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What education do I need to get into the field of computer systems analyst?

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Matt’s Answer


Given how broad the technology field is there are many types of education you can pursue. Traditionally, a four year college degree in Computer Systems or Computer Science or Information Systems would be considered necessary.

However, given the wealth of information on the internet, it's not uncommon for employers to value self-taught skills as showcased by your experience.

As an example, if you've created and published an App (perhaps for Apple or Android), that part of your experience can make up for (and in some cases be better than) a formal education.

As a professional in the observability and monitoring space, experience as a software engineer and education on programming and systems design are important. Understanding modern software systems and architecture (like cloud computing and DevOps) are critical to the field of Systems Analyst.

All that said, in my experience, a "Systems Analyst" role can cover an extremely wide range of skills from using / developing business systems for a company to the more "technical" role of developing computer systems to run / host a software platform.

Hope that helps!

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Estelle’s Answer

Make sure you have a passion for computer science. Buy an arduino, or raspberry pi microprocessor kit and build. If you find the hardware and coding interesting then go after all the math and science courses you can in high school. Dont forget physics. You may find yourself in the cool field of quantum computing or AI. Don't stop with your 4 year college degree, I would consider a masters degree in a specialty like systems analyst that you find interesting after college.

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Robert’s Answer

To get into this field the easiest way is to get a 4 year college degree in Computer Science. If you are looking to pivot into a Business Systems Analyst role, a degree in Computer Info Systems or Management Info Systems would be helpful.

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Doug’s Answer

One way to get an idea is to go to some job sites such as https://www.indeed.com/ https://www.careerbuilder.com/ or https://www.dice.com/ and search for a job title of computer systems analyst and other related titles.

In general the traditional college 4 year degree is not necessary these days.

So you education could range from:
A certification such as CompTIA Network+
Lots of certifications
1-2 year degree
4 year degree
graduate degree(s)

However you need to be aware that you will be competing with others for a job. Those other people will have some combination of education and experience.

So in general if you don't have much education you will want some experience to put on your resume or something else to show.
Examples could be:
A mobile app that you wrote
Contributions you have made to open source projects
Volunteering or Interning

If jumping into a 4 year degree is challenging you might consider an alternative path such as this.
* Identify some companies that have entry-level jobs and provides education assistance. Some will pay part, some will fully pay for your education, particularly for online universities. Recognize that it takes quite a bit of time and motivation to get a degree part time while working but many people do it.
* Study the job requirements for those entry-level positions and the ones above it to identify what topics you need to learn and certifications that might be useful (e.g. Security+ or CISSP for cybersecurity).
* Do a bit of learning on your own. Most topics have some freely available material.
* Find some podcasts on the topic to listen to.
* Look at getting a technical certification (search for top paying certifications or entry-level IT certifications)
* Contribute to some open source projects, even if you just start with documentation.
* See if there is some way to volunteer or connect with people in that area. For example there are often meetups, free conferences or organizational meetings (e.g. a local OWASP chapter)
* Now you should have some relevant experience, even if it isn't from a job and perhaps a certification.
* Ideally try to find some people in those companies that you can reach out to. Perhaps ask for an informational interview.
* Find those open positions again. Get someone to review your resume and do practice interviews.
* Now apply, ideally through some connection you have made through one of the above activities.
* If you can get in for some interviews but don't get hired at the place you try, then try to polity ask what you could do better. Are there areas you could enhance. Then try some more.

Now you have landed the job, yay! Now start your degree program while working.
After a while you will end up with experience and a degree, all set to move into the next role.

This certainly isn't for everyone, and it isn't what I did. BUT it can provide a very inexpensive path to getting a job and education.

Doug recommends the following next steps:

Look up some job listings in your local area or somewhere you want to live and see what experience and eduction they are requesting.
Look at what related fields have lots of job listings. So instead of computer systems analyst, try network administrator, developer, cybersecurity analyst and see what the hot jobs are
Find some companies that seem interesting and look up their educational/tuition assistance benefits on their website.
Find some local or online communities where you can talk to people in those jobs