CAREER GUIDE FOR COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYST

SOC Code: 15-1051

Pay Band(s): 4, 5 and 6   (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: Analyze science, engineering, business, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.

Computer Systems Analyst positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Information Technology Specialist Career Group:

Information Technology Specialist I

Information Technology Specialist II

Information Technology Specialist III

While Computer Systems Analysts within the Commonwealth are all located within the Information Technology Specialist Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Architecture and Engineering Services

Audit and Management Services

Computer Operations

Electronics

Policy Analysis and Planning

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Systems Analysts commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  2. Writing computer programs for various purposes.
  3. Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  4. Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  5. Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  6. Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  7. Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  8. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  9. Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  10. Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Knowledge

Note:The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Systems Analysts commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  2. Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  3. Principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  4. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  5. Principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Systems Analysts commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  2. Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  3. Choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  4. Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  5. Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  6. See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  7. Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  8. Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  9.  Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  10. Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Tasks

Note: The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Computer Systems Analysts.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed.

Tasks

  1. Analyze information processing or computation needs and plan and design computer systems, using techniques such as structured analysis, data modeling and information engineering.
  2. Assess the usefulness of pre-developed application packages and adapt them to a user environment.
  3. Confer with clients regarding the nature of the information processing or computation needs a computer program is to address.
  4. Define the goals of the system and devise flow charts and diagrams describing logical operational steps of programs.
  5. Determine computer software or hardware needed to set up or alter system.
  6. Develop, document and revise system design procedures, test procedures, and quality standards.
  7. Expand or modify system to serve new purposes or improve work flow.
  8. Interview or survey workers, observe job performance and/or perform the job in order to determine what information is processed and how it is processed.
  9. Provide staff and users with assistance solving computer related problems, such as malfunctions and program problems.
  10. Recommend new equipment or software packages.

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

The Computer Systems Analysts occupation has Investigative, Conventional and Realistic characteristics as described below:

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally this is not required for Computer Systems Analysts positions in state government.

Certification is a way to demonstrate a level of competence in a particular field. Some product vendors or software firms offer certification and require professionals who work with their products to be certified. Many employers regard these certifications as the industry standard.

One certifying organization for Certified Systems Professional (CSP) is the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals: http://www.iccp.org/

Certification may enhance professional growth and career progression.

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

Systems analysts solve computer problems and apply computer technology to meet the individual needs of an organization. They help an organization to realize the maximum benefit from its investment in equipment, personnel, and business processes. Systems analysts may plan and develop new computer systems or devise ways to apply existing systems' resources to additional operations. They may design new systems, including both hardware and software, or add a new software application to harness more of the computer's power. Most systems analysts work with specific types of systems—for example, business, accounting, or financial systems, or scientific and engineering systems—that vary with the kind of organization. Some systems analysts also are known as systems developers or systems architects.

For systems analyst, programmer-analyst, and database administrator positions, many employers seek applicants who have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS). MIS programs usually are part of the business school or college and differ considerably from computer science programs, emphasizing business and management-oriented course work and business computing courses.

The level of education and type of training that employers require depend on their needs. One factor affecting these needs is changes in technology. Employers often scramble to find workers capable of implementing “hot” new technologies. Those workers with formal education or experience in information security, for example, are in demand because of the growing need for their skills and services.

As technology becomes more sophisticated and complex, employers demand a higher level of skill and expertise from their employees. Individuals with an advanced degree in computer science or computer engineering or with an MBA with a concentration in information systems should enjoy highly favorable employment prospects. College graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or MIS also should enjoy favorable prospects for employment, particularly if they have supplemented their formal education with practical experience. Because employers continue to seek computer specialists who can combine strong technical skills with good interpersonal and business skills, graduates with non-computer-science degrees, but who have had courses in computer programming, systems analysis, and other information technology areas, also should continue to find jobs in these computer fields. In fact, individuals with the right experience and training can work in these computer occupations regardless of their college major or level of formal education.

The State Council of Higher Education lists many Virginia educational institutions offering programs in computer science on their web site: http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory_

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

  1. Technical and Functional Expertise
  2. Understanding the Business
  3. Achieving Results
  4. Serving the Customer
  5. Teamwork
  6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  7. Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences.

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each. Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like.

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

For example: Computer Systems Analysts

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

PAY BAND

MANAGER ROLES

4

Information Technology Specialist I

   
 

Information Technology Specialist II

   

6

Information Technology Specialist III

6

Information Technology Manager I

   

7

Information Technology Manger II

   

8

Information Technology Manager III

Sample Career Path

Information Technology Specialist I

This role provides a career track for entry-level computer systems analysts applying basic skills in the areas of Applications/Programming, Systems Engineering, Network Analysis, IT Analysis and Equipment and Applications Specialty. Requires knowledge or equivalent experience in the field.

Information Technology Specialist II

This role provides a career track for computer systems analysts applying journey to advanced skills in the areas of Applications Programming/Analysis, Network Analysis, and IT Analysis and specialist level positions in Systems Analysis.

Information Technology Specialist III

This role provides career tracks for computer systems analysts performing as expert in the areas of Applications Programming/Analysis, Network Analysis, IT Analysis. The first track is as a technical consultant. The second track has lead level responsibilities for instructing, directing, and monitoring the work of staff. These tracks can lead to supervisory responsibilities. Requires knowledge and extensive experience in computer systems analysis. Supervisory levels also require leadership experience in the function.

Information Technology Manager I

This role provides a career track for managers in the equipment and applications specialty. They require knowledge and considerable leadership experience in computer systems analysis.

Information Technology Manager II

This role provides a career track for managers in the field of Information Technology who has program direction with several units or sections. Directs, through subordinate supervisors, all program, operations, and staff in assigned area.  Requires knowledge and substantial leadership experience in computer system analysis.

Information Technology Manager III

This role provides a career track for executive director level positions in the field of Information Technology providing services to multiple state agencies in a multi-technology environment. Requires knowledge and extensive leadership experience in the functional area.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 

http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission 

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop

http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network

 http://www.vacrn.net/