As part of a company’s information technology (IT) team, application systems analysts help businesses achieve their objectives by evaluating, designing and developing computer application systems. A bachelor’s degree in computer information systems (CIS) can provide the foundation for a successful application systems analyst career.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer systems analysts will see very strong growth in coming years. New jobs will be created as businesses integrate increasingly sophisticated technology into their operations and as companies experience a growing need for information security. The best job opportunities generally go to application systems analysts with a bachelor’s degree as well as in-depth knowledge of systems development and integration for new technologies, like wireless Internet and personal mobile computing.
Most application systems analysts focus on a specific type of system, such as business, accounting and financial, or scientific and engineering. The type and size of these application systems will vary according to the industry and organization. Typically, application systems analysts will consult with management to determine goals and objectives, and then design applications to meet them. They usually develop application specifications, identify the required inputs and format the output to meet users’ needs.
Application systems analysts may use a combination of data modeling, information engineering, mathematical model building, sampling and accounting principles to ensure efficient and comprehensive designs. They are sometimes required to prepare cost-benefit and return-on-investment analyses to determine the feasibility of implementing proposed technology solutions.
Other important aspects of an application systems analyst career include overseeing the implementation of required hardware and software components for approved applications, coordinating tests of the application system to ensure proper performance, and creating diagrams and flow charts for computer programmers to follow. Application systems analysts also investigate errors, diagnose problems and recommend solutions. Some may provide training for other personnel and create networks of application users within or across organizations.
The majority of application systems analysts work in an office setting or computer lab. Some may telecommute full- or part-time, working from a home office or other remote location. A 40-hour work week is typical.
BLS data from May 2013 revealed that computer systems analysts enjoy an average annual salary of $85,320. Recent bachelor’s degree program graduates will typically start out at the lower end of the scale and move up in salary with experience and advanced education. Earning an MS in information technology with a concentration in database administration can help professionals advance and earn up to $125,460 in the top 10% of the field.
Many employers prefer to hire application systems analysts with at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Some positions may require an MBA with a specialization in information technology management or an MSIT with a concentration in database administration. Previous IT experience is also an asset, and may be obtained through internships or work-study programs while pursuing a degree.
An application systems analyst career can begin with earning a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. Coursework usually includes statistics, introduction to Internet applications, continuous quality management, survey of software systems, and systems analysis and design.
Employers can be confident that graduates of a computer information systems program are able to:
Many employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use tuition assistance to further your education.
Most employers seek to hire application systems analysts with a broad knowledge of business and technology, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to multi-task. Aspiring IT professionals should also have proficiency across a variety of software applications and computer systems, as well as the ability to work well both independently and in a team environment. By honing these skills and earning a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, you’ll have the edge you need to succeed in an application systems analyst career!