Programmer Analyst: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a programmer analyst. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Programmer analysts design, develop and implement computer programs. They have to be knowledgeable about the latest technology trends and be able to work in team settings. A degree is the minimum requirement for this position, and experience can help compensate when applying for work.

Essential Information

For individuals who enjoy working with computers and keeping up on the latest technology, a job as a programmer analyst may be the ticket. Programmer analysts combine the jobs of both a systems analyst and a computer programmer. These professionals typically require a bachelor's degree in computers or a similar field and must continue to stay up to date on changing technology.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in computer science or related field typically required
Other Requirements Similar work experience, technical skills or relevant certification may be considered in place of bachelor's degree; must maintain awareness of changing technology
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 21% for computer systems analysts; -8% for computer programmers*
Median Salary (2016) $64,421**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Programmer Analyst Job Description

Programmer analysts perform the jobs of both a systems analyst and a computer programmer. Systems analysts design and develop software and computer systems. Computer programmers implement the designs by writing computer programs as well as updating and repairing existing programs.

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Programmer Analyst Job Duties

Depending on the organization, programmer analysts may work with specific computer systems, such as financial, scientific or engineering and tailor such systems to the needs of the employer. The work often begins by meeting with supervisors to determine company needs and then designing a system to meet those needs. Programmer analysts may also prepare cost analyses to assist management in determining the financial feasibility of a system as well as work with project managers to ensure that time lines are met.

After a computer system has been decided upon, programmer analysts may design the software programs for the new system and then translate the designs into various programming languages for the computer to follow. Programmer analysts are usually responsible for testing software to ensure there are no problems and debugging programs whenever problems arise.

As an important part of their job, programmer analysts are expected to stay abreast of new technology trends in order to incorporate any relevant applications to existing systems. They can do so by reading technology publications, joining professional organizations, attending seminars and maintaining good relationships with vendors.

Programmer Analyst Job Requirements

While some companies hire applicants with only an associate degree, a bachelor's degree is most often the minimum education required for securing a position as a programmer analyst. Relevant work experience in the industry may make up for the lack of a 4-year degree, but a bachelor's degree in a computer-related discipline, mathematics or engineering is usually preferred.

Depending on the work environment, a bachelor's degree in a non-technical field may be adequate if a candidate also possesses technical skills. It is possible to supplement one's skill set through certification programs given by professional organizations or vendors, seminars and continuing education classes.

Programmer Analyst Salary

PayScale.com listed the median annual salary for programmer analysts as $64,421 in October 2016. At that time, the site indicated that the majority of programmer analysts earned between $45,230 and $89,472 per year.

Programmer analysts work closely with their employers to understand their needs and create a program that can satisfy them. They are usually responsible for every aspect of the new software, including design, translation, testing and problem solving. An associate's degree may be accepted by some employers, though a bachelor's degree is often preferable.

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