Programmer analysts — also referred to as developer analysts — are responsible for designing and updating software and applications for organizations. These IT professionals must be able to look at technology from two perspectives. From the perspective of a businessperson, they must determine the technological needs of an organization. As a programmer, they work to code and debug software and applications to meet those business needs.
The duties of a programmer analyst are determined by the employer. Most often, analysts review and test business software and applications to support finance, marketing, manufacturing or human resources. They make recommendations for computer systems and software to business managers and IT personnel. From there, they code and adjust the software or applications to meet business needs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that programmer analysts earned an annual wage of $82,320, or $39.58 per hour, in 2011. But this figure isn’t exclusive to this position and includes those who work as systems analysts and systems architects. For 2012, programmer analysts earned $60,750 to $107,500 per year, according to Robert Half Technology, a global recruiting firm for IT professionals.
Programmer analysts are more likely to secure employment — let alone demand higher salaries — with certain skills. Of the most desirable, SharePoint tops the list, increasing salaries by as much as 12 percent per year. Java development, PHP development and SAP development can also lead to higher wages. With any one of these development skills, a programmer analyst can earn 8 percent more than their colleagues who lack these skills.
Employers generally want to hire analysts with bachelor’s degrees in computer science, management information systems or information science. Some companies prefer analysts with master’s degrees, but might accept equivalent work experience.
Programmer analysts can expect a 22 percent employment growth rate from 2010 to 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts. This is much faster than the growth rate for all occupations, which is estimated at 14 percent. The increased demand and subsequent job growth is largely based on organizations depending more heavily on information technology and computer applications to do business.
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.