You can become a programmer analyst by earning a college degree in a field such as computer science or business information technology. These areas of study are typically broad based and will allow you to select an emphasis in software analysis. You will generally need a good foundation in writing source code to spot areas for improvement in existing specialty software programs. A business background will generally help if you have a goal to become a programmer analyst for a large company. Once you have finished your undergraduate degree, work experience through an internship will often help you secure an entry-level job position as a programmer analyst.
The primary job role of an information technology (IT) programmer analyst is to examine the needs of a specific business that can be addressed with the use of a software program or set of programs. Many companies use technology to keep track of large volumes of information such as employee records, inventory, invoices, and sales reports. Much of this data can be stored in off-the-shelf database software, although many business owners find that using this kind of standard software can be cumbersome and inefficient. Skilled and knowledgeable programmer analysts can determine the architecture and details of a customized program that would streamline this type of regular data management. Qualities that will help with your goal to become a programmer analyst include critical thinking, good communication skills, and creative problem solving.
A four-year college degree is frequently considered a requirement for you to become a programmer analyst. You may also be able to find entry-level programmer analyst jobs that require only a two-year technical degree. Either option will involve courses in programming languages, software architecture, and information security. If you plan to become a programmer analyst in a specialized industry such as engineering or environmental science, you may also need to take related classes in these subjects.
Internships and volunteer field work are often considered valuable experiences for your programmer analyst career. This area of your training will allow you to work alongside experienced IT analysts and learn the various job duties from start to finish. An internship will normally give you the chance to help with planning and designing a custom computer system. It will also afford you the opportunity to work with a team of programmers and to practice installing, configuring, and updating required software components. A good internship can also be a source of contacts for future IT programmer analyst jobs.