Should I Become an Automation Analyst?
Automation analysts are software developers and computer systems analysts who specialize in software and database quality control. They write computer codes and scripts that test the efficiency rates of various software programs. They also create automated programs that routinely check computer systems and troubleshoot problems. Many automation analysts work with other software developers, marketing agents and clients to create, design, test and implement new software programs. These workers are often employed by computer systems design companies and similar kinds of businesses; automation analysts usually work in office settings. Workweeks beyond 40 hours aren't uncommon.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Computer science or a related field|
|Experience||Varies; at least three years related to automated technology tools, troubleshooting, systems testing and programming|
|Key Skills||Able to think analytically, creative problem solver, works well with others, pays attention to details, excellent customer service skills, reliable and strong writing skills, strong working knowledge of industry-specific software and technologies|
|Salary (2014||$102,880 per year (Median salary for systems software developers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014), January 2013 job postings from CareerBuilder.com.
Step 1: Gain Technical Expertise
Although the BLS states that many employers prefer analysts and developers who have a bachelor's degree, professionals who possess the necessary technical expertise also might be able to find employment. Analysts need to know how to write computer programs, identify potential problems, improve program efficiency, review database systems, test software and reconfigure computer systems. Some people can learn these technical skills on their own, whereas others opt to receive training through a vocational or associate degree program.
Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Since most computer analysts and software developers have a bachelor's degree, individuals might need to earn a 4-year degree to be competitive in the job market. Commonly, professionals in this industry hold a bachelor's degree in a field like computer science, software development, mathematics or computer engineering. Computer science programs generally include such courses as database management systems, programming, operating systems, software design, data structures and software architecture. These programs might offer concentrations, such as programming, social media, networking or system security.
Alternatively, prospective automation analysts might choose a major that blends business skills with technology training, such as management information systems or business technology. If a student already has a professional background in technology, he or she might opt for a degree in business or liberal arts.
- Take business classes. Individuals who decide to major in computer science might consider taking business classes or pursuing a business minor. For the most part, automation analysts are quality control consultants, and these professionals need to understand the needs of businesses and ways business professionals communicate.
Step 3: Develop Experience
Each industry has different needs that automation analysts must address. Prospective analysts can gain experience in meeting these needs by pursuing related entry-level positions, such as quality assurance tester or computer support specialist. In these positions, professionals can learn to test scripts, interact with other testers or team members and run various types of software. Employers typically look for automation analysts with several years of experience.
- Stay on top of changes in technology. Technology applications, software programs and computer languages transform and update frequently. Some professionals elect to take formal training courses offered by colleges or software manufacturers to stay current. Others are able to learn on their own by reading technology trade magazines or blogs or by attending technology conventions. In some cases, employers will pay employees to participate in training programs.
Step 4: Consider a Graduate Degree
Professionals might consider enrolling in a graduate degree program, such as a master's degree program in information systems technology or business administration. Advancement opportunities, particularly for management positions, might require applicants to hold a graduate degree.