What is a Systems Analyst

Apart from the employees' skills to help the business strive in the competitive market, it is equally crucial to develop and maintain technologies to maximize business performance. And for the people who love challenges (do those people really even exist?), working as a systems analyst might be the best calling for them.

The systems analyst role is usually for people who have intermediate to the expert level technical experience. Basically, these people help to find technical solutions for businesses and improve operational processes. This is a type of job for those with enough skills and mastery of system complexities but are still willing to learn more. After all, life is a never-ending series of learning (sigh).

Navigating systems may seem to be an easy job for those who are used to it but actually, it isn't. Even those who are experienced sometimes struggle to find solutions to ensure customer satisfaction. That leads them to working day and night, even missing holidays and weekends. But, as some people say, that means nothing if you're really passionate. Now, if you think you're in for the challenges, stop reading this and get your resume ready!

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.

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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
$70,221
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
9%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
163,033
Job Openings
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Systems Analyst Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Systems Analyst

Systems Analysts in America make an average salary of $70,221 per year or $34 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $87,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $56,000 per year.
Average Salary
$70,221
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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.

Learn How To Write a Systems Analyst Resume

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

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Systems Analyst Demographics

Systems Analyst Gender Statistics

male

65.9 %

female

30.0 %

unknown

4.1 %

Systems Analyst Ethnicity Statistics

White

62.2 %

Asian

13.8 %

Black or African American

10.8 %

Systems Analyst Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

42.9 %

French

9.8 %

Chinese

5.5 %
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Systems Analyst Education

Systems Analyst Majors

17.8 %

Systems Analyst Degrees

Bachelors

67.1 %

Associate

14.4 %

Masters

13.6 %

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High School / GED
Associate
Bachelor's
Master's
Doctorate

Top Colleges for Systems Analysts

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

7. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,530
Enrollment
4,571
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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, 11.8% of Systems Analysts listed Procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as Analytical skills and Communication skills are important as well.

12 Systems Analyst RESUME EXAMPLES

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 California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Systems Analysts make the most in California with an average salary of $78,020. Whereas in New Jersey and New York, they would average $77,844 and $76,642, respectively. While Systems Analysts would only make an average of $75,711 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. Rhode Island

Total Systems Analyst Jobs:
264
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
1.3
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:
1,478
Highest 10% Earn:
$106,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
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:
497
Highest 10% Earn:
$109,000
Location Quotient:
1.77
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
Full List Of Best States For Systems Analysts

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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 Cognizant was the best, especially with an average salary of $69,542. UST Global follows up with an average salary of $75,608, and then comes Satyam with an average of $74,578. 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 Cleveland Clinic, Facebook, and KBR

Becoming a Systems Analyst FAQs

Does a system analyst need to know programming?

No, a system analyst does not need to know programming. While systems analysts should enjoy working with computers and be curious about new technologies, they do not necessarily need to do any coding themselves.

However, system analysts should have a basic understanding of programming languages and computer hardware. This is because system analysts spend a significant amount of their time studying computer systems and procedures for using these computer systems to carry out tasks.

Typically, those who work as system analysts fall into one of three categories: systems designers or architects, software quality assurance analysts, and programmer analysts.

System designers create technical solutions for a company, while software quality assurance analysts handle any problems that arise in the system's design. Meanwhile, only the programmer analyst actually writes code and handles the actual creation of software that addresses the company or organization's needs.

Learn more about this question

How long does it take to become a systems analyst?

It takes about four years to become a systems analyst. This is because most types of systems analyst careers require at least a bachelor's degree as an entry-level education requirement.

The best way to become a systems analyst quickly is to complete a bachelor's degree program in information technology with elective business courses. This is because it is a position that requires a certain level of expertise that a four-year college education provides the best.

In order to maximize the efficiency of a college degree program and get hired more quickly, a person should apply for internships or apprenticeships. These programs give the aspiring systems analyst some basic entry-level experience in the role.

While working as an intern or apprentice for a company, you will work on actual cases and clients to give you a real-world perspective. In addition to advancing tech skills, these programs also develop necessary soft skills such as communication and collaboration.

Finally, the best way to become a systems analyst quickly is by enrolling in coding bootcamps and massive open online courses (MOOCs), which offer short courses on specific tech skills that will help you excel in your job.

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How much does a systems analyst make?

The average salary for a systems analyst is between $70,000 and $90,000 in a year. The best-paid 25 percent made $117,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $70,000. While this can vary depending on the level of experience, industry, and education, most systems analysts can expect to make at least $70,000 in a year.

The factors influencing salary that a person has the most opportunity to influence are specialty, industry, and employer. The top-paying places of employment with the highest average annual salaries for this career include:

  • Oil and gas extraction ($137,000+)

  • Scientific research and development services ($111,000+)

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing ($111,000+)

  • Cable and other subscription programmings ($109,000+)

  • Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing ($109,00+).

Additionally, it is estimated that job opportunities for systems analysts will grow significantly faster than job opportunities in other occupations over the next ten years. This means that qualified systems analysts will have ample opportunity to increase their salary level.

In particular, new job opportunities are expected to arise in specializations such as cloud computing, mobile networks, and cybersecurity.

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What is the career path for a systems analyst?

The career path for a systems analyst varies depending on personal experience, knowledge, and aptitude, but may start as a systems support analyst and progress up to a chief technology officer.

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.

Systems analysts start their careers by earning a bachelor's degree program in information technology with elective business courses. In order to maximize the efficiency of a college degree program and get hired more quickly, a person should apply for internships or apprenticeships.

While working as an intern or apprentice for a company, you will work on actual cases and clients to give you a real-world perspective. In addition to advancing tech skills, these programs also develop necessary soft skills such as communication and collaboration.

Then a person is poised to get their first role as a systems analyst. This typically starts with a systems support analyst who assists systems analysts with more basic work. As a person succeeds within this role, they will be promoted to a full systems analyst.

From here, depending on aptitude, leadership ability, and experience, they may be promoted to manager positions or even move into director and executive-level positions.

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What qualifications do you need to be a systems analyst?

The base qualification needed to become a systems analyst is a bachelor's degree in information technology. After this, a systems analyst should be able to demonstrate that they have a high level of analytical, communications, and technical skills.

Systems analysts should enjoy working with computers and be curious regarding new technologies. While they do not necessarily need to do any actual coding themselves, they should have a basic understanding of programming languages and computer hardware.

This is because system analyst spends a significant amount of their time studying computer systems and procedures for using these computer systems to carry out tasks.

Typically, those who work as system analysts fall into one of three categories: systems designers or architects, software quality assurance analysts, and programmer analysts.

System designers create technical solutions for a company, and they should have high-level problem-solving skills, business acumen, and technical knowledge.

Meanwhile, software quality assurance analysts handle any problems that arise in the system's design. To be successful in their role, they should be creative problem solvers who are able to think outside the box.

Finally, the programmer analyst writes code and handles the actual creation of software that addresses the company or organization's needs. They should have a high level of technical knowledge and expert programming skills.

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