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What degree should I pursue to become a systems analyst?

I'm toying around with the idea of combining my accounting degree with an it degree to analyze accounting systems. Should I study information technology, computer science, or management information systems?

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Dylan’s Answer

Hi Genevieve, great question. I recently completed a master's degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) so I can provide some context behind this choice. The college I went to actually had an MIS track built into their accounting degree, so I can definitely see the two go hand in hand.

As other commenters mentioned, system analyst is a broad term that could include a variety of roles. In my opinion, the MIS degree would be great in the sense that it can be a broad degree. I learned about many different levels of information systems, and it can overlap with some basic levels of information technology and computer science. I will say that I think out of those options, MIS centers the most around business and business problems. I learned about everything down to what a bit vs. a byte is, to how routers and the internet works, to how to write database code, to what database a company should choose to use, and to what a good user interface and user experience should look like when visiting a website. In all of these scenarios, there was normally an end goal of making or saving money with the decisions made.

I think you need to decide whether you want to go down a more technical route or more of a conceptual/business route. MIS can give you a great overview of a lot of different areas within the technology and information space, but if you truly want to be a programmer or work on IT hardware, maybe the other options are a better idea. Ultimately I think MIS would be the most applicable degree to pair with accounting, as I have even heard of classes called Accounting Information Systems (AIS). I got a degree in supply chain management and wanted a deeper understanding of information, so that is why I chose MIS. A lot of my classmates came from computer science backgrounds because they wanted a business perspective on the technical skills they already had. Any of your options would be great to get a deeper level of understanding about, but I believe MIS would be the most flexible if you are not 100% sure about what you want to do with the degree and which role you ultimately want.

Dylan recommends the following next steps:

Determine if you want to be technical or conceptual
Research areas of MIS you find interesting and see if they align with your goals
Thank you comment icon Thank you Dylan for such a great answer!! Genevieve
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John’s Answer

Hi Genevieve,

This is what is from Glassdoor. I'll explain it a bit more in a sec. "Most systems analysts will be required to have a Bachelor's degree in the field of computer science, information technology, engineering, or information systems" https://www.glassdoor.com/Job-Descriptions/Systems-Analyst.htm

The challenge is "systems analyst" is kind of a generic term. It means lots of different things to lots of different people and companies. If you are still in high school, take all the computer, math and science courses you can. When you get to college make your best guess, based on what you learned in high school and your research online (like this question). While in college you can explore a few degrees to see what fits you best. Computer science, information technology, some engineering and information systems courses will share some of the same requirements. So taking a course in Java for example might work for some if not all of the degrees.

You have to figure out what you want your life to look like to figure out what you are going to study and ultimately do. If you want to be in a lab creating circuit boards that's one path. A lab creating robotic arms is another. Or you could sit in front of a computer typing out code. Or you could be building presentations that describe the solution in both technical and business terms. After which you have to get in front of a bunch of people and explain why they should give you $10 Million dollars for the project! Each of these have similar roots in electronics. But each is also very different in the end.

Think about what you'd like to do. And ask another question!

Best of luck,

-John

John recommends the following next steps:

Learn about the different types of Systems Analysts
Thank about which type you would like to explore more
Ask the next question about that type on CareerVillage.org
Keep asking questions!
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Genevieve
Thank you comment icon Any time! Looking forward to your next question! John Husband
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Monte’s Answer

My suggestion is to narrow down your desire. For example, Systems Analyst is a pretty broad term these days. Think about what specific discipline you are interested in. In Information Technology, there is Operations, Development, Security, Application Support, Cloud, Tools, Production, etc etc.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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Asish’s Answer

The best degree in my opinion is of a computers systems engineering degree or similar. Or else look for Information technology subject-based degrees. They are generally grouped under Bachelor of Engineering or Diploma of Information Technology or similar. You might need to get some kind of exam to apply to exams. I suppose some of the ones I know about are SAT or something for the technology. Happy to provide more details if needed.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer and kind offer! :) Genevieve
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PRASANJIT’s Answer

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.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! That was really helpful! Genevieve
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