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Systems Analyst

What is this job like?

These workers figure out how to use computers to get things done. They tell businesses and other organizations which computers and software to buy, and they decide how to get those tools to work together.

Computer systems analysts start their work by asking people what they need their computers to do. Then, they plan a computer system that can do those tasks well. A system can include many computers working together and different types of software and tools.

After analysts understand what the system needs to do, they break down the task into small steps. They draw diagrams and charts to show how information will get into the computers, how that information will be processed, and how it will get to the people who need it. For example, analysts might decide how sales information will get into a store's computers and how the computer will add up the information in a way that makes it useful for store managers.

Analysts experiment with different computer system plans. They try various tools and steps until they find the system that is fastest, easiest, and costs less.

Next, analysts decide which computers, software, and tools to buy. They also tell computer programmers how to make any new software that is needed. They give the programmers step-by-step instructions. Some analysts help make the software, too.

The main job for some systems analysts is getting computers to work together. They connect them into a network. Analysts decide how to get information from one computer to another. Many help people get data from the Internet.

After planning a system, analysts test it to make sure it works. They check to make sure that information is processed quickly and without mistakes. They also watch to see if the system is easy to use. Often, they have to change their plans to make the systems better.

Computer systems analysts work in offices or computer labs. Some work from home. Working at the computer for a long time can give these workers eye, back, or wrist problems.

Sometimes, these workers work long hours to get a project done on time.

Analysts usually work as part of a team.

How do you get ready?

Many computer systems analysts have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems. Some analysts get college degrees in other subjects. Then, they take computer classes and get computer experience.

Some analysts also have a master's degree in business. This helps them to understand the types of computers that businesses need.

Analysts need to understand computers, math, and planning. They need to know math so that they can solve problems and figure out how much computer power different systems would use.

Logical thinking skills are also important.

Analysts need good speaking and writing skills, too, so that they can explain their systems and give good instructions.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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