Becoming a Computer Analyst: Salary Information & Job Description

About this article
A computer analyst's average salary is around $87,320. Is it worth the education requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a computer analyst is right for you.
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Pros and Cons to Becoming a Computer Analyst

Computer analysts choose specific pieces of software and hardware, then implement that technology into working computer systems to benefit their employer. Take a look below and read about some of the upsides and downsides to being a computer analyst.

PROS to Becoming a Computer Analyst
Employment growth is expected to be faster than average (25% from 2012 to 2022)*
Excellent job prospects due to job growth*
Promotional opportunities with experience to lead or senior analyst*
Telecommuting is an option in many cases*

CONS to Becoming a Computer Analyst
Under certain circumstances, a computer analyst can work a 50-hour week*
Long periods of using the computer can lead to problems like carpal tunnel syndrome*
Postsecondary education is required*
Secondary knowledge in areas like healthcare and banking can be required, depending on the nature of your employer*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salary Information and Job Description

Career Duties

Organizations rely heavily on computer technology to store information and perform business applications. A computer analyst's job is to apply computer technology to meet a company's needs in order to maximize equipment, as well as personnel and business activities. As a computer analyst, you might design new computer programs, but that duty is generally left for professionals known as computer programmers.

Usually, a computer analyst has specialized in a particular type of computer system, such as financial, accounting or engineering systems. The responsibilities of computer analysts are highly technical and often form the foundation for the rest of the organization's business practices.

Earnings

In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual income for computer systems analysts was around $87,320 (www.bls.gov). District of Columbia, Virginia, New Jersey, Washington and Colorado were the top paying states for computer systems analysts in the same year.

Vocational Requirements

Education

Computer analysts must have high levels of skill and education in order to qualify for positions due to the constant developments of today's technology. Most computer analysts have a bachelor's degree in computer science or management information systems, but employers are increasingly seeking applicants who hold a master's in business administration or information systems.

What Do Employers Want in Computer Analysts?

Employers typically want computer analysts who have relevant experience to their field. For example, a banking company might want prospective computer analysts who have a background in financing. In addition to technical knowledge, excellent communication and interpersonal abilities are important since applicants must be able to handle the varied responsibilities of a computer analyst. Take a look below at what some job postings in March 2012 were asking for in computer analysts.

  • An opening on an air force base in Arkansas wanted a computer analyst who can obtain and maintain a secret clearance.
  • An accounting firm in California wanted a computer analyst with at least five years of experience in IT consulting.
  • A part-time contract opportunity in North Carolina was looking for a computer analyst willing to travel and multitask.
  • In California, a hospital wanted a computer analyst with experience in networking and policy writing.

How to Stand Out as a Computer Analyst

Due to technological advances, computer analysts who participate in continuing education can stay a step ahead of other competitors. One route is to attend conferences and shows that reveal the latest products. These seminars are typically offered by professional organizations that specialize in information technology, like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society.

At these shows, you can sometimes attend panels and meetings to learn about the latest products and technology. By taking the time to go to these conferences and learn, you can make appropriate recommendations on upgrades to employers.

Other Career Choices

If you like working as a computer analyst, but you want to take on more of a managerial role, you could become a computer and information systems manager. This occupation requires you to combine your information technology skills with business management skills. You'll supervise and oversee the work of other computer professionals to fulfill the technological needs of your employer's business. Computer and information systems managers made around $126,000 on average annually according to the BLS in 2011.

If you're interested in writing software programs, you can become a computer programmer. In this career, you would use designs created by analysts and engineers to make instructions for computers to follow. You accomplish this task by using programming languages like Python and C. In May 2011, the BLS found that computer programmers had average salaries of about $76,000.

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Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

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Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science

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Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Associate: Information Technology

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Virginia College

  • Associate - Network System Administrator
  • Diploma Program - Network Technician

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology

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Brightwood College

  • Computer Networking Technology

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