Computer Systems Specialist: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a computer systems specialist. Learn about education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Business Systems Analysis degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Systems Specialist?

Computer systems specialists troubleshoot, analyze, plan and install computers and the software that employers need to run their businesses. They determine costs and work with company managers to determine technology needs and implement what is necessary. They must be goal-oriented when planning for both the short-term and long-term computer and software needs of personnel and business. Computer systems specialists may work on cyber-security as well, as more and more attacks can be anticipated from the internet.

The following chart gives you an overview about a career as a computer systems specialist.

Degree Required Associate degree for entry level; Bachelor's degree or master's degree in business administration preferred
Education Field of Study Computer science or information in a business science-related field
Key Skills Analytical, organizational, verbal communication, decision-making ability
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% (for all computer and information systems managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $131,600 (for all computer and information systems managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Will I Need For a Career As a Computer Systems Specialist?

Occasionally, computer systems specialists can find positions with an associate's degree, work experience, and the intent to pursue higher education; however, this is quite rare. If you'd like to become a computer systems specialist, you'll likely need to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or information science. Be aware that employers often choose computer systems specialists with Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degrees with specializations in computer science or information systems.

While working towards a bachelor's degree in computer science, you'll take classes in software engineering, operating systems, computer programming, communications, calculus, database systems and data networks. An information science bachelor's degree program should consist of courses in general physics, Internet technology, computer systems, mathematics, systems analysis and database technology.

Core courses in an MBA computer science program might include strategic management, business economics, marketing management, advanced computer networking, financial management and advanced software engineering. MBA programs in information systems might also feature courses in wireless networks, systems integration, supply chain management, business process innovation, IT project management and information systems strategy.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

As a computer systems specialist, you'll have a variety of job duties, depending on your employer's needs. You may be responsible for designing and maintaining intranet and Internet websites. Or you might examine your company's computer systems in order to gauge what technological equipment and components are necessary for optimum performance. Other duties could involve developing software, overseeing computer network security, designing computer systems, and training and inspecting the work of IT staff members. You might also offer technical support services, and meet with vendors and company managers to resolve system issues or malfunctions.

What Salary Could I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers earned median yearly incomes of $131,600 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Professionals in the software publishing industry were paid about $159,280 annually. Benefits for some higher-level professionals included stock options and expense accounts.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several alternative career fields that you can enter with a bachelor's degree. As a software developer, you'll use coding skills to design programs for computer applications or to create code to run networks and operating systems. You could also work as a network and computer systems administrator. These pros run a systems network on a day-to-day basis, making sure it runs smoothly for a company's information structure. If you're interested in computer security, you could work as an information security analyst. Entities such as financial institutes or government agencies come under constant attack from outside agents seeking to steal private information. As an information security analyst, you would stay abreast of the latest advances in cyber-security and make sure that a company's information and data stays protected.

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