Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology
Average Salary: $75,500
Job Outlook: Very good
Programmer analysts or computer-systems analysts work in business, accounting, finance, and engineering industries. They consult organizational heads to discuss computing needs and requirements so they can build hardware and software around it. Programmer analysts create custom programs to suit an organization’s interest and continue to develop new programs or upgrade existing ones to ensure maximum productivity and performance.
There are two facets to their work – system analysis and programming analysis. System analysis requires the creation of a computing plan that meets the goal of the organization. This requires elements like data modeling, accounting, and model building. Once the plan has been created, programmer analysts design the plan and perform tasks like debugging, upgrading, and tweaking.
Because of their nature of work, programming analysts should be proficient in computer languages, mathematics, statistics, and information sciences.
Education and Training Requirements
Employers prefer hiring candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences or computer engineering. Those with coursework in mathematics or statistics will have better chances of getting hired. Technically challenging jobs may need those with graduate or post-graduate degrees in computer science.
Degrees in management information systems and MBA in information technology are also popular for those wanting to become programmer analysts.
Programmer analysts must stay on top of technological advancements, either by taking advanced courses or through continuous study.
Getting the Job
Employers look for programmer analysts with experience in their industry so if you are applying to a financial organization, you must have experience working on financial programs and software. Though this can be tricky for graduates with no work experience, it is recommended that they start off as programmers in the industry they wish to continue working in.
Another option is to take internship positions, which can provide you with a fair amount of work experience, which might make it possible to get programmer analyst jobs in smaller companies.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
Job prospects for programmer analysts are excellent with employment opportunities expected to grow 20% by 2018. This will happen because of an increase in the demand for incorporating sophisticated, advanced computing technologies and information security.
Programmer analysts who are knowledgeable about system development, integration, and analysis will be in demand. A lot of jobs will be available in the growing healthcare industry with the increase in adoption of new age technologies like electronic health records, online prescriptions, and additional information platforms.
Programmer analysts with 5-8 years of work experience can become senior analysts or lead analysts. Those working in business and healthcare industries can even get promoted to positions like chief information officer. Another option is to become an independent consultant or open your own programming consulting firm.
Working Conditions and Environment
Programmer analysts work in comfortable conditions, usually through their private office or in computer laboratories. Most work the traditional forty hour work week though it is not surprising to find them putting longer hours at work. This usually happens in a startup environment or technical faults. Some analysts may have to travel to vendor locations for onsite work.
Because programmer analysts spend the majority of their working time in front of the computer, posture related injuries or hand and wrist problems can occur.
Salary and Benefits
The median annual wage for programmer analysts was $75,500 in May 2008. Those with more than 8 years of work experience may earn more than $100,000 annually.
Benefits depend on the company they are working for. Typically, these include sick leave, bonuses, and paid time off.
Where to Go for More Information
Association for Computing Machinery
2 Penn Plaza, Ste. 701
New York, NY 10121
National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies
3000 Landerholm Circle SE, N211
Bellvue, WA 98007
University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195