Career Development

How to Become a Systems Analyst: Career Requirements and Steps to Take

November 24, 2020

IT professionals are in high demand and the career outlook for systems analysts continues to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Systems analysts play an important role in the development, maintenance and troubleshooting of the technological infrastructure of digital corporations. In the evolving world of business technology, there's never been a better time to pursue systems analyst positions. In this article, you'll learn how to become a systems analyst, what they do and related careers.

What does a systems analyst do?

Systems analysts are also referred to as systems architects, IT analysts or systems administrators. However, they all have one goal: to analyze the effectiveness of the technology infrastructure at the strategic core of enterprise businesses, to ensure the integrity of vital systems and make improvements as needed.

Embarking on this career path often allows for specialization, because systems analysts receive on-the-job training on several important systems in enterprise hardware and software. The type of specialization you achieve on the job will depend on the needs and desires of the organization you choose to work for.

Systems analysts may be required to:

  • Troubleshoot and maintain data warehouse and data storage systems
  • Research, assess and evaluate technology in the infrastructure
  • Understand user needs and how to improve systems based on demand
  • Create cost analysis reports that highlight the cost of efficiency
  • Communicate with stakeholders
  • Train users

Read More: All About Being a Systems Analyst

The average salary for a systems analyst

According to Indeed Salaries, systems analysts make $79,020 per year. The average salaries for related positions in IT range from $66,096 to $87,269.

Related: IT Business Analyst

How to become a systems analyst

If you're thinking about becoming a systems analyst, do so with these simple steps:

  1. Seek the required education.
  2. Get certified.
  3. Find ways to get job experience.
  4. Update your resume and apply.

1. Seek the required education

Anyone looking to become a systems analyst should start by getting the required education. In most cases, you should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to become a system analyst. Consider a degree program in computer science or a related field. If you're starting with a bachelor's degree that is not related to computer sciences, you may be able to supplement knowledge by investing in additional courses and passing them to fulfill the minimum education requirements needed for the role.

2. Get certified

While not expressly required, many certifications can help you to become a systems analyst. These include the following:

  • CompTIA A+ Certification: This is a prestigious certification for any entry-level IT candidates. It's attractive because it provides a foundational understanding of modern IT principles.
  • CompTIA Security+: This certification ensures you understand corporate cybersecurity.
  • CompTIA CySA+: The next cybersecurity certification to pursue is this mid-level commendation. It goes deeper into important cybersecurity operations than Security+.
  • CASP+: Offered by CompTIA, this is an advanced certification that ensures you have the hard and soft skills to be a cybersecurity professional.

3. Find ways to get job experience

It may be helpful to gain experience more specific to the technical duties of a systems analyst to obtain the role. For this reason, being a systems analyst may not be the first job in your career journey right out of college. Instead, look for jobs in IT that offer you the experience with enterprise infrastructure and systems. This may mean starting at the help desk level or working as an enterprise software developer or IT department manager before gaining entry into a systems analyst role.

Common skills needed to be a systems analyst include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Technical skills
  • Communication
  • Creativity

There are likely several ways to develop these more general skills of a systems analyst without leaving your current role. Look for opportunities to learn about a new device or communicate with stakeholders.

4. Update your resume and apply

Once you've gained the necessary skills, education and experience, you can start applying for jobs. First, you'll want to update your resume to make sure it reflects your most recent skill development and education endeavors. Use active language on your resume to show your systems analyst accomplishments.

Related: Systems Analyst Resume Samples

Systems analyst FAQs

If you're thinking about becoming a systems analyst, consider these frequently asked questions to help inform your decision:

  • What is the job outlook for systems analysts?
  • How long does it take to become a systems analyst?
  • What skills should a systems analyst have?
  • What degrees related to computer science could someone seek?

What is the job outlook for systems analysts?

The demand for systems analysts is expected to grow by 9% through 2028, which outpaces average growth across industries.

How long does it take to become a systems analyst?

When you consider that a bachelor's degree takes four years to complete, and systems analysts also may need experience to work in an analyst role, it could easily take 5-10 years to become a systems analyst. This position will likely be a mid-level point in a typical career path or higher.

What skills should a systems analyst have?

Systems analysts should plan to develop very focused technical skills, including knowledge of hardware, software, networks, servers and more. It may be important for systems analysts to know enterprise coding languages like JavaScript or Python. Systems analysts should be detail-oriented and superb multitaskers. They are professionals who must be both analytical and creative to meet the digital demands of growing businesses.

What degrees related to computer science could someone seek?

Computer science degrees are usually a bachelor's in science. There are several similar degrees that offer high-level technical training which include:

  • Information systems
  • Software engineering
  • Data science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Mechanical engineering

Related careers

Below are some careers related to becoming a systems analyst to help you determine your career path: