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A network systems analyst monitors an employer's computer network actions and interactions including the Internet, intranet, local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).
What do network systems analysts do?
Because a network systems analyst is responsible for the design, implementation, maintenance and upgrade of the networks that meet an organization's telecommunications requirements, familiarity with computer hardware, systems software and applications software is essential. Network analysts are generally responsible for network security, risk assessment and disaster recovery functions. They also troubleshoot and resolve network problems.
What is the educational requirement to become a network systems analyst?
A bachelor's degree is most often required for entry-level positions although an associate degree or professional certification with extensive work experience may be acceptable to some employers. Most often, network systems analysts hold bachelor's degrees in computer science, computer engineering or electrical engineering.
Because computer technology changes so quickly, it's important for network systems analysts to keep abreast of changes in their field with continuing education coursework. It's also beneficial to pursue certifications in products commonly used in the industry such as Microsoft or Cisco.
Is this job a stepping stone to another career?
A network systems analyst's skills and knowledge may be transferable to other computer-based jobs, particularly with additional education, but many network systems analysts obtain their master's degrees and move into network and computer systems management roles or pursue consulting. Most computer-based jobs require at least a bachelor's degree and a master's degree for those who want to move into management.
What other careers are similar?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following computer-based careers that are similar to computer network analyst:
- Network and computer systems administrator
- Computer and information systems manager
- Computer programmer
- Computer systems analyst
- Database administrator
- Information security analyst
- Web developers and computer network architect
- Software developer
Other careers that are similar, but not obviously so, are management analyst, operations research analyst, actuary and electrical and electronics engineer.
What does the future hold for computer network analysts?
A substantial number of computer network analysts will be required in the health care sector as it becomes more automated. The need for consultants should also increase as small and medium sized organizations require help building, installing and maintaining telecommunications networks but cannot afford to hire full-time network analysts.
Computer network analysts are also becoming increasingly more important members of computer security teams as organizations embrace e-commerce and interact with domestic and international consumers through their computer networks. There is also an increased need for instructors who understand and can teach computer networking. Although some schools require instructors to have a master's degree, for-profit and certification schools may be more interested in practical experience in computer networking analysis.
The future is bright for computer network analysts, according to the Department of Labor, which predicts employment growth between 20 and 28 percent from 2010 to 2020.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Computer Systems Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Network and Computer Systems Administrators http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
O*Net Online, Network and Computer Systems Administrators, 2012 http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00