How to Become a Systems Analyst

Essential Education, Skills, and Job Interview Prep

Systems analysis requires an understanding of both business processes and information technology. If you want to become a systems analyst, you need to learn the right skills and knowledge.

This comprehensive guide is your first step to learn more about becoming a systems analyst. Read below for more about education, jobs, essential skills, and more.

What Is a Systems Analyst?

A computer systems analyst improves business systems by analyzing information technology structures. This position is similar to business analysis, but systems analysis has a focus on IT. As a systems analyst, you will be dealing with IT systems already in place to check if they are still compatible with the current business needs.

Aside from keeping track of IT trends, you need to maintain good communication with system users. The information and ideas that you can gather from the users will help you address any system issues and improvements.

Systems Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average systems analyst salary is $93,730 per year. It also reports that the job outlook for systems analysis is projected to grow by seven percent in the next 10 years. It is one of the fastest-growing career paths in IT.

Businesses are starting to upgrade their technology, so they need more IT experts. This means IT jobs are being created. Some of the top industries that hire system analysts are oil and gas, computer manufacturing, research, and cable programming. Since there is more demand, salary is expected to be more competitive.


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Entry-Level Systems Analyst Job Requirements

The average systems analyst entry-level salary is $59,833, according to ZipRecruiter. It also says that New York, California, and Arkansas tend to give higher entry-level pay for systems analysts.

To be a systems analyst in the United States, you need to get a degree in information technology or computer science. You need to know how to code with programming languages such as SQL. You should also have problem-solving skills to resolve issues, create strategies, and formulate new processes.

How to Ace Your Systems Analyst Job Interview

The best way to ace your systems analyst job interview is to demonstrate your IT knowledge and experience. Specifically, you need to be able to show that you have the right skills to handle the job. Below are some systems analyst job interview questions to consider before you walk into the interview room.

Common Systems Analyst Job Interview Questions

  • Which of your skills will help you succeed in your role as a systems analyst?
  • Can you describe a specific systems analysis project that you worked on? How did you succeed?
  • Why did you decide to enter systems analysis?
  • How do you handle high-pressure moments on the job?
  • Can you describe a time-sensitive project? How did you work on it, and was it successful?

What Degree Should I Get to Become a Systems Analyst?

If you want a successful future as a systems analyst, you should get an undergraduate degree in information technology. A systems analyst deals a lot with IT and process improvement, so you need the right IT skills to excel in this career.

As you go through the process, you could start with either an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. If you want to extend your education even further, then you can consider a master’s degree or a PhD.

Associate Degree in Computer Science

If you want something shorter than a bachelor’s degree, you can get an Associate Degree in Computer Science. You can find topics on software development and information technology. You will learn how to fix bugs and other system issues. Since problem-solving is an important part of systems analysis, you should become familiar with different methods.

Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information System

A Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems combines business and information technology. After this four-year program, you can pursue different kinds of roles, including systems analyst. You will learn how to design and create efficient systems. A bachelor’s degree can ensure you learn everything you need to become a systems analyst.

Master’s Degree in Business Administration

Since many systems analysts work in a corporate setting, you should consider a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. This way, you will be able to transform your knowledge in IT into business strategies. You can learn about new trends in the field and diversify your education with this master’s degree. You can also get a Master’s Degree in Information Technology.

Information Systems Doctoral Degree

If you want to continue learning, you can earn a PhD and excel as a systems analyst. This program primarily deals with managing and approaching complicated systems. A PhD in Information Systems combines many topics to build reliable systems. These skills are applicable in several industries like education, health, and more.

What Does a Systems Analyst Do?

A systems analyst designs and implements systems for a company or organization. Before you enter the field, you should know the basic responsibilities of this position. Read below for the most common systems analyst duties and responsibilities.

Analyze IT Systems and Business Models

Systems analysts need to closely analyze the IT systems of an organization. This way, a systems analyst can decide if the current system in place is still working well for the business. As a systems analyst, you may also analyze business models because IT impacts the quality of service delivery.

Develop Solutions for IT and Business Needs

Problems could arise in any organization, and not all systems in place could work. Sometimes, systems themselves can cause problems. As a systems analyst, you should conduct tests regularly to make sure that the current system is effective. You may also need to connect with internal and external clients to find solutions.

Understand Software and Program Lifecycles

While there are other jobs for software development, systems analysts should also understand how some software works. As a systems analyst, you should provide advice on how to improve an existing software or program. You should also know how to troubleshoot software or program in case there is an urgent need for it.

Essential Systems Analyst Skills

Being a systems analyst requires that you have both IT and business skills. Since you might also deal with clients, you should also have good communication skills. Below are some more skills that you should have as a systems analyst.

Systems Administration

The system analyst oversees the security of the system. If you have a background in cyber security, then you will have no problem setting up defenses for the organization. You will also need to troubleshoot systems if there is an issue and upgrade and install new systems if necessary.

Programming with SQL

Database management is an integral component of a systems analysis. You need to be well-versed in SQL because it is the primary program used to manage databases. You could create your own system to compartmentalize data and information. You can learn a programming language like Python to help you use SQL.

Business and Systems Analysis

It is imperative that you are familiar with both business analysis and systems analysis. You need to be able to combine many different sets of knowledge to solve problems successfully. This is also useful for creating projects for your company and strengthening security systems.

How to Become a Systems
Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

Aside from getting your degree in IT or computer science, there are a lot of things that can help you become a better systems analyst. If you want to become a well-rounded analyst, follow the steps below.


Get a Degree

Whether it is an associate or a bachelor’s degree, you should get a strong education to become a successful systems analyst. A degree helps you acquire the basic and foundational skills that you need to excel in the job. Since the job requirements for a systems analyst position are technical, you need formal training.


Join a Bootcamp Program

Several coding bootcamps provide training on tech skills like programming and software development. In a span of a few weeks or months, you could have the necessary skills you need to land a tech career job. If you want to try learning IT skills without breaking the bank, a bootcamp can help.


Study Coding or Programming

You can learn coding and programming through bootcamps and online courses. In particular, a systems analyst should know how to use SQL. You can find an SQL bootcamp or even a free course to introduce you to the subject. Most programs offer other programming skills as well, but SQL is a common topic.


Gain Work Experience via Internships

Aside from classroom sessions or lectures, you should get as much work experience as possible. An internship is a perfect way to do this, especially if you are a student. You can experience hands-on training to gain insights on how to deal with issues in the field. You also might be able to network and get a more permanent systems analyst job.


Immerse Yourself In Personal Projects

If you have the time and resources, you should definitely try working on personal projects. This way, you can learn how to strategize better with new, unique experiences. If you want to get a great job in systems analysis, you should have a portfolio. It can help show employers your skills and abilities.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Systems Analyst?

It can take one to four years to become a systems analyst. If you choose a degree, it can take two to four years and you can get a job right after graduation. You can also try a bootcamp to get the same training in less than a year. However, you might need extra work experience.

You don’t need a certification to become a systems analyst, so you don’t have to prepare for a board exam. If you do feel that enrolling in a certification program would put you in an advantageous position, then you should try and get one.

Should You Become a Systems Analyst in 2021?

Yes, you should become a systems analyst in 2021. This field has a good job outlook. Our world just continues to get more digital, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. This means there are more IT job opportunities than ever. More and more organizations need to hire systems analysts.

With more universities and bootcamps offering online classes, you can take courses to acquire more skills. The salary for a systems analyst is competitive, even for entry-level positions. Systems analyst is one of the best jobs you can get in IT.

Systems Analyst FAQ

Do I need a formal education or training to become a systems analyst?

Yes, you need to have formal education or training to become a systems analyst. You can do this through a university or bootcamp to get IT and business skills.

Aside from IT skills, what other skills should I have as a system analyst?

Aside from IT skills, you also need to have knowledge of business management, programming, and communication. In a systems analyst job, you might deal with clients or propose solutions to a board, so you need to be versatile.

Do I need to learn all programming languages to become a systems analyst?

No, you only need to master one or two programming languages. This will vary, but most systems analyst jobs require that you know how to use SQL. You can learn programming languages like Python and JavaScript to help you.

Is there a certification program to become a systems analyst?

Certification is not required to become a systems analyst. There is no board exam as well. However, you can take extra classes that provide certificates so that you can prove your skills to the hiring team.

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