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Becoming a Program Analyst

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The program analyst is the person who is required to analyze the business or for that matter the scientific tasks as well as plan and develop the software as well as hardware systems that allow the computer to complete the tasks. Program analysts are also known as systems analysts and may also work for the improvement of the computer systems that are already in use. The employment of program analysts is available in the following fields such as:

  • Businesses
  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Hospitals
Often, the consulting firms that contract for developing new computer systems may also require the services of the systems or a program analyst.

The responsibilities of the program analyst jobs take into account developing software for a new computer based inventory system that is used by a large retail store. In fact, the analyst is the person who first discusses the system and breaks them down into systematic procedures with the help of the number of aspects such as the following:


  • Cost accounting
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Sampling techniques
All of the above mentioned procedures are used by the program analysts to keep track of the stocks of the store, after which the program analyst prepares the specifications and prepares diagrams as well as the flow charts for instructing the computer programmers for programming the computer and operating the system. In fact, the job of a program analyst takes into account explaining the system to the people who will be using it. They also help in deciding what hardware and software will be required for the job.

The program analyst must have a college education although a lot of employers prefer an under graduate degree in computer science or the related subjects. A back ground in the field of accounting or business management is desired for program analyst jobs. A master's degree in the field of business management is also helpful for all who want to take up business applications. Other areas of specialization include:
  • Physical science
  • Math
  • Engineering
  • Physics
There are a lot of program analysts who have transferred into program analysis from other areas and occupations like computer programming jobs. In fact, a large number of companies are looking forward to hiring program analysts who can solve computer problems as well as write software.

Training in one or more of the computer languages is helpful for the aspirants of the program analyst jobs. For this, you can approach the computer companies, vocational schools, and colleges that offer training courses in computer science, computer programming, and data processing. Programmers generally continue training for the rest of their career as new programming technologies and languages constantly evolve.

You can land some substantial experience by getting a job with the providers of program analyst jobs. One of the best ways to gain experience is by contacting the large computer manufacturers. A lot of states have computer systems operating and if you are interested in the government program analyst jobs, you can sit for the required civil service examination. College placement offices are good for the graduates as are the newspaper classifieds.

The employment outlook for the program analysts is good, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that the career prospects are likely to be good. In 2004 alone, 487,000 people worked as program analysts and thus the opportunities are expected to grow better than average until 2014. New computer applications and sophisticated technologies are likely to increase career opportunities. Computer centers providing computers to bigger companies will also provide jobs to the program analyst.

The median annual salary for the program analyst jobs is $67,000. The Computerworld Salary survey has predicted that the median wage for a system or program analyst in 2005 was $68,000, along with added benefits in the form of the following:
  • Paid holidays and vacations
  • Sick leaves
  • Health insurance
The program analyst jobs require working for longer hours and spending time independently in the office as well as observing the systems in which they work. Other than that, the program analysts meet new people, define problems, devise solutions, and explain the new systems. Normally, they put in 40 hours per week with the evening or weekend shift some times for meeting the dead lines of a project, as well as for developing efficient procedures.
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