The Strong Interest Inventory® has been used for the better part of a century to help individuals find a career that is well-suited to their interests and preferences. It assesses individuals’ preferences and interests in a wide range of areas, and codes them into six categories. It can recommend vocational, educational, and leisure activities that are aligned with those preferences. The Investigative Theme Code, which includes Computer Systems Analysts, is centered on analyzing and processing information or data about the natural world. Individuals with a proclivity for Investigative pursuits have strengths in the natural sciences or mathematics, and usually prefer work environments that allow flexible and free thinking.
Computer Systems Analysts improve computer systems by analyzing professional data processing problems in multiple different sectors, including engineering and business. They install, maintain, and monitor computer programs and systems, as well as develop and revise system design procedures. Some Computer Systems Analysts have significant interpersonal contact, including providing training to staff and users, providing customer service to resolve malfunctions, and consulting with management to ensure systems principles are consistent and accurate. Those who work on larger teams may have leadership responsibilities, including supervising other systems analysts or computer programmers. In some cases, they may confer directly with clients to ensure that individual computer programs are meeting their needs.
In addition, Computer Systems Analysts are responsible for staying up-to-date in their field by reading periodicals and technical reports to learn to develop programs that meet clients’ needs. This knowledge will help them synthesize computer systems to accommodate a given organization, and to facilitate the sharing of information. Another way of accomplishing greater efficiency is by recommending new equipment or software packages that may be better suited to a particular company or organization. This productivity can be measured in cost-benefit and return-on-investment analyses that will inform future decisions on systems implementation.
Computer Systems Analysts rely on a wide range of computing hardware, including desktop, mainframe, notebook, and hand-held computers. In addition, they use many different kinds of software, and need to quickly learn to use new software and teach others to use the same. The specific software used varies depending on the purpose of the organization. However, some examples may include: access software (e.g., Citrix), administration software (e.g., Element management software), analytical software (e.g., SAS, structure prediction software, MathWorks, MATLAB), Business intelligence and data analysis software (e.g., IBM Cognos Impromptu, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, etc.), data mining software (e.g., Google Analytics), security software (e.g., McAfee, Symantec, etc.) and many more. Furthermore, email, word processing, and spreadsheet software, like Microsoft Office Suite or Google’s equivalents are invaluable.
Most Computer Systems Analysts hold a college degree, either an Associate’s degree (41%) or a Bachelor’s degree (26%). However, 10% have also earned a post-baccalaureate certificate as well. This schooling gives them the detailed background in computers, electronics, mathematics, and engineering. Many Computer Systems Analysts, especially those who deal directly with customers or clients, need a strong proficiency in written and spoken English, as well as a personal investment in customer service. In addition, they must think critically about complex processes, and make decisions to resolve them quickly. While the job is not physically intense, Computer Systems Analysts do require acute near vision as well as finger dexterity, since they spend so much time in front of screens.
Computer Systems Analyst salary averages over $135,000 nationally, and is most lucrative in Washington, California, and up the eastern seaboard (including Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Connecticut). Even the lowest-paid Computer Systems Analysts salaries, for instance in South Dakota, are still over $50,000. The rate of employment of Computer Systems Analysts is also growing nationwide, projected to be as much as 20% before 2024. Growth is particularly fast in western states, including Utah (nearly 50%), Colorado and Arizona (both nearly 40%), and California (nearly 35%).
Below are some employment trends for Computer Systems Analysts,
- Computer Systems Analyst Salary: $39.76/hour; $82,710 annually
- Employment: 568,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2022): Much faster than average (14% or higher)
- Projected job openings (2014-2022): 191,600
Visit Our Strong Interest Inventory® Resource Page To Learn About The Investigative Theme Code
Visit Our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Career Resource Database for Information on MBTI® Personality Type Careers
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org