California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Computer Systems Analysts in California

May also be called: Information Systems Consultants; Information Technology (IT) Specialists; Programmer Analysts; Quality Assurance Analysts; Systems Architects; and Systems Developers.

What Would I Do?

Computer Systems Analysts solve computer problems and apply computer technology to meet the individual needs of an organization. They help an organization realize the maximum benefit from its investment in equipment, personnel, and business processes. They use and analyze systems, interpret data, and customize systems to better meet the organization’s needs. Systems Analysts may plan and develop new computer systems or devise ways to apply an existing systems’ resources to additional operations. Most Systems Analysts work with specific types of systems, such as business, accounting, or financial; or scientific and engineering, which vary with the kind of organization.

Computer Systems Analysts use a variety of tools and technology in their work. They may use desktop, laptop, and mainframe computers as well as personal digital assistants (PDAs) or organizers. Analysts typically use an assortment of software for such things as program testing, development environment, object- or component-oriented development, configuration management, database management systems, and Web platform development.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Provide staff and users with assistance solving computer related problems, such as malfunctions and program problems.Troubleshooting
Test, maintain, and monitor computer programs and systems, including coordinating the installation of computer programs and systems.Problem Sensitivity
Use object-oriented programming languages, as well as client and server applications development processes and multimedia and Internet technology.Computers and Electronics
Confer with clients regarding the nature of the information processing or computation needs a computer program is to address.Active Listening
Coordinate and link the computer systems within an organization to increase compatibility and so information can be shared.Coordination
Consult with management to ensure agreement on system principles.Oral Expression
Expand or modify system to serve new purposes or improve work flow.Active Learning
Interview or survey workers, observe job performance or perform the job to determine what information is processed and how it is processed.Systems Evaluation
Determine computer software or hardware needed to set up or alter system.Critical Thinking
Train staff and users to work with computer systems and programs.Instructing
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Systems Analysts work about 40 hours a week; however, evening or weekend work may be necessary to meet deadlines or solve specific problems. Although Systems Analysts frequently work in teams on large projects, they sometimes work independently. Telecommuting is common for computer professionals. As networks expand, more work can be done from remote locations using modems, laptops, e-mail, and the Internet.

Like other workers who spend long periods in front of a computer, Systems Analysts should follow ergonomic procedures to avoid eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or cumulative trauma disorder.

Computer Systems Analysts working for government agencies may belong to the Service Employees International Union. There are also a number of engineering, mathematics, and scientific associations that Computer Systems Analysts may join.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Computer Systems Analyst will appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve working with ideas and that require an extensive amount of thinking. The Computer Systems Analyst occupation satisfies those with investigative interests. Investigative occupations involve searching for facts and figuring out problems. Results-oriented individuals who are independent workers and like to make their own decisions should enjoy this type of job.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2015 for Computer Systems Analysts in California was $90,730 annually, or $43.62 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$73,269$90,730$116,475
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Most employers offer benefit packages that include health, dental, and vision insurance, holidays, vacation, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Systems Analysts are expected to remain in great demand as business and government continue to adopt new computer technologies. Candidates capable of analyzing new systems, such as wireless Internet, should find the best opportunities. Workers with an information security background are in demand because of the increasing need to protect electronic information.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Computer Systems Analysts is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Computer Systems Analysts are expected to increase by 27.0 percent, or 17,500 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Computer Systems Analysts
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
64,70082,20017,50027.010,200
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 1,750 new job openings per year is expected for Computer Systems Analysts, plus an additional 1,020 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 2,770 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Computer Systems Analysts
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
1,7501,0202,770
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Educational requirements for Computer Systems Analysts vary by employer. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS) is required for many jobs, degree holders in a variety of majors find jobs as Systems Analysts. Courses in computer science or systems design offer good preparation for a job in this field. As more employers use the Internet to conduct business, they are continuously looking to hire candidates holding a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems.

Internships are a good way for students to gain valuable work experience. Having a background in the industry in which the job is located can be important. For example, jobs in scientific organizations may require a background in the physical sciences, mathematics, or engineering.

Employers usually look for workers who have broad knowledge and experience in computer systems and technologies, strong problem-solving and analytical skills, and good interpersonal skills. Systems Analysts must be able to communicate effectively with technical personnel, such as programmers, as well as with managers and clients who have no computer background. Candidates with an understanding of business and are able to apply technology to make business processes more efficient and cost-effective will be especially in demand.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in this kind of work should take classes in mathematics, computer science, language arts, business, physical science, and engineering technology.

Work Study Programs

There may be Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) related to this occupation. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

Systems Analysts must continually update their skills and knowledge due to the constantly changing technology. Employers, hardware and software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions offer continuing education. Professional seminars can also enhance skills and advancement opportunities.

Certification

Certification is not required to work as a Computer Systems Analyst; however, voluntary certification may demonstrate a level of competence in a particular field. Some vendors may offer certification and require professionals who work with their products to be certified. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Computer Science, Information Science, Management Information Systems, and Systems Analysis.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Computer Systems Analysts work in a variety of industries with a large concentration employed in the public sector. The largest industries employing Computer Systems Analysts are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Computer Systems Design and Rel Services 29.1%
State Government 10.4%
Local Government 8.1%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 4.5%
Management & Technical Consulting Svc 3.0%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Networking with associates or peers is important in this occupation, since many Systems Analysts find work through word of mouth and referrals. Direct application to employers is also an effective job search method, as well as browsing newspaper ads and Internet job postings. Those interested in civil service jobs should contact federal, State, county, and city personnel offices or visit their Web sites.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Computer Systems Analysts.

  • Computer Network Design & Systems
  • Computer Software & Services
  • Computer System Designers & Consultants
  • Government Offices
  • Insurance
  • Schools-Colleges & Universities

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

In large companies, persons who begin as Systems Analysts may be promoted to senior or lead analysts after several years of experience. Systems Analysts who show leadership ability may become project managers or advance into management positions such as information systems managers or chief information officer. Systems Analysts, with several years of experience or considerable expertise in a particular area may find lucrative opportunities as independent consultants or may choose to start their own computer consulting firms.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Computer Systems Analysts with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Computer and Information Systems ManagersGuide
Computer ProgrammersGuide
Computer Science Teachers, PostsecondaryProfile
Software Developers, ApplicationsGuide
Software Developers, Systems SoftwareGuide
Computer Support SpecialistsGuide
Management AnalystsGuide
Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects*Profile
Operations Research AnalystsProfile
StatisticiansGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification15-1121
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Computer Systems Analysts15-1121.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ICR
   Informatics Nurse Specialists15-1121.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)SIC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Computer and Information Sciences, General110101
   Information Technology 110103
   Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst 110501
   Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications 110901
   Web/Multimedia Management and Webmaster 111004
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Information Technology, General070100
   Computer Information Systems070200
   Computer Systems Analysis070730
   Computer Networking070810
   World Wide Web Administration070900