Becoming a Java Systems Analyst: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
A computer systems analyst's average salary is around $87,000, but is it worth the education and training requirements? Read real job descriptions and see the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a Java systems analyst is right for you.
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Java Systems Analyst Career Pros and Cons

Java systems analysts help companies use computer systems and the Java platform in ways that can benefit the business. It's important to consider the pros and cons of working as a Java systems analyst before making your career decisions.

Pros of Being a Java Systems Analyst
High earnings (average salary of about $87,000 as of 2014 for all systems analysts)*
Excellent job growth (25% from 2012-2022 for all systems analysts)*
Opportunities to work in many industries (computer systems design, private business, government, etc.)*
Computer science education can apply to other IT careers*
Potential for advancement to project manager, team leader or IT manager positions*

Cons of Being a Java Systems Analyst
Continuing education needed to keep up with advancements in technology*
Industry-specific expertise beyond computer science may be necessary*
Often requires overtime*
Advanced positions often require a master's degree*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description

Java is a programming language used to create user-friendly applications and websites. Smart phones, laptops, desktops, game consoles, navigation systems and many other types of devices use Java. The job of a computer systems analyst involves using logic and critical thinking to provide IT solutions to business problems. As your employer develops new needs, you'll devise new computer systems from scratch or update current systems in order to meet those requirements. As an analyst specializing in Java, you'll focus particularly on how the Java platform can contribute to the company's IT operations.

Your daily activities center around keeping systems running effectively and efficiently. This can involve evaluating and testing computer systems, Java applications and software to ensure that all are working in tune with each other. When an issue arises, you may troubleshoot to locate the source of the problem, and then you'll create and implement a solution plan. You'll also upgrade systems when new hardware or software becomes available. Often times, you'll need to field questions from co-workers or address any concerns that come up related to the Java systems you work with.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer systems analysts for all types of systems earned around $87,000 on average per year as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The lowest-paid ten percent of computer systems analysts earned about $51,000 or less, while the top ten percent earned around $130,000 or more. If you want to get involved in one of the top-paying industries, look for work with the mining support, commodity exchanges, brokerage, oil/gas extraction and computer equipment manufacturing industries.

The BLS also reports that employment for all systems analysts was projected to increase by 25% from 2012-2022. Growth will be spurred by companies' growing reliance on IT, particularly in the use of wireless and mobile networks. The healthcare and computer systems design industries in particular were projected to have exceptionally high job growth. IT consulting firms should also provide many jobs as organizations continue to outsource their IT needs to these firms.

Education Requirements

Many employers require Java systems analysts and other computer systems analysts to possess at least a bachelor's degree in a field like information science or computer science. Familiarity with Java technology is a must, so you'll want to take coursework in this platform during college. Fortunately, many computer science bachelor's programs offer courses in Java. Other topics you can expect to study include C++, operating systems, database management and computer architecture.

Skills

Along with education, you'll need to be an analytical and critical thinker for this career. You will have to absorb large amounts of data and decide what route to take to solve complex IT issues. A creative edge is also important, since you'll need to design innovative solutions. Additionally, you need to be able to work as part of a team, which means you'll need to be an excellent communicator.

Job Postings from Real Employers

When looking to hire Java systems analysts, employers want applicants who are experts in Java as well as an array of other programming languages, like C++ and XML. In many cases, employers want Java systems analysts to have previous work experience in an information technology career, especially if it involves Java. You may also need experience specific to the industry in which the position is available. For example, medical organizations may want analysts who have worked with healthcare technology. Look through this sample of job postings that were available in February 2012 for an idea of what employers were looking for:

  • An Illinois IT services firm needs a Java systems analyst to design applications for businesses and technology companies. The applicant needs seven years of experience in software development and expertise in Websphere Xstreme Scale, JQuery and XML technologies, among other platforms.
  • A company that outsources business services to other companies in Illinois needs a Java systems analyst with experience in application design and object-oriented design and analysis. Applicants need to be familiar with a range of programming languages, such as XML, WebSphere and WebLogic.
  • A jewelry insurance company wants a Java systems analyst who also has expertise in the .Net platform and understands ImageRight, Thunderhead, Gosu and Guidewire.
  • A hospitality and hotel business located in Washington, D.C., requests the services of a senior systems analyst who has five years of Java coding experience as well as familiarity in XML, HTML and C++. The employer prefers applicants with Sun or IBM WebSphere certification.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Keep Learning

One way to stand out amongst the pack of applicants is to show your employer that you're serious about keeping updated on the latest Java technologies. By doing research online and reading technical magazines, you can keep yourself educated on developing Java technologies and make new suggestions to your employer when a new piece of technology might make improvements to the business. Additionally, consider going to graduate school. The BLS reports that some positions require a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in information systems, though you could also earn a more computer-science-focused master's degree.

Pursue Certificates and Certification

Certification is an excellent way to demonstrate to employers that you're an expert in the types of programming languages and software suites that they utilize. You can earn certification by passing exams administered by software vendors and manufacturers, like Java. Certificates, on the other hand, are educational programs that require you to complete several classes on a specialized topic, like Java. Many community colleges and universities offer certificates in Java programming, which can allow you to enhance your education beyond the bachelor's degree level.

Other Career Options

If you want to work in computer science, but you want a more advanced role, consider a leadership position as a computer systems manager. In fact, working as a systems analyst could be a good springboard for advancement to this management career. In this position, you'd oversee and coordinate all activities related to computers for your employer, such as assigning work tasks to computer systems analysts, support specialists, engineers and programmers. When you're not coordinating activities, you'll be examining the current standing of your employer's computer systems to ensure they meet with the current needs of the business. When necessary, you'll make adjustments to ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible. On average, computer and information systems managers earned around $126,000 yearly as of 2011, according to the BLS.

If you don't want to limit yourself to working with Java technology, your education in computer science could carry over to network and computer administration career. In a network and computer administrator position, you'll create and maintain networks for companies and organizations. You might set up a network for a big corporation, or you might coordinate smaller networks across several different businesses, depending on the nature of your employer. The BLS reports that network and computer administrators made about $74,000 on average annually, and jobs were projected to grow at an excellent rate of 28% from 2010-2020.

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Georgetown University

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Full Sail University

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Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Computer Programming

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

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Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Technology Studies

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science
  • MS Technology and Innovation Management Computer Science

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