Program Analyst Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Program Analyst, or Program Evaluator, reviews a company’s computer systems to ensure they operate properly and efficiently. Their main duties include determining requirements for each system, making recommendations to optimize programs accordingly and identifying and resolving system issues.


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Program Analyst duties and responsibilities

A Program Analyst assesses an organization’s programs and policies and provides recommendations for how to improve them. The duties and responsibilities of a Program Analyst include: 

  • Creating and implementing data management collection techniques
  • Analyzing data to determine better ways to implement corporate guidelines while maintaining profit margins
  • Identifying program needs based on data collected and analyzed
  • Participating in strategic planning meetings
  • Ensuring that all changes in programs and outcomes are well documented
  • Performing data validation and implementing quality control measures to ensure the continued success of programs
  • Assisting with grants and event coordination
  • Creating budgetary controls and financial management processes


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What does a Program Analyst do?

Program Analysts are information technology professionals who evaluate, optimize and improve organizations’ computer systems. They’ll conduct extensive research to gain more information and data regarding various computer programs and will use this research to identify system trends and prepare reports. Program Analysts will review these programs to locate their system requirements and will make optimization suggestions according to their findings. 

They’ll collaborate closely with Program Managers to develop budgets and schedules for the system optimization process. Program Analysts will also provide advice to Program Managers as they test, plan and implement these new systems. Once they’re installed, the Program Analyst will evaluate the their effectiveness and will prepare presentations on the results.


Program Analyst skills and qualifications

Program Analysts use strong problem-solving and analytical skills to help organizations improve their programs. A successful Program Analyst should have the following skills and qualifications:

  • Firm understanding of industry best practices
  • Strong spreadsheet and presentation skills
  • Unrestricted work authorization
  • Strong analytical and organizational skills
  • Ability to calculate statistics like mathematical averages and percentages
  • Ability to work independently and with a team 
  • Ability to adapt to changing technology
  • Effective communication skills


Program Analyst salary expectations

A Program Analyst makes an average of $93,649 per year. Exact salary may depend on the candidate’s level of experience, education and geographic location. 


Program Analyst education and training requirements

The training and educational requirements of a Program Analyst may vary. Most Program Analyists hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, though some may be self-educated. Knowing what your organization requires will help in finding the right candidate, but some of the common requirements may include a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business or similar field, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification, Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-BA) certification, Capacity Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certification, training in technical writing or experience in basic statistics, accounting or a similar field.


Program Analyst experience requirements

Program Analysts may come from a variety of backgrounds including private industry and government service. Some may have experience in similar fields. Program Analysts should have some experience managing large amounts of data and understand how to process that data for practical applications. Some of the experience requirements may include more than 3 years of experience with project management or program analysis.


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Frequently asked questions asked about Program Analysts


Do Program Analysts have different responsibilities in different industries?

There are a wide variety of industries Program Analysts may work in where their job responsibilities may slightly vary. Most of them work for government entities, testing and implementing new computer systems to help the public sector run more efficiently and cater more effectively toward the public. Some serve in the healthcare industry, developing medical software systems that allow healthcare employees to provide patients with more advanced treatments. 

Others work for various businesses, updating and developing programs that help organizations overcome challenges in the industry and enhance their productivity levels. 


What settings do Program Analysts typically work in?

Many Program Analysts work primarily in an office environment, typically at their computers researching, building and updating software systems. They may also be required to travel to other organizations to install and add enhancements to their software programs. Companies may also send Program Analysts to meet with business professionals to describe the programs’ specifications and to answer any questions they may have. 


What's the difference between a Program Analyst and a Computer Systems Analyst?

Though they share many similarities when it comes to testing and updating an organization’s computer systems, there are some key differences between a Program Analyst and a Computer Systems Analyst. Program Analysts will review various programs for an organization to adopt and install to improve their overall efficiencies. 

Computer Systems Analysts typically act as the primary contact between the business operations side of the company and the information technology department to ensure they’re properly supporting one another. They’ll research different hardware and software products to ensure they meet the needs of the information technology department and its overall structure. They usually work to ensure their systems meet the information technology department’s needs, while Program Analysts focus more closely on improving the company’s efficiencies.


What makes a good Program Analyst?

Strong Program Analysts should have great data and analytical skills to interpret various statistics and data pieces to make accurate and valuable recommendations. Program Analysts must also have impressive communication and listening skills to interact with employees and other organizational leaders to determine their challenges and how to use computer programs to fix them. 

Problem solving and critical thinking skills are also best for ideal candidates to have to find computer programs that solve the organization’s industry challenges and improve their overall efficiencies. Since they regularly work on tight deadlines, good Program Analysts must use time management abilities to effectively prioritize their tasks. 

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