Computer systems analysts leverage both their knowledge of information technology and business to design better computer systems and processes for their clients. And although these professionals have many responsibilities, their first task is to understand their client’s business, whether it’s an organization in Silicon Valley or a firm on Wall Street. And they’ll specifically want to learn how the organization uses technology. Analysts will then research the best technologies to help the organization’s overall computer system – the hardware, the software and the networks – run more efficiently and effectively.

But their job doesn’t stop at research. These professionals also employ their business acumen to prepare a cost and benefits analysis for the upgrades. And if management approves the upgrades, computer systems analysts will oversee the installation of the new systems. They also test the systems and train their organization in them. And when the inevitable hiccups arise, computer systems analysts are the ones who troubleshoot the problems. You’ll find far more extroverts in this field than in other IT jobs, since the job duties include near-constant collaboration with others.

Randy Weinberg, teaching faculty emeritus of the information systems program at Carnegie Mellon University, worked in technology since the mainframe days, when people who worked with enormous computers wore special lab coats. The advances in the field have been constant. “It never gets less exciting,” he says. “It’s a constant challenge to keep up with all of the changes.” From compliance and privacy issues to the increasing reliance on mobile technologies, the industry is persistently changing.

Many analysts work for computer systems design firms, but they’re also employed by a host of industries that range from science to health care to banking and finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8.8 percent employment growth for computer systems analysts between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 56,000 jobs should open up.

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