How to Learn Computer Systems Analysis and Become a Computer Systems Analyst
There is a huge demand for anyone who can seamlessly enhance a company’s technological infrastructure without disrupting the flow of business. Computer systems analyst, business systems analyst, and system analyst are all titles that describe this essential job role.
But how does one gain the specific forms of technical knowledge and skills required to qualify for a computer or business systems analyst salary? Does one need to go to college for a computer systems analyst degree, or is there a shorter path? In this guide, we peel back the curtain to show you what it means to be a systems analyst and how to get there.
What Is a Computer Systems Analyst?
Computer systems analysts assist businesses and other organizations in making successful and productive use of computer technology. These professionals use cost-benefit analysis to assess which emerging technologies a company should fold into existing processes.
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There are three main types of computer systems analysts. System designers pursue technological solutions that fulfill the long-term objectives of an organization. Computer quality assurance analysts monitor existing systems and diagnose issues as they arise. Programmer analysts write the code that puts new systems into place.
Computer systems analysts act as a kind of liaison between business leaders and information technology. They help executives understand the technological options on the table, and they help IT understand the financial constraints on the company’s computer systems.
Computer Systems Analyst Job Description
Juggling computer systems and business processes is no easy task. In this section, we break down the diverse range of skills a systems analyst must have and then take a closer look at the many hats a systems analyst wears.
Computer Systems Analyst Skills
To be successful, systems analysts must have a combination of hard and soft skills. The most important of these are listed below.
Problem-Solving and Logical Thinking
From a technical standpoint, a systems analyst must be able to diagnose complex problems, analyze possible solutions, and make difficult choices. All of this requires a strong mind, quick feet, and a rational disposition.
Good listening skills help analysts address the concerns of colleagues or customers, and strong communication skills make it easier to share knowledge with your peers.
Information systems analysts have to read manuals and case studies to keep up with innovations and meet the requirements of employers or clients. To troubleshoot problems, moreover, they must know how to read code and find errors in it.
Computer systems analysts must be good at generating ideas. The more innovative you are with your ideas, the more quickly your client’s or employer’s enterprise can grow.
Computer Systems Analyst Roles and Responsibilities
The work of computer systems analysis has a lot of moving parts. Below are the major duties of a systems analyst.
- Research new technologies. Using the tools of data science, systems analysts look into the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a particular piece of emerging technology. It is their job to decide whether installing something new is good for the organization.
- Identify organizational IT requirements. They use their technical knowledge and problem-solving skills to make judgments about an organization’s specific IT needs. Project managers can then decide whether an analyst’s recommendations for new systems and infrastructure upgrades fit into the budget.
- Test systems. Once a manager has signed off on an upgrade or new system, an analyst is also in charge of making sure that it functions properly and meets the organization’s expectations.
- Train employees. Finally, systems analysts write instruction manuals so that the end-users in the workplace can use the new system.
Computer Systems Analyst Job Outlook
In 2019, there were 632,400 people working in computer systems analysis just in the United States. Systems analysts work under other titles as well, including web designer, computer systems designer, application developer, and data analyst.
Like most tech roles, systems analysts are by no means confined to Silicon Valley. They work in health services, travel and exports, and, of course, private enterprise.
Computer Systems Analyst Salary
According to Payscale, a typical computer or business systems analyst salary is around $70,000. This figure increases the more skills and certifications a candidate has. Overall, this is a viable career path that is sure to keep you engaged as long as you want to work.
Learning Computer Systems Analysis
Whether you decide to take a certification course or devour a book on the subject, you can learn systems analysis with nothing more than the curiosity and determination to do so. That being said, it won’t happen overnight. To actualize your desire to learn, follow the guidelines in this section.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Computer Systems Analysis?
You can learn computer systems analysis in four years with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, or in six years with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree combo.
If you want to forgo a degree program, you can embark on a course of self-study consisting of online courses and resources. Immersing yourself in computer systems analysis can deliver the knowledge to you in as little as one week or as much as a year, depending on how you structure your time.
Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Computer Systems Analyst
Below is a guide to help you strategize your learning journey and stay organized.
- Get familiar with the concept. You need to be sure whether or not computer systems analysis interests you. Be honest with yourself as you read up on the basics. If you find yourself bored or confused, it may not be for you.
- Find a suitable course and enroll. If this is the career path for you, don’t waste time. Identify the gaps in your knowledge and sign up for online courses. If it’s a course that offers a certificate, even better. This will give a boost to your CV.
- Learn to code. Coding will set you apart from your peers. With a strong foundation in widely-used programming languages like Python and Java, you will lend more authority to your IT recommendations.
- Practice and improve. Take the time to hone your skills. Read books, create your own projects, and take additional courses. The more you practice, the more of an edge you’ll have the next time you’re up for a systems analyst job.
Best Online Courses for Computer Systems Analysis
Learning through online courses is a great method to enhance your skills. From the fundamentals of programming to expert-level insights, the list below covers several knowledge areas in which a computer systems analyst must be well-versed.
Georgia Tech (EdX)
- Course Name: Computing in Python
- Time: 5 weeks
- Fee: $149
This five-week course starts with the fundamentals of how a machine interprets lines of code, something that every systems analyst should know. It covers how to write programs, analyze their performance, and revise the code itself. By the end of the course, you will be able to use Python to create programs of your very own.
- Course Name: Computer Science and Programming
- Time: 7 hours
- Fee: $17
This is perhaps the most detailed course in computer science you’ll find on the Internet. It was designed for anyone who wants a career in computer science, and that vocational orientation is perfect for budding systems analysts looking for a way into the industry.
Duke University (Coursera)
- Course Name: Object-Oriented Programming in Java
- Time: 5 months
- Fee: Free
Aimed at beginners, the course requires no prior knowledge of object-oriented programming. The instructor places an emphasis on problem-solving skills, which you will hone as you work through four class projects. In addition to learning Java, you will gain experience with two Java development environments, BlueJ and Eclipse.
Online Computer Systems Analysis Resources
There are excellent resources available online for folks interested in systems analysis. Many of them are free of charge, and you can access them whenever you like to speed up your learning process. The best ones to check out are listed below.
- GitHub. This GitHub portal for business analysts provides access to a group of like-minded programmers, software developers, and computer whizzes. It also offers a range of software samples and completed projects. These examples act as models for learners to build their own projects.
- MIT Open. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers free online access to learning aids for almost all of its classes. The collection of materials for technology and engineering courses is of particular interest to students seeking careers in fields in or adjacent to computer science.
- Codecademy. You can use the resources at Codecademy either for self-directed research or more formal coursework. If you upgrade to Pro for a monthly fee, you can get a personalized learning plan curated for you by experienced professionals.
- Codechef. This online platform is a safe space where you can practice coding and compile all your codes. It will assist you with the syntax and show you where you have made errors. It’s simple, it’s intuitive, and best of all, it’s free.
Should You Learn Computer Systems Analysis?
Learning computer systems analysis is a smart career move. The prospects for systems analysts continue to grow and are only expected to grow further in the coming decades. With hard work, passion, and a drive to master the material, you can pave your way to amazing job opportunities.