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Become A Senior Program Analyst

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Working As A Senior Program Analyst

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

  • Repetitive

  • $101,780

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Program 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 Senior Program 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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Senior Program Analyst jobs

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Senior Program Analyst Career Paths

Senior Program Analyst
Senior Project Manager Principal Consultant Senior Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Business Analyst/Project Manager Business Systems Manager
Director Of Business Systems
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Program Director General Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Project Management Office
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Director Of Information
Director, Applications
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management Office
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Program Director Operations Director Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Senior Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Information Systems
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Analyst 3.8 years
Program Manager 3.4 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Senior Analyst 3.3 years
Principal Analyst 3.3 years
Analyst Lead 2.9 years
Program Analyst 2.9 years
Analyst 2.4 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 4.3%
Internship 4.1%
Manager 3.1%
Programmer 2.9%
Top Employers After
Consultant 7.3%
Manager 5.1%
Internship 4.4%

Senior Program Analyst Demographics

Gender

Male

48.8%

Female

47.6%

Unknown

3.5%
Ethnicity

White

78.7%

Asian

9.8%

Hispanic or Latino

8.5%

Unknown

2.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

French

8.5%

Mandarin

7.4%

German

5.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Arabic

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

Portuguese

3.2%

Cantonese

3.2%

Japanese

2.1%

Korean

2.1%

Samoan

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Yoruba

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Cheyenne

1.1%

Armenian

1.1%

Malayalam

1.1%
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Senior Program Analyst Education

Schools

University of Maryland - University College

11.3%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

George Washington University

9.2%

Strayer University

7.4%

Webster University

6.0%

George Mason University

5.7%

Defense Acquisition University

5.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.6%

Villanova University

4.6%

Troy University

4.2%

Johns Hopkins University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

San Diego State University

3.5%

Boston University

3.5%

Capella University

3.2%

Michigan State University

2.8%

University of California - Los Angeles

2.8%

University of Kansas

2.8%

American University

2.8%

Towson University

2.8%
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Majors

Business

30.4%

Computer Science

8.5%

Management

7.5%

Computer Information Systems

4.9%

Accounting

4.9%

Psychology

4.2%

Project Management

3.7%

Finance

3.7%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Social Work

3.1%

Communication

3.1%

Education

2.8%

Public Administration

2.8%

Electrical Engineering

2.6%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Sociology

2.5%

Nursing

2.4%

Human Resources Management

2.4%

Marketing

2.4%

Political Science

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.3%

Masters

31.0%

Other

15.8%

Associate

6.1%

Certificate

4.5%

Doctorate

4.2%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.2%
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Internship
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Real Senior Program Analyst Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
IHC Capital Forecasting Senior Analyst, Ccar Program RBC Capital Markets, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $160,000 -
$170,000
SR. Program Analyst Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Apr 25, 2016 $136,348
Program Analyst SR. 1 Genomic Health, Inc. Redwood City, CA Jul 01, 2015 $131,523
Senior Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen, Inc. Cambridge, MA Jan 11, 2016 $130,000 -
$140,000
SR. Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen, Inc. Cambridge, MA Nov 25, 2016 $129,000 -
$132,000
Senior Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen IDEC, Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 03, 2014 $128,000
SR. Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen IDEC, Inc. Cambridge, MA Jul 15, 2014 $127,000
Senior Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen, Inc. Cambridge, MA Mar 15, 2016 $126,000 -
$131,000
SR. Program Analyst Infogain Corporation Los Gatos, CA Aug 30, 2016 $125,000
Senior Analyst III, Statistical Programming Biogen IDEC Cambridge, MA Jan 13, 2016 $125,000 -
$130,000
SR. Program Analyst Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Dec 30, 2013 $125,000
SR. Appl Program Analyst/Data Analyst Inovant, LLC Foster City, CA Apr 08, 2013 $122,800 -
$135,500
Systems Programming Senior Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Pleasanton, CA Sep 16, 2013 $106,000
Applications Development Senior Program Analyst Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Jersey City, NJ Mar 13, 2015 $105,000
Applications Development Senior Program Analyst Citibank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Mar 20, 2015 $105,000
Senior Program Analyst Resource Logistics, Inc. Mount Laurel, NJ Jul 30, 2015 $105,000
Senior EMS Programming Analyst California Independent System Operator Folsom, CA Jul 03, 2016 $103,126
SR. Program Analyst Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Aug 12, 2016 $100,000
Senior Analyst, Clinical Data Programming Quintiles, Inc. Overland Park, KS Aug 24, 2015 $99,403
Senior Programming Analyst Palmetto GBA, LLC. Columbia, SC Jan 02, 2016 $89,500
Senior Programer Analyst Innovecture Phoenix, AZ Jul 17, 2015 $87,654
Senior Analyst, Clinical Data Programming Quintiles, Inc. Durham, NC Mar 30, 2015 $87,298
Senior Program Analyst Amerigas Propane, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Dec 15, 2015 $87,006
Senior Analyst, Clinical Data Programming Quintiles, Inc. Morrisville, NC Aug 12, 2013 $85,114
Senior Programer Analyst Techwave Consulting Inc. Exton, PA Dec 18, 2014 $85,000

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Top Skills for A Senior Program Analyst

FinancialManagementProceduresDataEntryPersonnelResourceProposalsPolicyLogisticsSQLServerDODWebProjectManagementManagementSystemStrategyIPTSharepointRiskManagementWindowsDirectSupportMissile

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Top Senior Program Analyst Skills

  1. Financial Management
  2. Procedures
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Project governance realized through management of contract resource and financial management, and most importantly relationship management.
  • Served as Program Manager that included planning, organization, and determining policies, directives, programs, and procedures.
  • Created a single Contract/Commission system fully automated and eliminating several repetitive levels of data entry.
  • Conducted meetings with agency personnel.
  • Worked closely with the Support Programs Project Controller in monitoring and maintaining the scorecard and resource allocation effectively.

Top Senior Program Analyst Employers