Education and Training : Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary : $75,500
Job Outlook : Excellent
Technical analysts use information technology applications to help businesses and other organizations perform more efficiently and effectively. Technical analysts help design computer systems for organizations by picking the hardware and software best suited to the organizations’ needs, maintain these resources, and adapt existing resources to the needs of the organization.
The vast majority of technical analysts work with a specific type of computer system, such as financial system computers or engineering computers. Technical analysts consult with managers to determine the information technology needs of a business, then design and build or purchase the equipment that organization needs. A technical analyst may also help write in-house programs to deal with tasks specific to a particular organization or its hardware or software.
Education and Training Requirements
Most organizations hiring technical analysts want candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area such as computer science, computer programming, or management information systems.
Many companies will also accept, and may even prefer, candidates who have degrees in business or an area relevant to their industry with a minor or a concentration in computer-related skills. These businesses may feel that these candidates have a better grasp of the needs of their particular organization.
Advanced degrees are common among senior technical analysts, and getting a master’s degree or doctorate can be very beneficial to your salary and employment prospects.
Continuing education is important to technical analysts, as computer technology is ever-evolving. Technical analysts should keep abreast of current trends and practices in information technology to keep their skills sharp and useful to their employers.
Getting the Job
Businesses typically look for technical analysts with experience in running information systems in fields relevant to their industry. For example, a bank is much more likely to hire a candidate who has experience running computer networks related to the financial services industry than they are to hire one whose work has primarily been with universities or research institutions.
Crossover does happen however, and good technical analysts should be able to make the transition between various industries fairly easily once they grasp the needs of that business and how information technology can best serve those needs.
While a bachelor’s degree is typically the entry-level degree needed to find work as a technical analyst, some companies will hire candidates with associate’s degrees or other training and allow them to work their way up. Many companies are now looking for a combination of skills, such as an MBA with an emphasis in management information systems.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Jobs for technical analysts are expected to grow much faster than the national average for all occupations. Between 2008 and 2018, the number of technical analyst jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent. The growth in jobs is attributed to the growing ubiquity of information technology in business and the need for information security. More and more businesses are making use of online applications and wireless Internet in their operations, thus fueling an explosion in the demand for technical analysts capable of helping businesses adapt new technologies. A good example is the medical profession, which is being revolutionized by new concepts such as online health records and e-prescriptions.
A significant number of technical analysts are self-employed, working on a contract basis for companies who cannot afford a full-time technical analyst.
Working Conditions and Environment
Technical analysts typically work in an office or lab setting and have regular 40-hour weeks. Emergency situations may call for technical analysts to put in more hours, or work odd hours. A technical analyst will spend long hours in front of a computer screen typing, so appropriate measures should be taken to avoid work place ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome or eye strain.
Salary and Benefits
Most technical analysts make between $45,390 and $118,440. Benefits vary from company to company, but most organizations provide their employees with health insurance and a retirement plan. Employees may also be given a company computer and other telecommunications equipment so they can work remotely.
Where to Go for More Information
Association for Computing Machinery
2 Penn Plaza, Ste. 701
New York, NY 10121
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society
2001 L St. NW, Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20036
National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies
3000 Landerholm Circle SE
Bellevue, WA 98007