A career as a computer systems analyst

Ari72

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United States
I've worked in HR consulting and real estate, and am now considering becoming a computer systems analyst. I'd love to get some feedback on what it's like and have a few questions that I'm hoping people can help me with:

1) What are your work days like: How does your time break down between different tasks? Between different kinds of activities (at a computer, on the phone, in meetings, etc)?

2) What do you like and dislike about this field?

3) What are the biggest challenges and opportunities this profession faces, if any?

4) Do you think my age (I'm in my 40's) would be a factor in starting out in this field? Do you see people my age applying for and getting (entry level) jobs?

5) What course of action (education and/or experience) would you recommend for someone of my age and background to enter this field? What education is expected or desired by employers (is a traditional degree the only / best approach)?

Thank you!
 

iFargle

Linux / HPC / K8s SME
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My title is technically "PC / Client Server Analyst II", though I'm the higher end of the payscale so my internal title is "Sr. Computer Systems Technologist I"

1. I'm on a computer pretty much the entire time I'm here. I work in the defense industry so a lot of my time is spent on security settings, auditing, etc. 2-3 hours of meetings a day, sometimes more.
2. I love working with the technical stuff. I dislike meetings. And meetings to discuss meetings.. and more meetings... :tongue: . Probably my two favorite parts are my HPC cluster and automation. I oversee a huge HPC cluster as its sole administrator, and I spent a lot of my time on DISA STIG requirements and how to automate that.
3. Challenges: Technical. I'm the lead systems admin here and am looked to for all technical answers no one else can answer. It's a blessing and a curse. I don't know everything, but it's fun learning new things.
Opportunities: pretty much the same. I get a lot of hands on on new equipment, new operating systems, new ways of doing things. I get to learn a LOT. And my company will pay for tuition / certs / etc.
4. No, not at all, though "entry level" here is pretty much helpdesk. I came into this job with a lot of Linux knowledge and experience. I also had 4 years of helpdesk behind me. I'm one of the younger guys here by a good margin. most of my co-workers are 35+
5. I'm not in a typical industry. My position required a degree and certs (DoD 8570 requirements). I can't help out much here. I do have a dozen or so certs and a 4 year degree (B.S. IT)
 

Ari72

Beta member
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3
Location
United States
Thank you for the reply, but I was referring to a different position. My apologies for not better defining the job. By computer systems analyst, I'm referring not to support but to a person who studies an organization's current computer systems and procedures and designs information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. So, with that in mind, I hope there are some people with experience in that position who can chime in...
 

iFargle

Linux / HPC / K8s SME
Staff member
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^ That is technically part of my job as well. Though here we call the people who do the company-wide planning IT infrastructure architects. I do a small component on classified networks. Generally, people in these spots work their way up through IT. They're the ones with 20, 30+ years experience, because you need that hands on to tell what works, what doesn't, best practices, etc. Our two architects have been in the industry 20+ years. Same with my last company.
 
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