Computer systems analysts held about 538,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of computer systems analysts were as follows:
|Computer systems design and related services||24%|
|Finance and insurance||15|
|Management of companies and enterprises||10|
Computer systems analysts may work directly for an organization or as contractors, often for an information technology firm. The projects that computer systems analysts work on usually require them to collaborate with others.
Most computer systems analysts work full time.
Computer systems analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. Studying a computer science or information systems field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire job candidates who have a degree in business or liberal arts along with relevant skills.
Computer systems analysts typically need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology or a related field, such as mathematics. Because these analysts are involved in the business side of an organization, taking business courses or majoring in management information systems may be helpful. Some employers hire job candidates who have liberal arts degrees and have gained programming or technical expertise elsewhere.
Some employers prefer applicants who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. For technically complex jobs, a master’s degree in computer science may be more appropriate.
Systems analysts may take continuing education courses throughout their careers to stay abreast of new technology. Technological advances are common in the computer field, and continual study is necessary to remain competitive.
Systems analysts also must understand the industry they are working in. For example, an analyst working in a hospital may need a thorough understanding of healthcare plans and programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and an analyst working for a bank may need to understand finance. Having industry-specific knowledge helps systems analysts communicate with managers to determine the role of the information technology (IT) systems in an organization.
With experience, systems analysts may advance to become project managers and lead a team of analysts. Some eventually become IT directors or chief technology officers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.
Computer systems analysts typically have an interest in the Building, Thinking and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.
If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a computer systems analyst, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Computer systems analysts should also possess the following specific qualities:
Analytical skills. Analysts must interpret complex information from various sources and be able to decide the best way to move forward on a project. They must also be able to figure out how changes may affect the project.
Communication skills. Analysts work as a go-between with management and the IT department and must be able to explain complex issues in a way that both will understand.
Creativity. Because analysts are tasked with finding innovative solutions to computer problems, an ability to “think outside the box” is important.
The median annual wage for computer systems analysts was $99,270 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $158,010.
In May 2021, the median annual wages for computer systems analysts in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Management of companies and enterprises||$100,340|
|Computer systems design and related services||100,220|
|Finance and insurance||99,340|
Most computer systems analysts work full time.
Employment of computer systems analysts is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.
About 44,500 openings for computer systems analysts are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
As organizations across the economy continue to rely on information technology (IT), computer systems analysts will be hired to design and install new computer systems. Small firms with minimal IT requirements will find it more cost effective to contract with outside firms for these services rather than to hire computer systems analysts directly.
For more information about computer systems analysts, visit
Association for Computing Machinery
Computing Research Association
For information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit
National Center for Women & Information Technology