How to Become an Applications Analyst


If you want to become an applications analyst, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you:


• You enjoy evaluating, designing and developing computer application systems

• You have proficiency across a variety of software applications and computer systems

• You are able to identify the features, advantages and disadvantages of various software applications

• You have proficiency in multi-tiered architecture, design and implementation

• You have a degree in a computer science related field

• You enjoy have excellent customer service and communication skills


Those who work in this field are typically individuals with a natural aptitude in computers, software and applications. They are individuals who can visualize complex processes, while also having the persistence to ensure they properly map out those processes.


Applications analysts must also have exceptional communication skills, as clients and business unit managers constantly communicate needs to them, and the analyst must also communicate those needs to technical specialists.


If you want to work in this field, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to computer science or information technology management, as well as industry experience, as this is the preference of those who employ applications analysts.


To succeed as an applications analyst, you must be comfortable working in front of a computer for long hours. You must also be willing to continuously update your knowledge in the field, as it is constantly evolving.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an applications analyst. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education You Might Need

You'll likely need a university degree in Computer Science, Information Technology Management, or a related field. While some employers may accept industry experience in place of a university degree, many will not, and will prefer to hire candidates with both a university degree and industry experience.


Industry experience can be obtained while you are still a student by way of internships and work-study programs. These programs will help you hone many of the technical, mathematical and communication based skills that will help you find success.





Applications Analyst Job Description

Applications analysts are responsible for assisting businesses in operating at optimal efficiency by analyzing the computer application needs of their clients or employers, and providing them with custom software packages and applications to meet those needs. The custom applications they prepare are programmed with a variety of programming languages and that use a variety of database systems and middleware systems.


Applications analysts may prepare the custom software packages and applications themselves, which would involve coding and programming work, or they may act as a software architect, and outline the needs of the project and communicate those needs to technical specialists.


Applications analysts also typically provide technical support to the client or business unit manager. This either involves creating a fix for a problem that has been communicated to them, or passing the problem on to someone who is responsible for the actual problem area.


Most of these professionals focus on a specific type of system, such as business, accounting and financial, or scientific and engineering. They use a combination of data modeling, information engineering, mathematical model building, sampling and accounting principles to ensure efficient and comprehensive designs.



Typical Job Duties

• Confer with clients to identify their needs

• Create word processing applications and web browsers

• Run tests to ensure newly designed programs operate properly

• Prepare reports on the program and create any needed instruction manuals or help screens

• Maintain programs and create any necessary upgrades

• Adapt or de-bug existing programs

• May train clients in the use and maintenance of their new or improved programs and applications



Who Hires Them?

Application analysts may be hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by organizations that need help evaluating, designing and developing computer application systems, in order to help meet their business efficiency objectives.


Types of organizations that employ application analysts include:


• Information technology consulting firms

• Non-profit organizations

• Software development companies

• Architectural and engineering firms

• Insurance companies

• Banks and financial institutions

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Utility companies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal governments

• Colleges and universities

• Hospitals and health care organizations

• Retailers

• Self-employed (as consultants or freelancers)





Skills and Traits Needed to Be Successful

To be successful in this field, you will need to posses a certain set of technical skills, communication skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will help you make the most of your career as an application analyst by allowing you to perform your various job duties with competence, and by helping you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


Many of these skills and traits are also in demand with companies that employ applications analysts; you will see many of these skills and traits, or variations of them, listed on job postings.


Personal Characteristics


• Enjoy working independently and in a team environment

• Enjoy evaluating and testing software applications

• Enjoy continued professional development


Soft Skills


• Able to provide excellent customer and personal service

• Able to visualize complex processes

• Able to detect cause-effect relationships among seemingly unrelated factors

• Able to arrange actions in a pattern according to specific rule


Hard Skills


• Proficiency across a variety of software applications and computer systems

• Excellent working knowledge of C#, .NET, and ASP.NET based web services

• Proficiency in multi-tiered architecture, design and implementation

• Experience in designing systems that use XML, XSLT and schemas

• Web server configuration experience



Work Conditions in This Profession

Work Setting: Many applications analysts work in offices, and work directly with other team members on projects, although some may telecommute to work, working from home or another remote location.


Working Hours: Applications analysts might work a wide variety of different schedules; some work a typically 40-hour business week, or work on rotating shifts that can include evenings and weekends, while others may work part-time. Many analysts are required to put in long hours from time to time, in order to de-bug programs, or to meet tight deadlines.


Work Environment: Some duties of the job can be done alone, and some must be done as part of a team. Applications analysts must communicate frequently with managers, clients or helpdesk technicians. Their work may become stressful when complex problems need to be solved, when deadlines are approaching, or when the client is not happy with the result of the analysts’ work. 



Job Opportunities - Current Openings

Our job board below has "Application Analyst" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



How Much Do They Earn?

The income level of applications analysts can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


Salary - Canada (Alberta Figures Only): According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Database Analysts occupational group earn an average of  $85,996 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 3, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Computer Systems Analysts occupational group is $79,680 per year.



Similar Career Profiles in Our System

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to 'applications analyst', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities:


Application Architect

Computer Programmer

Information Systems Designer

IT Analyst

Software Designer




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an applications analyst.


Occupations in Alberta:Computer Engineer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Computer and Information Technology:Computer Systems Analysts.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

Career Categories:Application Systems Analyst Career and Salary Profile.” (n.d.). Florida Tech Online website. Retrieved October 22, 2019.




Scholarships for Becoming an Applications Analyst

The 'Relevant Fields of Study' section below lists fields of study relevant to this profession. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on the following pages:


Computer Engineering Scholarships

Computer Science Scholarships

Software Engineering Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an applications analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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