wipro Limited East Brunswick, NJ Dec 17, 2015 $90,459 -
Programmer Analyst-Application Development (Multiple Openings) Wipro Limited East Brunswick, NJ Dec 14, 2015 $90,459 -
Business Application Programmer Analyst Kaizen Technologies, Nc. Minneapolis, MN Feb 27, 2015 $79,102
Programmer/Applications Analyst Yakshna Solutions, Inc. Herndon, VA Dec 10, 2016 $78,000
Applications Programmer/Analyst CMC Americas, Inc. Atlanta, GA Dec 31, 2015 $77,563
Applications Programmer/Analyst CMC Americas, Inc. Atlanta, GA Nov 25, 2016 $77,563
Applications Programmer/Analyst CMC Americas, Inc. Atlanta, GA Nov 09, 2016 $77,563
Oracle Applications Programmer Analyst Config Consultants Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 19, 2015 $75,546
Application Programmer Analyst Brilliant Infotech Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jul 27, 2015 $75,000
Programmer Analyst/Application Packager Idexcel, Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Jan 06, 2016 $75,000

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Top Skills for An Application Programmer Analyst

Pl/SqlDatabaseDesignCobolIIWebApplicationsMainframeProceduresDB2FinancialSQLServerJCLCicsWindowsASPUnixHtmlJavascriptXMLC #LanguageVsam

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Top Application Programmer Analyst Skills

  1. Pl/Sql
  2. Database Design
  3. Cobol II
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed data mapping, wrote PL/SQL conversion scripts and created tables for sales commissions and territory forecasting.
  • Tuned and optimized queries by altering database design, analyzing different query options and indexing strategies.
  • Translated PLI programs to COBOL II for Y2K compliance.
  • Developed and documented new functionality for accounting software and web applications.
  • Worked as programmer developing and maintaining large-scale, mainframe-based application systems.

Top Application Programmer Analyst Employers

Application Programmer Analyst Videos

A Day in the Life - Computer Programmer