A systems analyst working on several devices analyzing data.

How to Become a Systems Analyst and Make an Impact in Information Systems

Information Systems

Successful businesses continuously search for ways to manipulate information. The ability to collect, organize, and interpret data can determine how well a company understands its operations. By processing data, businesses also can identify their strengths and areas needing improvement. How do businesses gather and process information to bring value to their organizations? They build information systems—consisting of hardware, software, and networks—that allow them to make data-driven decisions and control business functions.

Designing and improving information systems involves a process called systems analysis. The main purpose of systems analysis is to develop systems that support the essential operations of a business—everything from tracking customer orders to paying employees. Systems analysis also aims to improve the efficiency of organizational systems, eliminating waste and redundancies and capitalizing on assets and opportunities. In this way, businesses can cut costs, find opportunities for success in their markets, and, ultimately, become more competitive and profitable.  

Businesses rely on skillful professionals to create and maintain innovative information systems. Those inspired by the idea of developing systems that positively impact a company’s sustainability and growth should consider learning how to become a systems analyst. An advanced degree such as an online Master of Science in Information Systems supports graduates in achieving their professional goals in information systems and technology.

Systems Analysis in a Business Setting

Systems analysts play a central role in building and refining information systems by regularly identifying and assessing an organization’s strengths and weaknesses. This analysis helps businesses track opportunities and problems. For example, through an investigation of current business operations, systems analysts can create customer relationship management (CRM) systems that support enterprises in better handling marketing, product development, and sales. Such systems can provide companies with a more holistic understanding of individual customers and their buying patterns, allowing businesses to reach them proactively to resolve issues or present offers.

 Using a systematic approach to improving efficiency and solving problems enables businesses to better compete in rapidly changing markets. Systems analysis facilitates quicker upgrades to the most useful technologies and discontinuation of outdated methods. With systems analysis, businesses can optimize how they plan projects, handle accounts payable, and implement budgets. In addition, systems analysis helps companies identify new markets and provide important information about how to design successful new products. Increased quality control supported by systems analysis also helps businesses to avoid repeating costly errors, while lowering production costs for greater profitability.

Different elements influence how systems analysts develop information systems. They must consider user needs and problems. On the technological side, system analysis determines what is feasible technically and operationally in the current infrastructure.  In proposing upgrades, they must analyze the costs of new system developments and upgrades. Understanding the unique objectives that exist within an organization’s industry also is critical in developing information systems. Without this knowledge, systems analysts cannot tailor a system to meet an organization’s needs. Nor, can they accurately measure the full benefits potentially offered by an information system. 

How to Become a Systems Analyst

Those interested in how to become a systems analyst should consider the following steps to develop the skills and educational background to launch a successful career.

Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science

Most companies seek systems analysts with strong backgrounds in computer science or other computer-related fields. Some hire systems analysts with liberal arts degrees who demonstrate strong foundations in computer programming or information technology. As systems analysts often cross over from the technology into the business side of organizations, taking business courses can also be helpful in building a well-rounded background.

Step Two: Gain Work Experience

Systems analysts must have a solid understanding of their industries. For example, designing information systems for hospitals requires a thorough understanding of how insurance plans work and how various care-providing and administrative departments relate to one another. Maintaining information systems for banks demands familiarity with lending, investing, and the regulations that affect those business areas. Work experience allows systems analysts to build the industry knowledge needed to deliver better results for their employers.

Step Three: Earn an Advanced Degree in Information Systems

Though not all systems analysts hold master’s degrees, many employers prefer candidates with this higher level of education. A Master of Science in Information Systems deepens technical and statistical knowledge while strengthening teamwork and leadership skills.     

Systems analysts must possess core competencies to complete their work. To design, implement, and manage information systems, they need strong analytical skills. Solving problems and innovating unique ways to improve systems takes creativity. Additionally, systems analysts must know how to collaborate with users. , With user input and feedback, they develop prototypes and conduct reviews to ensure the correct alignment of needs with final specifications.

Norwich University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems program offers a comprehensive curriculum that prepares graduates to gain the skills and knowledge to succeed as systems analysts. Courses education individuals on how to manage the life cycle of developing information systems. Curriculum also focuses on how to assist others through technical problems, managing and sustaining technical infrastructures, and solving information systems problems specific to different industries.

Systems Analyst: Salary and Job Growth

Systems analysts command competitive salaries. In May 2019, their median annual salary was $90,920, with the top 10% bringing in $147,670 or more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Industry sectors where systems analysts command the highest salaries include information, computer systems design, finance, and insurance.

Employers will pay more for particular skills. Systems analysts with NET programming, business analysis, technical analysis, and project management skills often earn higher salaries, according to April 2020 PayScale data.

In addition, systems analysts with more experience earn more money. For example, systems analysts with 10 to 19 years of experience earn about 25% more than those with one to four years of experience, according to PayScale data.

Job location also plays a role in determining pay. PayScale data shows higher than average systems analyst salaries in metro areas such as New York, San Diego, Atlanta, and Houston.

The business world’s growing use of digital technology and its increasing reliance on systems analysis to improve organizational efficiency has led to strong demand for systems analysts. Jobs for systems analysts are projected to grow 9% from 2018 to 2028, and those with backgrounds in business will be especially competitive in the job market, according to the BLS.

Explore How Earning a Master of Science in Information Systems Can Lead to a Successful Career

Those driven to create innovative system designs that help organizations obtain a better view of data to gain a competitive edge can benefit from learning how to become a systems analyst. Discover how Norwich University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems can prepare graduates for successful careers as systems analysts.


Recommended Readings

Data-Driven Decision-Making for Executives and Senior Management
6 High-Paying Information Systems Careers: A Look at a Growing Field
The Executive Line of Defense: How to Become a CISO


Systems Analysis, Techopedia
Why Is Data Important for Your Business?, Grow
The Advantage of Using System Analysis & Design to Improve Business Quality, Houston Chronicle
Information System, Encyclopedia Britannica
Systems Analyst, PC Magazine
Economic Feasibility—Identifying & Forecasting Costs & Benefits, W3 Computing
Systems Analysis and Design (SAD) Tutorial, W3 Computing
Computer Systems Analysts, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average Systems Analyst Salary, PayScale

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