What Does a Systems Analyst Do?

Becoming a systems analyst generally requires an associate's or bachelor's degree. Find out about common majors, job duties and if you can learn through a distance learning program. Schools offering Business Systems Analysis degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Systems Analyst?

In the modern era, a computer is a versatile tool used in personal and business life. As a systems analyst, you can work with an organization's leadership to define aims and goals. You may design, develop, implement and fine-tune a system that helps the organization identify and solve its problems to achieve its objectives. In addition, by improving a company's computer systems, as well as monitoring and optimizing the proper hardware and software, you see to it that an organization responds to rapidly changing technology.

Important Facts About Systems Analysts

On-the-Job Training None required, work experience required for advancement
Key Skills Computer competency, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, programming knowledge, time management, proficient writing and speaking ability
Work Environment Computer systems design firms, finance and insurance agencies, management companies
Similar Occupations Actuaries, computer network architects, computer programmers, database administrators, information security analysts, network and computer systems administrators, software developers

How Can I Find an Appropriate Degree Program?

Though you can earn an associate's degree in a field relevant to systems analysis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that a bachelor's degree is the standard for employment in the industry (www.bls.gov). Typical majors include computer information systems or computer science, with an emphasis on systems analysis. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a legitimate accrediting agency. ABET maintains an online list of 546 undergraduate schools that offer accredited programs in information systems (www.abet.org).

According to the BLS, you might have a professional advantage in this field by earning a relevant master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in management information systems. This could also help you if you already hold a position in the field and wish to advance.

What Will I Study?

A bachelor's degree program can be completed in four years and consists of about 120 credits. If you already hold an associate's degree, you may qualify for admittance to a degree-completion program. You can finish a degree-completion program in about two years. These are usually 60-credit programs, consisting entirely of upper-level courses, which are your junior and senior year courses. Both associate and bachelor's degree programs may include courses such as problem solving and programming, programming languages, computer architecture, systems design, project management, database management, Web development and operating systems.

By completing an MBA, you will focus both on core business and computer information system subjects. You may focus on financial accounting, economics, organization management and marketing, as well as information systems areas like system design, database management and electronic commerce.

What's the Job Outlook?

With the increase of importance of information technology, the need for systems analysts is expected to rise accordingly. The BLS stated that employment of computer systems analysts was projected to increase 9% from 2016-2026. This is as fast as the national average for all occupations. As of 2018, the BLS determined that the mean annual wage for computer systems analysts was $88,740.

What are My Online Options?

Besides on-campus programs, there are opportunities for you to complete programs online at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These opportunities consist of both entire programs and degree-completion programs. Most online programs are presented asynchronously, so that you can access them at your convenience. You'll need a computer with high-speed Internet access, equipped with an up-to-date operating system and browser. You may also be required to download course-specific software.

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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