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System Analysis Career Information and Requirements

Systems analysts require some formal education. Learn about the educational requirements and job duties as well as licensure and certification information to see if this is the right choice for you.

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Systems analysts design, implement and work with computer systems to meet business needs. These professionals require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. The job growth outlook is much faster than average for these positions.

Essential Information

System analysis careers include computer systems analysts and business systems analysts. Those employed as these analysts serve as links between the business and information technology departments of organizations. These careers require technical expertise and using computer systems to meet workflow requirements and solve problems in an office environment. Usually, a technology-focused bachelor's degree and relevant experience are preferred by employers. Many employers also tend to hire candidates who have earned professional certifications.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, management information systems or engineering
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 21% for computer systems analysts
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $85,800 for computer systems analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information in System Analysis

Systems analysts assess business needs of a company and determine how to meet those needs through with technology. Analysts may meet with managers about user requirements and design computer systems based on those discussions. After factoring in the financial feasibility of a design, they decide what hardware and software would work best for an organization and use available resources or purchase new equipment to implement their plans.

After setting up a computer system, analysts ensure that they perform as planned and run smoothly and efficiently. They may work with computer programmers or other staff to create necessary software, training manuals and other required materials.

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed a median yearly salary for computer system analysts, including business systems analysts, of $85,800. Further data from the BLS indicates the computer systems design services industry employed the highest number of system analysts at that time, while the mining support activities industry paid the highest wages. The BLS has projected a 21% job growth figure for system analysts between 2014 and 2024.

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Requirements for a Career in System Analysis

System analysis careers generally require at least a bachelor's degree in a technical field, such as information technology (IT), management information systems, engineering or computer science. Many employers require some amount of relevant practical experience as well, which may be acceptable instead of a college degree. Candidates who possess practical experience but lack a relevant college degree may want to consider taking classes to beef up their computer skills or gain technical experience working in a company's IT department.

Some employers may prefer that candidates possess certification or licensure in certain software products or knowledge areas. Software companies such as Microsoft offer certifications, like the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), that are relevant for system analysis careers. All Microsoft certifications require the passing of an exam (www.microsoft.com).

The International Institute of Business Analysis offers the Certification of Analysis in Business Competence (CCBA) that may be valuable for business systems analyst careers (www.theiiba.org). The CCBA designation is awarded to professionals who meet certain criteria, including possession of a certain amount of work experience, completing continuing education requirements and submission of two references.

Systems analysts can receive voluntary certification in their field that may aid in career advancement. Vendor specific certification is also available for various hardware and software applications. These professionals have a median annual salary of around $86,000.

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