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Systems Analyst Degrees

Computer systems analysts solve complex problems with a variety of computer applications, hardware platforms and technologies. Both undergraduate and graduate courses are available, and will set you up for entry-level or management positions. Learn more about the available programs, online study options, admission prerequisites, common course topics and career prospects.

What Type of Degree Will Qualify Me for a Systems Analyst Position?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers look for systems analysts with a bachelor's degree; however, you may need a graduate education before you work in a position that deals with management responsibilities or complex technical issues (www.bls.gov). As an undergraduate, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems online and on-campus. Then you can pursue your Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, Master of Science in Information Technology or Master of Business Administration in Information Systems. Online learning options are also available at this level.

Online programs allow you to complete coursework over the Internet, usually at your own pace and on a flexible schedule. They may be blended, which requires you to complete some classes online and others on-campus.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's
Online Options Yes, but they are mostly hybrid programs that require some on-campus work
Admission Prerequisites High school diploma, knowledge of related courses may be helpful, graduate courses may ask for work experience
Common Courses Database administration, operating systems, data management, systems design
Career Opportunities Computer systems analysts, management positions
Median Salary (2018) $88,740 (for all computer systems analyst)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% growth (for all computer systems analysts)

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need to Enroll?

The basic requirement to enroll in a bachelor's degree program is a high school diploma. Graduate programs look for a 4-year degree, but other prerequisites vary. For example, some graduate programs also require relevant work experience as a systems analyst or in another information technology position. Other programs also look for a specific undergraduate major, such as those in business, computer science or information technology. Specific course prerequisites may include those in database administration, systems analysis or programming.

What Will I Learn?

A bachelor's degree program can provide you with the skills to work as an entry-level systems analyst. You'll consider the business and technical perspectives of an information technology problem and learn to understand computer languages. The program will also teach you how to determine what type of computer hardware or software a project requires and interface with other technology professionals. Computer courses will cover database administration, operating systems, software development, programming languages and networking concepts. You may also take courses that deal with the business aspects of systems analysis, such as accounting, management and statistics.

Master of Business Administration in Information Systems programs will introduce you to management, finance, accounting and marketing. You'll be able to learn about information systems from an organizational-planning perspective. The knowledge you'll apply as a systems analyst will be acquired in coursework that covers networking, systems design and technology trends.

Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and Master of Science in Information Technology programs cover similar material with a smaller emphasis on business. You can expect to complete coursework in information systems planning, networking, project and data management, emerging technologies and organizational transformation. Other coursework explores legal, entrepreneurial and business issues.

What Do I Need to Know About the Career Field?

According to the BLS, the demand for systems analysts was expected to increase 9% between 2016 and 2026. This projected growth will be due to the increased reliance on complex computer technologies and the need to safeguard information. The BLS also reported that, as of May 2015, computer systems analysts earned an annual median wage of $88,740.