How to Become a
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
System analysts are the project leaders and architects of information systems. They help improve a company’s computer systems using the technologies at their disposal. There are currently close to 100,000 open positions for systems analysts on LinkedIn alone, signaling a solid demand for this role.
This guide will show you how to become a systems analyst. To help you choose a career path that fits you best, let’s look at the roles and responsibilities of a system analyst, along with crucial information like career outlook and salary expectation.
What Is a Systems Analyst?
A systems analyst is a problem solver in the simplest of terms. The primary responsibility of this expert is to act as a bridge between IT and business stakeholders. They design and implement computer hardware, software, and cloud services.
Systems analysts are also responsible for assessing the performance of computer networks and systems and researching new technology trends. They also implement and design customized technology solutions in tandem with an organization’s business goals.
What Does a Systems Analyst Do?
A systems analyst works in a company, institution, or with an independent client. They handle surveys and diagnosis of database program issues. They also resolve user issues and advise the management about innovations that can improve productivity.
Systems analysts work with program platforms and users to gauge the problems in whatever capacity they fill. Below are some prominent duties of systems analysts.
Monitors Network Systems
Systems analysts check the effectiveness of network systems and analyze their efficiency in meeting the needs of the clients and business operations. Systems analysts create modifications to operating systems while designing solutions and processes.
These professionals also research potential technologies in systems and database design to upgrade existing infrastructure. Systems analysts also train company end-users.
Systems analysts are in charge of managing a system’s workflow. They diagnose and detect malfunctions and troubleshoot the problem to assist clients with their issues. Systems analysts also deploy and maintain core business applications like associated hardware, application servers, and endpoints.
To properly diagnose malfunctions, these experts need an excellent command of programming languages. Knowledge of technology in systems processes and concepts will also come in handy.
Analyzes Costs and Benefits
One of their responsibilities is to prepare a cost analysis so the management can see if the computing infrastructure and IT systems upgrades are financially justifiable. Systems analysts also choose and configure relevant software and hardware.
Systems Analyst Education Pathways
There are so many ways to become a systems analyst. In most cases, employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. In other instances, this may not be a requirement as long as the candidate is skilled in the field.
This guide will cover all the possible learning options to consider.
Systems Analyst Degree
The most common way to become a systems analyst is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Most employers require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Systems Analysis, Management Information Systems, Computer Information Systems, or Business Intelligence.
However, the program should focus not just on IT but other business-related principles, so check the curriculum before enrolling. This will prepare you in implementing practical solutions for different types of businesses.
Systems Analyst Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are short training programs that prepare students for a career in tech. Depending on the bootcamp, programs may cover different tech fields like data science, computer engineering, product management, and UI/UX design. The programs generally last around 13 weeks and equip students with adequate skills for entry-level jobs.
You can learn to become a systems analyst from bootcamps that offer programs in software development or business intelligence. You do not need to be familiar with coding or even computer systems to qualify for a program. Most programs start from scratch and cover all the basics.
Systems Analyst Courses
There are no standalone courses for systems analysis. However, systems analysis courses are sometimes offered as a part of other computer science and business programs. They generally cover the basics of design and information systems analysis. You can also expect to learn the relevant tools for analysis and troubleshooting methods.
Another corresponding course that you can take is object-oriented analysis. It focuses on providing support for information systems. The course examines support system implementation and testing. It may also cover user training and help desks.
How to Become a Systems Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
The best way to become a systems analyst is by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The reason is that some employers may make this a requirement for hiring. However, other training programs are generally an acceptable entry point as well.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a systems analyst.
Get a degree
The first step is usually to get a bachelor’s degree. A degree in computer science or other related fields may come in handy. There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a university and you can study online as well.
Build the right skills
Many companies pay more attention to a candidate’s skills than their academic pedigree. After getting a bachelor’s degree, you may still need to gather additional skills to help you stand out. This is where online courses come in handy.
Earn relevant certifications
To increase your chances of getting a good job, you should consider getting professional certifications from credible bodies or companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Adobe. It is not a requirement, but it could help you stand out and prepare you for the ecosystem.
Participate in internship programs
Internships can help you gather real-world experience before getting into the field. Some universities offer internship programs as a part of the program. Bootcamps, meanwhile, require the completion of projects that similarly give you practical experience.
Apply for jobs
After getting real-world experience in the field, you can begin to apply for jobs. There are many job sites that you can sign up for and choose to receive important job alerts.
Top Systems Analyst Skills
You would need a combination of soft skills and technical skills to thrive as a system analyst. Considering the job scope, it is important to have strong communication skills, among others. A good system analyst should also employ critical thinking skills when attending to business problems.
Below are other crucial technical skills needed by systems analysts.
Systems analysts need SQL skills. These make it easier for them to handle data management programs and systems such as Microsoft products.
Also, SQL allows experts to interact with a large number of datasets and derive critical insights essential for making effective business decisions. Knowledge of SQL is helpful for enhanced understanding of data inflow in different information systems.
It does not matter if a systems analyst chooses to work at a school, company, or government. Systems administration skills are essential. These allow experts to oversee user security as well as access and troubleshoot user issues when they arise.
Knowledge of systems administration will also help you anticipate potential issues and come up with necessary solutions even before they occur. It could also come in handy when systems analysts need to translate relevant metadata among programs.
Systems analysts should be able to identify business needs. Having the capacity to do so will make it possible for them to develop software systems or suggest programs to protect their organization’s sensitive data. It also helps them assess which solution is viable based on a company’s economic and financial standing.
Systems Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
The cloud computing industry is on the rise, and so is the demand for systems analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for systems analysts is $93,730 per year or $45.06 per hour.
The same source predicts that employment for systems analysts is expected to grow by seven percent from 2019 to 2029. This is a lot faster than the four-percent average for all professions. As more businesses and industries adopt cloud computing, the demand for experts in the field will continue to exist.
Entry-Level Systems Analyst Job Requirements
In some cases, you don’t need a degree to apply for entry-level systems analyst jobs. Training from a coding bootcamp may be enough. In other cases, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or other closely related programs may be necessary.
How to Prepare for Your Systems Analyst Job Interview
A job interview can be overwhelming. However, preparing for it beforehand could put you at an advantage. Most interviews comprise behavioral and technical questions. The interviewers may want to know about you and how you work with others. They may also ask some technical questions to test your knowledge of the profession.
Here are some possible questions interviewers can ask during a systems analyst job interview.
Systems Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the roles of system analysts in an organization?
- How can you communicate user scenarios in technical documents?
- What should you look out for when performing software audits?
- What is the difference between technical and functional system requirements?
Systems Analyst Certifications
Professional certifications validate your skills as a systems analyst and help improve your job prospects. Some of the prominent ones include CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Security+.
CompTIA A+ Certification
This A+ certification is an entry-level computer certification. You must sit for an exam to certify your competency in the installation, maintenance, customization, and operation of personal computers.
This Security+ certification is recognized worldwide and validates the basic skills needed to perform security functions. It is ideal for people who want to pursue a career in IT security. Systems analysts may also need this certification to show that they have core knowledge of cyber security.
This certification verifies that you have the skills and knowledge to use and configure threat detection tools, carry out data analysis, and interpret results to find vulnerabilities. It is also an entry-level certification.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Systems Analyst?
The time it takes you to become a systems analyst depends on your chosen method of entry. For instance, if you choose to join a coding bootcamp, it could take you around 13 weeks to complete. You also need some experience, and this could easily take another few months to accomplish.
For university students, it can take up to four years to finish a computer science degree program. However, you will need more experience to work as a systems analyst. This could add a few months to a year to your journey.
Why You Should Become a Systems Analyst in 2021
Systems analysts use their technical abilities and research skills to lead and improve business functions. If you become one, you will be able to find work in many industries.
Also, systems analysts are in high demand. You will always have options when it comes to jobs and you can look forward to a good salary. The best part is that it gives you room for growth.
Systems Analyst FAQ
You can become a systems analyst in about five years. However, this number is not set in stone. It can be less if you choose to join a coding bootcamp. If that is the case, you can be ready for entry-level jobs in less than six months, depending on the bootcamp.
Some employers require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer systems analysis, computer information systems, and management information systems. In other cases, you can qualify for entry-level positions after attending a coding bootcamp.
Computer systems analysts do not code themselves. However, they need a basic knowledge of programming languages as well as computer hardware.
You can enroll in a coding bootcamp. These bootcamps have training programs for systems analysts even though it may involve learning other tech disciplines like computer engineering.