Computer Systems Analysts

What Computer Systems Analysts Do

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and find a solution that is more efficient and effective.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0JdNufvn-o

Work Environment

Most computer systems analysts work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees who have skills in information technology or computer programming.

Pay

The median annual wage for computer systems analysts was $90,920 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of computer systems analysts is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The further adoption of cloud computing by both large and small businesses and an increasing use of IT services in healthcare settings is expected to increase demand for these workers.

Computer systems analysts, sometimes called systems architects, study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures, and design solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Duties

Computer systems analysts typically do the following:

  • Consult with managers to determine the role of IT systems in an organization
  • Research emerging technologies to decide if installing them can increase the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness
  • Prepare an analysis of costs and benefits so that management can decide if IT systems and computing infrastructure upgrades are financially worthwhile
  • Devise ways to add new functionality to existing computer systems
  • Design and implement new systems by choosing and configuring hardware and software
  • Oversee the installation and configuration of new systems to customize them for the organization
  • Conduct testing to ensure that the systems work as expected
  • Train the systems’ end users and write instruction manuals

Most computer systems analysts specialize in computer systems that are specific to the organization they work with. For example, an analyst might work predominantly with financial computer systems or with engineering computer systems. Computer systems analysts help other IT team members understand how computer systems can best serve an organization by working closely with the organization’s business leaders.

Computer systems analysts use a variety of techniques, such as data modeling, to design computer systems. Data modeling allows analysts to view processes and data flows. Analysts conduct indepth tests and analyze information and trends in the data to increase a system’s performance and efficiency.

Analysts calculate requirements for how much memory, storage, and computing power the computer system needs. They prepare flowcharts or other kinds of diagrams for programmers or engineers to use when building the system. Analysts also work with these people to solve problems that arise after the initial system is set up. Most analysts do some programming in the course of their work.

In some cases, analysts who supervise the initial installation or upgrade of IT systems from start to finish may be called IT project managers. They monitor a project’s progress to ensure that deadlines, standards, and cost targets are met. IT project managers who also plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Many computer systems analysts are general-purpose analysts who develop new systems or fine-tune existing ones; however, there are some specialized systems analysts. The following are examples of types of computer systems analysts:

Software quality assurance (QA) analysts do indepth testing and diagnose problems of the systems they design. Testing and diagnosis are done in order to make sure that critical requirements are met. QA analysts also write reports to management recommending ways to improve the systems.

Programmer analysts design and update their system’s software and create applications tailored to their organization’s needs. They do more coding and debugging than other types of analysts, although they still work extensively with management and business analysts to determine the business needs that the applications are meant to address. Other occupations that do programming are computer programmers and software developers.

Computer systems analysts held about 632,400 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of computer systems analysts were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 28%
Finance and insurance 14
Management of companies and enterprises 9
Information 7
Government 6

Computer systems analysts can work directly for an organization or as contractors, often working for an information technology firm. The projects that computer systems analysts work on usually require them to collaborate and coordinate with others.

Analysts who work on contracts in the computer systems design and related services industry may move from one project to the next as they complete work for clients.

Work Schedules

Most systems analysts work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of computer systems analysts.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Actuaries

Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty.

Bachelor’s degree $108,350

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology.

Master’s degree $122,840

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor’s degree $146,360

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

Bachelor’s degree $112,690

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor’s degree $86,550

Database Administrators

Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data.

Bachelor’s degree $93,750

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor’s degree $99,730

Management Analysts

Management analysts recommend ways to improve an organization’s efficiency.

Bachelor’s degree $85,260

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of computer networks.

Bachelor’s degree $83,510

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help solve complex issues.

Bachelor’s degree $84,810

Software Developers

Software developers create the applications or systems that run on a computer or another device.

Bachelor’s degree $107,510

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to computer users and organizations.

See How to Become One $54,760

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

Associate’s degree $73,760

For more information about computer systems analysts, visit

Association for Computing Machinery

Computing Research Association

IEEE Computer Society

For information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

O*NET

Computer Systems Analysts

Informatics Nurse Specialists


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Systems Analysts,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm (visited ).