Applications Analyst: Salary and Career Facts

Applications analysts develop computer applications to solve specific business problems. Learn about the salary potential and the skills required to work in this field. Schools offering Business Systems Analysis degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Applications Analyst?

Applications analysts assess a company's software needs and make suggestions regarding which software applications they can use to solve problems or to make their computer networks more efficient. After determining the company's computer network goals, applications analysts conduct research on programs that will improve the computer network. They may also look at what applications the company already has and find ways to use them in a more effective manner. Using their research, applications analysts prepare reports that managers may use to assess the benefits and costs of various software programs. If company managers decide to go with an analyst's suggestions, the analyst then oversees the installment of any new programs and tests them to ensure they are functional and effective.

What Education Do I Need to Be an Applications Analyst?

Not all employers require candidates for applications analyst positions to hold bachelor's degrees; however, a 4-year degree is generally preferred. In order to prepare for a career as an applications analyst, you could pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. Alternatively, you could pursue a bachelor's degree in another technical field, such as physics, engineering or applied math, and take elective courses in computer programming.

Courses that might be helpful to you include application design, web programming and cryptography. Familiarity with programming languages, such as C/C++, Perl, Visual Basic, Python and Java, may also be advantageous.

Some employers only require a high school diploma or equivalent and relevant work experience. Thus, if you are an experienced computer programmer, you might not need a 4-year degree in order to work as an applications analyst.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

Applications analysts develop computer applications for businesses, academic institutions and other organizations. As an applications analyst, you might consult with management to ascertain the computing needs of your organization and design applications to meet those needs. You might also provide technical support and training for applications users. If you work for a smaller organization, you might also take on other responsibilities, such as network security management and database administration.

What Skills Might I Need?

Aside from technical knowledge and familiarity with programming languages, you might need communication skills in order to successfully consult with management personnel and communicate complex technical information to end-users. Project management and technical writing abilities may also be helpful to you.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies applications analysts under the broader category of computer systems analysts. Data released by the BLS indicate that computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $85,800 in May of 2015 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, in 2015 those in the lowest ten percent of the salary range earned less than $51,910, whereas those in the highest ten percent earned more than $135,450.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer and information systems managers may work closely with applications analysts. These professionals must set goals related to a company's information technology system and organize related activities to meet these objectives. Like applications analysts, actuaries must run cost-benefit analyses for a company. Actuaries are tasked with running statistical analyses and using financial theories to determine financial risks and to help come up with ways to reduce the monetary impact of those risks. Computer and information systems managers typically have bachelor's degrees in a computer or information related field, while actuaries often have bachelor's degrees in mathematics, actuarial science or statistics.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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