To work as a computer systems analyst, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- have a bachelor's degree.
Education after high school
Most new computer systems analysts have at least a bachelor's degree. In the past, formal training was not important and analysts learned on the job. Now, with increasingly complex computing systems and a growing number of college-trained applicants, a bachelor's degree is the usual way to prepare.
The most common areas of study are computer science, information science, and management information systems (MIS). However, you can have a bachelor's degree in any area as long as you take computer courses.
Some people prepare through work experience. You can work your way up through computer jobs, learning new skills at each one. Eventually, you have enough knowledge to move into a systems analyst position. You can also develop advanced computer skills in other occupations and then transfer over to systems analysis. For example, an accountant may become a systems analyst who specializes in accounting systems.
You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
New analysts usually receive on-the-job training. It typically lasts up to one year. During training you work under the guidance of experienced analysts. You get more independence and responsibility as you gain knowledge and experience.
Because of the fast changing nature of this field, employers often offer training in the newest computer technologies, languages, and applications.
Some branches of the military train people to be computer systems specialists or officers. For specialists, training lasts from seven to 13 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job. Computer systems officers need a bachelor's degree to enter this military occupation. They receive most of their training on the job.