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Working as a Systems Analyst

What Does a 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.

How To Become a 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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Average Salary$71,089
Job Growth Rate9%

Systems Analyst Jobs

Systems Analyst Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Systems Analyst. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Systems Analyst Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Systems Analyst resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Systems Analyst Career Paths

Top Careers Before Systems Analyst

Top Careers After Systems Analyst

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Average Salary for a Systems Analyst

Systems Analysts in America make an average salary of $71,089 per year or $34 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $88,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $57,000 per year.
Average Salary
$71,089

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range71k - 100k$85k$84,704
Salary Range69k - 102k$84k$84,421
Salary Range69k - 97k$82k$82,469
Salary Range67k - 94k$80k$79,833
Salary Range66k - 92k$78k$78,276
Salary Range64k - 89k$76k$76,166
$55k
$102k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Systems Analyst
Systems Analyst
City of Tucson
City of Tucson
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$48,29710/30/2020
$48,297
EDP Systems Analyst II-Northern Essex Community College
EDP Systems Analyst II-Northern Essex Community College
Northern Essex Community College
Northern Essex Community College
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$60,29110/30/2020
$60,291
Systems Analyst III-REV Cycl
Systems Analyst III-REV Cycl
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic
10/29/2020
10/29/2020
$140,70610/29/2020
$140,706
Systems Analyst
Systems Analyst
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/28/2020
10/28/2020
$75,00010/28/2020
$75,000
Systems Analyst
Systems Analyst
Robert Half
Robert Half
10/28/2020
10/28/2020
$59,48010/28/2020
$59,480
See More Recent Salaries

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Systems Analyst Demographics

Gender

male

65.9%

female

30.0%

unknown

4.1%

Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Asian

16.2%

Hispanic or Latino

9.8%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.9%

French

9.8%

Chinese

5.5%
See More Demographics

Systems Analyst Education

Degrees

Bachelors

50.0%

Masters

27.6%

Associate

11.4%

Top Colleges for Systems Analysts

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY

Tuition and fees
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

8. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. New York University

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,530
Enrollment
4,571
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Systems Analyst

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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Systems Analyst

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.3% of systems analysts listed business requirements on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and creativity are important as well.

Best States For a Systems Analyst

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a systems analyst. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, California, New York, and Rhode Island. Systems analysts make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $82,379. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $79,918 and $79,670, respectively. While systems analysts would only make an average of $79,267 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Virginia

Total Systems Analyst Jobs:
4,323
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
2.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Systems Analyst Jobs:
1,515
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. District of Columbia

Total Systems Analyst Jobs:
996
Highest 10% Earn:
$116,000
Location Quotient:
2.57
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Systems Analyst Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a systems analyst. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless systems analyst resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Systems Analyst Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless systems analyst resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Systems Analyst Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ systems analysts and discovered their number of systems analyst opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that TriZetto Healthcare Products was the best, especially with an average salary of $78,774. HCL America Inc. follows up with an average salary of $76,703, and then comes UST Global with an average of $71,865. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a systems analyst. The employers include CACI International, Science Applications International ., and State of Wisconsin

1. TriZetto Healthcare Products
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$78,774
Systems Analysts Hired: 
11,387+
2. HCL America
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$76,703
Systems Analysts Hired: 
6,564+
3. UST Global
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$71,865
Systems Analysts Hired: 
5,301+
4. LCC International
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$77,876
Systems Analysts Hired: 
4,237+
5. Compunnel Software Group
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$74,953
Systems Analysts Hired: 
4,103+
6. Hexaware Technologies
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$71,551
Systems Analysts Hired: 
2,150+

Recently Added Systems Analyst Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020