Learn About Being a Systems Analyst

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 10, 2019

What does a systems analyst do?

Systems analysts are responsible for ensuring an organization’s system is meeting the needs of the business. They examine the needs of an organization and suggest or design new programs to meet those needs and help the business operate more efficiently. Some of their specific responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining and troubleshooting our data warehouse

  • Researching and evaluating emerging technologies, including both hardware and software

  • Discussing users’ needs, identifying vulnerabilities or areas of poor performance to boost productivity, efficiency and accuracy

  • Preparing cost benefits and analysis reports for upgrades

  • Communicating the strategic decisions with other IT department employees

  • Training the end-users and writing instruction manuals for employee or customer use

Average salary

Salaries for this position vary according to your experience level and geographic location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $79,961 per year

  • Some salaries range from $22,000 to $160,000 per year.

Systems analyst requirements

There are several qualifications required to obtain a position as a systems analyst. They include:

Education

Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or another closely related field. Employers may also accept candidates who have a four-year degree (even if it’s not in a technology-related field) if the candidate has computer-related coursework and certificates. Because systems analysts are expected to understand a business’s needs as well as technology, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) can give candidates a competitive edge in the job market.

Training

Most of the training that systems analysts need is acquired through coursework in a bachelor’s program, certification programs and on-the-job training in other positions. Candidates are typically expected to have substantial experience in an IT role before qualifying for a systems analyst position. This means aspiring systems analysts will need to pursue more entry-level or associate-level roles to obtain the necessary experience to qualify for a systems analyst position.

Certifications

While not required, many certifications can both validate a systems analyst’s skills and demonstrate a desire to work hard and grow professionally. They include:

  • CompTIA A+ Certification: This entry-level certification is considered a foundational certification for IT professionals entering the industry. It verifies their skills and knowledge on a wide variety of issues from networking and operating systems to mobile devices and security.

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification is designed to provide a benchmark for best practices in online security.

  • CompTIA CySA+: This is an intermediate-level credential for cybersecurity professionals, verifying that they have the skills and knowledge to perform data analysis and identify vulnerabilities and threats to an organization, configure and use tools that detect threats and protect systems from cyber attack.

  • CASP+: Offered by CompTIA, this advanced certification validates critical thinking and decision-making across a variety of security disciplines.

Skills

Several skills can help systems analysts succeed in their role. Those skills include:

  • Analytical skills: These include the ability to gather and analyze information and identify solutions to problems. Systems analysts must be able to gather information about an organization’s needs and use analytical and problem-solving skills to identify a solution.

  • Communication skills: Analysts need strong written and verbal skills to communicate between management, IT department and non-IT employees. They must be able to explain complex issues. They must also be able to create written materials for end-users to use as training materials.

  • Creativity: Creative thinking skills are essential in this role. Systems analysts need to come up with new and innovative solutions to computer problems.

  • Technical skills: These refer to the hard skills that they need to perform complex tasks involving technology. These skills are also essential to evaluate technology solutions or design new solutions to meet an organization’s needs.

Systems analyst work environment

Systems analysts typically work full-time in office environments with the following characteristics:

  • Extended periods sitting at a desk

  • Using computers, printers and other office equipment

  • Facilitating communication between the IT department and senior management

  • May be required to pick up heavy computer equipment

Systems analysts can work as independent contractors or for organizations directly. Many work for information technology firms, while others work in finance and insurance, health care or for government organizations.

How to become a systems analyst

These are the typical steps you should take to pursue a career as a systems analyst:

1. Pursue an education.

Employers typically require candidates to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Search for open systems analyst positions in your area and determine the minimum level of education required to qualify for the role. Obtain that level of education. You may also want to consider pursuing an advanced degree like an MBA to acquire the business knowledge required for this role.

2. Obtain experience.

Many employers require substantial experience to qualify for a systems analyst role. If you are still in college, look for internship opportunities where you can obtain real-world experience to accompany your degree. If you have completed your degree, look for entry-level or associate-level positions in an IT department. 

3. Obtain certifications.

There are a wide variety of certifications available that can validate an IT professional’s skills and demonstrate to employers that they are qualified for the position. There are a number of both vendor and non-vendor certifications available that can be beneficial for systems analysts.

4. Update your resume.

When you have obtained the required education and experience and acquired any additional certifications, update your resume. Include your highest level of education, relevant work history and skills you have acquired. 

5. Apply for jobs.

Perform a search in your geographic area for open positions for systems analysts. Identify the roles for which you are most qualified based on your education and experience levels. Apply using your updated resume and a cover letter highlighting any quantifiable results you have achieved in previous roles.

Systems analyst job description example

Blue Ridge Health Center is seeking an experienced systems analyst to join its IT department. This person will be responsible for the maintenance and support of the network, hardware and software as well as project design, implementation and execution. They will be responsible for overseeing technical training and resource support for all end-users and perform as a project lead under the IT director. They will also be the go-to person when the help desk needs to escalate support requests. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar field is required as well as a minimum of three to five years in an IT department. The ideal candidate will have strong written and verbal communication skills as well as the ability to work independently with strong attention to detail.

Related careers

  • IT manager

  • Senior project manager

  • Computer technician

  • System administrator

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