How to Become a Programmer Analyst

By Robert Half on December 22, 2019 at 1:00pm

Programmer analyst is a position that requires both business and technical savvy. Because developers act as a bridge between business needs and technical builds, the demand for skilled programmers who are also adept at requirements’ analysis and client communication is continuing to grow. That growth is further fueled by user experience (UX), which has moved front and center for end users.

While new developers are not going to get their foot in the door without strong coding and programming skills, what makes developers worth their weight in gold to many organizations is often their skills on the softer side, such as excellent written and verbal communication.

Given the growing need for their services, programmer analysts occupy a unique spot in the job market. According to the 2020 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, the salary midpoint for a programmer analyst is $108,500.

You can use our Salary Calculator to adjust the programmer analyst salary range for your city.

Programmer analyst job description

How can you land a job as a programmer analyst? These are the essential qualifications:

  • Strong problem-solving and analytic abilities
  • The ability to understand applications from programming and business perspectives
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to liaise with business managers and technical teams
  • Object-oriented programming skills in common languages, including C# / C++, Java Enterprise Edition / AJAX and Microsoft .NET
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science or management information systems is often required
  • Background in UML modeling is often necessary

The job description for a programmer analyst typically includes:

  • Translating a need into a computer-based solution; programmer analysts analyze business application requirements for functional areas like finance, manufacturing, marketing or human resources
  • Writing code, testing and debugging software applications
  • Recommending system changes and enhancements, as well as modeling new applications
  • Documenting software specifications and training users

Along with core coding, what matters most are interpersonal abilities. Particularly with startups and small businesses, soft skills can make or break a candidate given the close working relationships within these organizations.

Communication is at the top of the list of desired soft skills: Good systems analysis always begins with a strong foundation in both verbal and written communication skills. This allows the developer or analyst to listen effectively and learn how to ask the right questions to ensure all of the relevant aspects of a business process are documented.

In addition, a focus in UX is also valuable, as is the ability to collaborate and problem solve. These qualities come into play during the design process, and are critical during development and during any problem analysis or debugging.

Advice to aspiring analysts: develop soft skills

Entry-level programming analysts can develop soft skills to edge out the competition. Technical abilities are non-negotiable; bringing exemplary communication and business skills to the table makes for a well-rounded, in-demand developer.

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