Computer systems analysts perform important tasks on an organization’s computer system and may be required to travel as part of their job. Because of their knowledge and numerous skills, computer systems analysts may work directly within an organization or may work as consultants, in which case they might need to do a little or a lot of traveling. Learn more about computer systems analysts, including what they do, how to become one and the career outlook for these highly-trained professionals.

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What Computer Systems Analysts Do

Computer systems analysts are an important part of the workforce of an organization because they’re usually in charge of the organization’s computer and network system and processes. Their duties generally include the following:

  • Meet with management to determine the goals of the organization
  • Analyze the current efficiency of the company and determine ways to increase performance
  • Research the latest technologies to determine if implementing them will improve the company’s efficiency, effectiveness and profitability
  • Design ways to upgrade current computer operations
  • Design new systems by upgrading computer software and hardware
  • Supervise the installation and maintenance of the new computer system
  • Monitor the system to ensure it’s running efficiently and as expected
  • Train the users and employees on the system and what to expect
  • Troubleshoot the computer system if necessary

Do Computer Systems Analysts Travel a Lot?

Computer systems analysts typically work within an organization and are part of the IT team, but some computer systems analysts choose to work as freelancers or consultants. Consultants are typically required to travel to the client’s locations. As such, they also often include travel expenses as part of their bill, which can increase the wage they earn.

The ability and willingness to travel also increase their career opportunities and value in the business. Because of the technological advances we have today, many computer systems analysts can perform some of their work through telecommunication. However, more complex jobs and assignments may require the analyst to travel to remote locations.

Career Outlook for Computer Systems Analysts

As of 2018, there were about 633,900 computer systems analysts employed in the United States according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts that computer systems analysts could see job growth of nine percent during the decade of 2018-2028, a percentage that can result in about 56,000 new computer systems analyst jobs created by 2028.

With the economy growing as it has in recent years, organizations are increasing their reliance on information technology specialists like computer systems analysts, which will keep these professionals in demand.

Computer systems analysts have the potential to make excellent salaries, especially those who have extensive experience. As of May 2018, computer systems analysts earned an average yearly wage of $93,610. Analysts in the lower 10 percent earned about $54,360, and those at the top 90 percent earned $142,220 or more.

Factors like degree level, work experience in the field, employer and location can all affect the earning potential. The list below, which shows the five top-paying states for computer systems analysts and the five lowest-paying states, demonstrates how much geographic location can affect wage potential.

  • New Jersey – $107,540
  • District of Columbia – $106,790
  • New York – $16,320
  • California – $103,930
  • Virginia – $102,290
  • West Virginia – $74,010
  • Louisiana – $72,560
  • Arkansas – $71,990
  • • Kentucky – $71,500
  • Mississippi – $66,790

Related Resource: What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?

How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science. While an individual may be hired for this position with an associate’s degree and work experience or even with a master’s degree, the bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field is the most common path towards this career. A candidate with a liberal arts degree may also become a computer systems analyst by taking some computer-related courses as well as some technical courses.

Because computer systems analysts should be well informed on the business part of an organization, some computer systems analysts have a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in computer science or information systems. In some cases, an employer may require the analyst to have a master’s degree. While some computer systems analysts are all-purpose analysts, some choose to specialize in a certain area such as:

  • Software Quality Assurance Analyst
  • Systems Designers
  • Systems Architects
  • Programmer Analysts

Working as a computer systems analyst can be not only challenging and rewarding but also fun for an individual with a true love of computers. Because computer systems analysts are used in so many industries, they can often choose their work environment, which can include traveling. Working as a computer systems analyst consultant can provide the candidate with the opportunity to travel, earn higher wages and see some of the country.