Depending on the organization, programmer analysts may work with specific computer systems, such as financial, scientific or engineering and tailor such systems to the needs of the employer. The work often begins by meeting with supervisors to determine company needs and then designing a system to meet those needs. Programmer analysts may also prepare cost analyses to assist management in determining the financial feasibility of a system as well as work with project managers to ensure that time lines are met.
After a computer system has been decided upon, programmer analysts may design the software programs for the new system and then translate the designs into various programming languages for the computer to follow. Programmer analysts are usually responsible for testing software to ensure there are no problems and debugging programs whenever problems arise.
As an important part of their job, programmer analysts are expected to stay abreast of new technology trends in order to incorporate any relevant applications to existing systems. They can do so by reading technology publications, joining professional organizations, attending seminars and maintaining good relationships with vendors.
While some companies hire applicants with only an associate degree, a bachelor's degree is most often the minimum education required for securing a position as a programmer analyst. Relevant work experience in the industry may make up for the lack of a 4-year degree, but a bachelor's degree in a computer-related discipline, mathematics or engineering is usually preferred.
Depending on the work environment, a bachelor's degree in a non-technical field may be adequate if a candidate also possesses technical skills. It is possible to supplement one's skill set through certification programs given by professional organizations or vendors, seminars and continuing education classes.
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