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Certification Options for Aspiring Systems Analysts

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, the Information Systems Analyst Certification and the Certified Picture Archiving and Communicating System Analyst Certification are a few of the systems analyst certifications offered. Explore the coursework, requirements and career options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Systems analysts work in the information technology and business administration fields. They need diverse skills and, sometimes, highly specialized knowledge to ensure that the organizations they work for get the maximum value from their information systems. Training and certification for systems analysts is available from a wide variety of private companies, community colleges, universities and professional organizations, and there are a number of programs to choose from. Some programs may require work experience, an undergraduate degree, or a background in computers for admission. Length varies by program. Internships are required in some programs. Certification exams are commonly mandated.


Certified Picture Archiving and Communicating System (PACS) Analyst Certification

A PACS training or certificate program covers the acquisition, distribution, display and archiving of digitized medical images. Students in these programs learn the differences between radiography, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound and PET (positron emission tomography) images, the management of image databases, and the implementation of effective workflow processes. Some programs are as short as four courses. Possible PACS course subjects might include:

  • Digital imaging introduction
  • Relational database management
  • PACS networks
  • Network security
  • PACS administration

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Certification

An MCSA certificate or training program provides systems analysts with a sufficient understanding of servers, network services, and network infrastructure to install, configure, and manage Microsoft networks. Systems analysts may choose from six Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications to gain additional credentials in their field. The following exams were offered by Microsoft, as of July 2014:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2008
  • MCSA: Windows 8
  • MCSA: Windows 7
  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012
  • MCSA: Office 365

Each certification consists of two or three exams on varying elements of operating system and/or server operation, maintenance, and repair. Program content teaches the details of networking protocols such as IP (Internet Protocol). Rather than multiple courses, MCSA programs may consist of a single course comprised of several modules. Modules may address the following topics:

  • Implementing and managing Windows servers
  • Network services infrastructure
  • Implementing and managing various Windows versions
  • Implementing and managing Windows Exchange

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The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) Information Systems Analyst Certification

The ICCP sponsors the Information Systems Analyst (ISA) certification exam for systems analysts who have graduated from four-year degree programs. Passing with a 50% or higher score confers the title ISA-Practitioner and passing with a 70% or higher score confers the title ISA-Master. ISA title holders are also automatically enrolled in the ICCP's re-certification program. A computer-related degree program that prepares one for ISA certification typically includes both general education courses in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, as well as core courses related to information technology and systems analysis. Systems analyst courses might include topics in:

  • Management concepts and principles
  • Relational database fundamentals
  • Systems analysis fundamentals
  • Information and project management
  • Organizational processes

Popular Career Options

Depending on the type and level of certification, a variety of careers are open to certified system analysts. For example, workers who have the Certified PACS System Analyst Certification look after the storage and distribution of medical images. Job possibilities may include:

  • Imaging systems technologist
  • Image database administrator
  • Image network manager

The MCSA certification has applications across the IT career landscape. Job titles and categories where certification may be helpful are:

  • Network technician
  • Network operations analyst
  • Network administrator
  • Systems administrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21% growth in employment for computer systems analysts between 2014 and 2024. This is much faster than average growth, driven by the increasing adoption of information technology and the need for workers with the knowledge and skills to implement it. As of May 2015, computer systems analysts earned a median salary of $85,800.

The Certified PACS Analyst Certification focuses on the management of digital medical images, while the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certification concentrates on networking protocols. The Information Systems Analyst Certification centralizes on information technology and systems analysis.

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