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Become A Principal Systems Analyst

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Working As A Principal Systems Analyst

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

  • Repetitive

  • $100,250

    Average Salary

What Does A Principal Systems 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 Principal Systems 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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Principal Systems Analyst jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Systems Developer 3.4 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Senior Analyst 3.3 years
Principal Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Architect 3.2 years
EDI Analyst 3.1 years
Analyst Lead 2.9 years
Design Analyst 2.8 years
Technical Analyst 2.8 years
Lead Data Analyst 2.7 years
Interface Analyst 2.7 years
Software Analyst 2.6 years
Application Lead 2.6 years
Solutions Analyst 2.4 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 4.6%
Consultant 4.1%
Top Employers After
Consultant 7.2%
Manager 5.1%

Principal Systems Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

71.4%

Female

25.6%

Unknown

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

76.8%

Asian

13.4%

Hispanic or Latino

6.8%

Unknown

2.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Russian

33.3%

Carrier

33.3%

French

33.3%

Principal Systems Analyst Education

Schools

Strayer University

13.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

6.5%

University of Phoenix

6.5%

George Mason University

6.5%

University of Maryland - University College

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

Community College of the Air Force

4.3%

Webster University

4.3%

Vanderbilt University

4.3%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.3%

Bryn Mawr College

4.3%

Johns Hopkins University

4.3%

Alabama A & M University

4.3%

James Madison University

4.3%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

University of Rhode Island

4.3%

Weber State University

4.3%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

4.3%

Wayne State College

2.2%
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Majors

Business

18.1%

Computer Science

16.7%

Computer Information Systems

9.4%

Management Information Systems

8.0%

Electrical Engineering

7.2%

Management

4.3%

Project Management

4.3%

Mathematics

3.6%

Computer Applications

3.6%

Information Systems

3.6%

Physics

2.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.9%

Computer Engineering

2.2%

Human Resources Management

2.2%

Accounting

2.2%

Communication

2.2%

Operations Research

2.2%

Systems Engineering

1.4%

Intelligence Operations

1.4%

English

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.9%

Masters

32.8%

Other

17.2%

Associate

4.4%

Certificate

3.3%

Doctorate

2.8%

Diploma

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Principal Systems Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Infrastructure Systems, Principal Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Aug 24, 2015 $154,656 -
$202,500
Principal, Drug Safety Systems Foresight Group LLC Irvine, CA Apr 15, 2012 $150,000
Principal Systems Analyst SVB Financial Group Santa Clara, CA May 12, 2016 $143,500 -
$163,500
SR. Principal Systems Analyst Symantec Corporation Mountain View, CA Jul 04, 2016 $141,593
Principal Systems Analyst, Clinical Systems Stanford Hospital & Clinics Palo Alto, CA Aug 10, 2015 $140,000 -
$205,961
Principal Systems Programmer Analyst Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Novato, CA Apr 04, 2011 $135,000 -
$190,000
Application Systems Principal The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Akron, OH Jun 01, 2016 $133,121 -
$140,000
Principal Systems Analyst Forest Research Institute, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jan 20, 2011 $131,238
Principal Systems Analyst SVB Financial Group Santa Clara, CA Sep 21, 2015 $130,166 -
$167,300
Principal Analyst IT Business Systems Continental Tire The Americas, LLC Fort Mill, SC Jan 11, 2016 $125,977 -
$167,800
Principal Systems Analyst Smartbridge LLC Houston, TX Aug 02, 2016 $125,445
Systems Analyst (Principal Developer, BSD) Logitech Inc. Fremont, CA Feb 06, 2011 $123,767 -
$184,000
Principal Systems Analyst Nisum Technologies Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 23, 2016 $114,660
BI Principal Systems Analyst Hospira, Inc. Lake Forest, IL May 31, 2016 $111,925 -
$152,749
IT Principal Systems Analyst 2, Development Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Aug 06, 2016 $111,613 -
$170,000
IT Principal Systems Analyst 1, Development Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Nov 07, 2016 $111,613 -
$170,000
IT Principal Systems Analyst 1, Development Directv LLC El Segundo, CA Aug 10, 2015 $111,613 -
$151,436
Principal Systems Analyst SVB Financial Group San Diego, CA Oct 27, 2014 $111,500 -
$167,300
Principal Systems Analyst SRI International Menlo Park, CA Dec 04, 2016 $111,100 -
$199,200
Principal Systems Analyst SRI International Menlo Park, CA Apr 12, 2016 $111,100 -
$199,200
Principal Software Systems Analyst The Coca-Cola Company Atlanta, GA May 02, 2016 $100,500 -
$165,900
Principal Software Systems Analyst The Coca-Cola Company Atlanta, GA Feb 05, 2016 $100,500 -
$165,900
Principal Systems Analyst Convatec, Inc. Skillman, NJ Jul 01, 2011 $100,000
Principal Analyst, Risk Systems Exelon Business Services Company, LLC Baltimore, MD Nov 01, 2012 $99,674
Principal Analyst, Risk Systems Exelon Generation Company, LLC Baltimore, MD May 15, 2013 $99,674
IT Principal Systems Analyst 1, Development Directv LLC Englewood, CO Aug 18, 2016 $99,300 -
$132,506
Senior Principal Systems Analyst Nuance Communications, Inc. Melbourne, FL Aug 26, 2014 $98,000
Information Systems (IS) Principal Boston Scientific Corporation Natick, MA Oct 01, 2012 $97,000 -
$152,300

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Top Skills for A Principal Systems Analyst

ProceduresDataDictionaryPl/SqlWebFinancialSystemsSuiteComplianceWindowsUnixSharepointArchitectureProjectManagementAssuranceLegacyTechnicalSupportSystemAnalysisQAXMLAssetHtml

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Top Principal Systems Analyst Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Data Dictionary
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Solve routine user problems by customizing the existing SAP system following standard procedures.
  • Web systems development utilizing Oracle pl/sql packages, procedures, triggers.
  • Provided internal support for the development of a web-based Work Order Authorization tool, thereby improving federal audits.
  • Deployed Cognos reporting and OLAP cubes to finance, accounting, and financial systems organizations.
  • Assisted in creating Disaster Recovery plans with Recovery strategies for a suite of applications that are part of Corporate Compliance group.

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