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Become A Contract Programmer Analyst

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Working As A Contract Programmer Analyst

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

  • Repetitive

  • $89,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Contract 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.

Duties

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 A Contract 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.

Education

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.

Advancement

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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Contract Programmer Analyst Career Paths

Contract Programmer Analyst
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Project Leader Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Reporting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Manager-Finance Systems
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Programmer/Analyst Lead Project Leader Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Programmer/Analyst Lead Senior Consultant Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Systems Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer/Analyst Lead Senior Project Manager Senior Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Systems Engineer Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Systems Engineer Network Manager
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Programmer Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Technical Team Lead Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Technical Team Lead Senior Technical Architect
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Developer Software Development Manager Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager Information Technology Applications
11 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Human Resources Manager Talent Acquisition Manager
Hris Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Contract Programmer Analyst?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Programmer 4.7 years
Programmer Analyst 3.8 years
Senior Programmer 3.5 years
Top Careers Before Contract Programmer Analyst
Programmer 7.8%
Consultant 6.1%
Instructor 1.5%
Top Careers After Contract Programmer Analyst
Programmer 2.9%
Consultant 2.9%
Developer 2.0%

Do you work as a Contract Programmer Analyst?

Contract Programmer Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

72.1%

Female

22.5%

Unknown

5.4%
Ethnicity

White

64.5%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

Mandarin

16.7%

Persian

16.7%

Tagalog

16.7%

Chinese

16.7%
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Contract Programmer Analyst Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.3%

Texas A&M University

8.0%

University of Pennsylvania

6.9%

East Carolina University

5.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.7%

Wayne State University

4.6%

Saint Louis University-

4.6%

Illinois State University

4.6%

Texas State University

4.6%

Georgia State University

4.6%

University of Houston

4.6%

University of West Florida

4.6%

Strayer University

4.6%

Iowa State University

4.6%

American InterContinental University

4.6%

Florida International University

3.4%

University of Alabama

3.4%

Washington University in Saint Louis

3.4%

Villanova University

3.4%

University of Toledo

3.4%
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Majors

Computer Science

32.1%

Business

13.9%

Computer Information Systems

11.2%

Computer Programming

4.9%

Mathematics

4.5%

Information Systems

3.9%

Management Information Systems

3.5%

Information Technology

3.3%

Accounting

2.5%

Management

2.3%

Computer Technical Support

2.2%

Data Processing

2.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.0%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Management Science

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Economics

1.6%

Finance

1.6%

Computer Applications

1.6%

Information Sciences

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.5%

Other

18.4%

Masters

15.7%

Associate

13.4%

Certificate

4.1%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.8%
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Top Skills for A Contract Programmer Analyst

  1. Cobol
  2. SQL
  3. Database
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Rewrote/Restructured several Special Order programs using COBOL to allow new specifications, options and information in ID Integration Project.
  • Developed utilities to synchronize Lotus Notes/Domino groupware API and RDBMS corporate infrastructures including Oracle, SQL Server, etc.
  • Developed validation software for use in verifying database updates during testing and post-implementation of projects.
  • Developed new data warehouse applications to download DB2 data to TERADATA for enhanced user accessibility.
  • Developed COBOL programs to manipulate several DB2 databases in a CICS environment for reliable data mining for customer service representatives.

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