Computer Systems Analysts

Last updated December 31, 2014

A new website for learning foreign languages is about to start up. A team of experts is ready to get to work -- from the people who create the content to the people who write the computer programs that drive the site. But before the programmers can start, a systems analyst must design the best way for customers to interact with the site. She has to decide everything from how they’ll sign up and pay to how they’ll use the site to master new vocabulary throughout the online learning process.

Computer systems analysts create technology solutions for large and small businesses and other organizations. They start by deciding what hardware and software will be needed. They then develop or adapt software to meet those needs.

Computer systems analysts create new computer systems and improve existing technology and business processes.

Did You Know?

Systems analysts who perform extensive tests on new products may be called software quality assurance (QA) analysts.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Work with managers to decide on a budget for a new system
  • Prepare a project timeline
  • Talk to users to find out what they need
  • Design a system to meet those needs
  • Write a description of the design
  • Spend many hours “debugging” (working out the kinks of) a system

It Helps To Be...

Attentive to details and to the needs of your clients but also able to consider the big picture. Systems analysts plan new computer systems from scratch and overhaul existing ones.  Either way, they must do so on time and within budget.

Make High School Count

  • Take as much advanced math as your high school offers.
  • Make the most of your science classes. They train you to think logically -- a skill that will come in handy when you need to anticipate how users will use computer systems and find the best ways for those systems to respond to users.
  • Sign up for computer science classes. If your high school doesn’t offer any, look into summer classes for precollege students at local two- or four-year colleges.
  • Sign up for business and economics classes to become familiar with the world in which computer systems are used.
  • Build great writing and speaking skills in English, speech, and drama so you'll be ready to communicate with system users.
  • Consider attending computer science summer camp.

When I worked for a university, I designed a system to help the people in finance keep track of tuition payments.” -- Julie, Computer Systems Analyst