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Computer Analyst

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, or Technical Certification
Average Salary: $75,500 per year
Job Outlook: Excellent

Computer analysts, also known as computer systems analysts, help companies develop information technology tools of many sorts. Their jobs can include dealing with hardware and software, and they can also improve on the existing systems a company has in place. Specialists in the field may work exclusively with business, account, scientific, or engineering IT systems, of system architects or designers may help companies choose the correct hardware or software for their needs.

Some computer analysts work exclusively for one company, though others may hold consulting positions for a variety of smaller companies. Analyst jobs include preparing IT reports for management, testing new or rebuilt systems, and managing the company’s computer network.

Education and Training Requirements

At minimum, a computer analyst should have a bachelor’s degree, but some employers prefer graduate degrees. Technical degrees in fields like computer and information science are preferred, though those with degrees in mathematics, engineering, and physical sciences can obtain computer analyst jobs with extra computer-centered training. Business specialized computer analysts often need an MBA to boost their chances of advancement.

Practical experience combined with certification and courses in computer systems can sometimes substitute for a bachelor’s or advanced degree, particularly with smaller companies who have less stringent requirements. Computer analysts who seek jobs in specialized fields, such as banking or medical industries, may need additional training in the specifics of these areas to fully understand their computer and networking requirements.

Getting the Job

With the field of computer analysis growing so rapidly, entry-level jobs are available and will normally involve working under a managing computer analyst. Self-employment as a consultant for small businesses is also a viable option for many analysts.

Prospects for getting an entry-level computer analyst job are excellent. With proper experience and education, analysts can apply directly to companies with openings in their area.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Growth in the computer analysis field is expected to be excellent – much faster than average – until at least 2018. As more companies continue to computerize their systems and update networks to handle new IT needs, computer analysts will certainly be called for. The need for electronic security within business networks is also increasing the job possibilities for analysts specializing in electronic information security. Because computer analysts often deal directly with a company’s hardware configurations, their jobs are less likely to be offshored than many other IT related positions.

Entry level computer analyst jobs can quickly turn into management level computer analyst jobs, such as network operations directors. Computer analysts normally remain in this type of job for their careers, though some may have more financial and personal success by creating their own computer analyst businesses rather than working for one company. As so many companies across the country need computer analysts, this is a potentially mobile job that can be taken anywhere.

Working Conditions and Environment

Computer analysts typically work in an office environment, and their positions aren’t more stressful than most. Some computer analysts do part of their work from home, and opportunities for telecommuting are growing as more companies become open to the idea. With that said, it’s not normally possible for a computer analyst to work from home full time, particularly if they’re dealing with networking and hardware issues for a company.

Salary and Benefits

About 5% of computer analysts make over $250,000 per year, but most make around $75,500 or a little less. These full-time jobs normally require at least forty hours a week, and sometimes more work may be required when installing a new system or revamping an old one in a short period of time.

Typically, a computer analyst will be granted paid vacation and personal days as well as health insurance. Consultants will not have these benefits, though they will most likely make more money for the same amount of work.

Where to Go for More Information
The best place to find out more information about computer analyst jobs is from organizations that specialize in these jobs.

Association for Computing Machinery
2 Penn Plaza, Ste. 701
New York, NY 10121-0701

National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies
3000 Landerholm Circle SE
Bellevue, WA 98007

National Center for Women and Information Technology
University of Colorado
Campus Box 322 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0322

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications