Skills Every Senior Programmer Analyst Should Highlight

A man looking at a computer screen.

Senior programmer analysts are in demand now -- and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects they will be in the future as well.

More good news for those in the field: According to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, compensation for this position is climbing: Skilled programmer analysts in the United States can expect to see starting salaries from $85,000 to $125,000 this year, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2015.

The senior programmer analyst position requires both business and technical savvy because professionals are asked to play a pivotal role in ensuring technical builds align with business needs. So, if you're applying for the role, keep the following tips in mind when crafting your resume:

Education and experience

While you likely have a degree and/or certification in computer science, information technology or management information systems, your resume should probably focus more on experience than education. Businesses want to hire professionals who have a background in app analysis for their particular industry.

This might require more resume customization on your end, but showing how your experience aligns with the organization's needs can help you stand apart from other candidates. Prioritize positions and responsibilities that have the most direct application to that company's needs. Be ready to make connections between your experience and the organization's requirements for hiring managers who may be looking for specific skill sets.

Technical skills

Programmer analysts should be able to demonstrate some significant technical chops. If you have expertise in common languages and frameworks such as Microsoft .NET, C# and C++, and Java Enterprise Edition/AJAX, as well as processes like testing and debugging, be sure to highlight it. Even more important, shed some light on how you've put these skills to work at other companies to solve problems and add value.

Check out these tips for debugging Microsoft .Net Framework for mobile.

Underscore your experience with documentation, monitoring or quality assurance to show potential employers that your knowledge extends beyond development. Taking this extra step is important because it helps to show how your skill set applies in a real-world business context.

Soft skills and business acumen

While technical abilities are obviously important, many employers also place a premium on senior programmer analyst candidates who have strong soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving and analytic abilities. In fact, interpersonal abilities could make or break your ability to land a job in startups and small businesses where close working relationships and frequent collaboration between colleagues are an integral part of the culture.

Find out why soft skills are essential for programmer analysts.

A senior programmer analyst is also expected to participate in strategic business development. If you have meaningful experience in or understanding of a potential employer's business or industry, make sure that stands out in your resume. Showcase both your awareness of how software development functions as part of overarching business objectives, and your ability to recommend system enhancements and changes. A senior programmer analyst is often required to document software specifications and train new users, so be sure to address those points in your application materials, too.

These are just a few strategies that can help ensure your resume catches the eye of a hiring manager. Just remember: While many organizations are finding it difficult to locate skilled candidates for this role, they are still exacting in their criteria. By creating a resume that clearly outlines your technical abilities, soft skills and business acumen, you will make it easier for a potential employer to see why you're a qualified candidate for this critical role.

Use our salary calculator to determine what senior programmer analysts are paid in your region:

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Note: This post has been updated. It originally appeared on 1/12/15.