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How to Become a Programmer Analyst

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How to Become a Programmer Analyst. The title of "programmer analyst" has become commonplace in many IT organizations in recent years. The role of the programmer analyst, however, is actually two-fold and involves as much systems analysis duties as it does programming. Find out whether you have what it takes to fill this demanding position by learning how to become a programmer analyst.

Expect that you will need a college degree to become a programmer analyst, preferably a bachelor's degree in computer science or management information systems. However, many people become programmer analysts with just some vocational or technical training. This is usually possible for those with relevant work experience and a strong aptitude for software engineering, computer programming and/or business applications.

Gear your education toward the market segment you hope to enter to become a programmer analyst. For instance, if you have your sights on working in a business environment, plan to specialize in business-management courses. For a job with the government or a science-related facility, plan to customize your curriculum to include applied mathematics, physics and engineering courses.

Supplement or update your preparation to become a programmer analyst with information security training. In today's climate, a programmer analyst knowledgeable in this area is in high demand.

Do not skimp on presenting previous employment or background in service-oriented fields to a potential employer, thinking that it's irrelevant to becoming a programmer analyst. Many programmer analysts start out in financial services, quality or inventory control or other non-IT areas before transferring the computer skills acquired there to the IT industry.

Participate in an internship or co-op program provided by your school if possible. This is a good way to learn the basics required to become a programmer analyst if you don't have prior experience in developing or testing software applications.

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Look into offbeat work opportunities. Many programmer analysts are able to telecommute rather than work on-site, at least some of the time. Others may work as independent contractors providing consultant services part-time. Expect to work longer hours occasionally. While the programmer analyst can expect to work a typical 40-hour work week, there may be times that evening or weekend hours will be required should an emergency arise or to meet a special project deadline. Look into ways to prevent work-related discomfort. As it's necessary to sit at a desk in front of a computer screen for hours at a time, programmer analysts may become prone to eye and neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other related conditions.