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Computer Systems Analysts - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
With experience, systems analysts may be promoted to senior or lead analyst. Those who possess leadership ability and good business skills also can become computer and information systems managers or can advance into executive positions such as chief information officer. Those with work experience and considerable expertise in a particular subject or application may find lucrative opportunities as independent consultants, or they may choose to start their own computer consulting firms.

Employment
Computer systems analysts held about 532,200 jobs in 2008. Although they are employed in many industries, 24 percent of these workers were in the computer systems design and related services industry. Computer systems analysts also were employed by governments; insurance companies; financial institutions; and business management firms. About 30,300 computer systems analysts were self-employed in 2008.

Job Outlook
Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, and job prospects should be excellent.

Job Growth
Employment of computer systems analysts is expected to grow by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for these workers will increase as organizations continue to adopt and integrate increasingly sophisticated technologies and as the need for information security grows.

As information technology becomes an increasingly important aspect of the business environment, the demand for computer networking, Internet, and intranet functions will drive demand for computer systems analysts. The increasing adoption of the wireless Internet, known as WiFi, and of personal mobile computers has created a need for new systems that can integrate these technologies into existing networks. Explosive growth in these areas is expected to fuel demand for analysts who are knowledgeable about systems development and integration. In addition, as sensitive data continues to be transmitted and stored electronically, the need for information security specialists is expected to grow rapidly. Furthermore, the healthcare industry is expected to increase its use of information technology and will demand the services of this occupation. The adoption of e-prescribing, electronic health records, and other IT platforms will drive this trend, creating a large number of new jobs.

As with other information technology jobs, employment growth may be tempered somewhat by offshoring. Firms may look to cut costs by shifting operations to foreign countries with lower prevailing wages and highly skilled workers. However, due to the high level of expertise that is required, as well as the frequent need to be near the job site, systems analysts are less likely to be offshored than other IT occupations.

Job prospects should be excellent. Job openings will occur as a result of strong job growth and from the need to replace workers who move into other occupations or who leave the labor force.

Earnings
Median annual wages of wage and salary computer systems analysts were $75,500 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $58,460 and $95,810 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $118,440.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Computer and Information Science
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