Updated January 2023
Figuring out if programmer analyst is a good career starts by looking closely at your own interests and priorities.
How much do you already know about this role? How much information do you have on the training requirements and job outlook for programmers?
And of course, do you have the natural strengths needed to succeed in the role?
It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. A career is "good" if it feels challenging, rewarding, and worthwhile to you. Does programmer analyst make the cut?
Here are the most important points to consider when making your decision.
what exactly does a programmer analyst do?
The main responsibility of a programmer analyst is to figure out which systems and applications a company needs, and then develop solutions to fit those needs.
They write and test code, optimize existing systems to perform better, debug programs, and provide training to end users. Your exact responsibilities will depend on where you work and the unique needs of your employer.
You could work on video games, websites, computer systems, databases, mobile applications, etc. Ultimately, your role is to help the company grow and succeed by providing custom software solutions.
Your employer could be a corporation, government IT department, software development firm, or IT consulting firm. You will likely work in a team with other developers, business analysts, designers, and IT managers.
What new skills will you have to learn?
This is a key question, because you’ll be investing a lot of time in skill development. You need to figure out if you’re actually interested in this stuff!
Some of the most important skills for programmer analysts today include:
☑️ Database programming
☑️ Object programming
☑️ Client-side web development
☑️ Server-side web development
☑️ Developing web-based and mobile applications
☑️ Testing and debugging software
☑️ Understanding business principles and goals
☑️ Analyzing and optimizing existing software
These are the skills you will learn in programmer analyst training and continue to build throughout your career.
Important: There will always be new programming frameworks and technologies to understand and master. The tech industry is constantly evolving.
You need to be comfortable with continuous learning, and love a good challenge, to truly enjoy this type of work.
Do you have the natural strengths needed for this role?
It takes a lot more than good coding skills to succeed as a programmer analyst. This role involves a variety of “soft skills” that are also considered essential for success.
These are traits and abilities you don’t necessarily learn in school, such as:
☑️ Teamwork (programmers don’t work alone)
☑️ Communication (sharing ideas and outlining concepts)
☑️ Business savvy (you need to understand business needs and goals)
☑️ Patience (especially when it comes to explaining technical concepts to non-technical people)
☑️ Problem-solving (this is what the job is really all about)
☑️ Attention to detail (inherent to programming)
☑️ Adaptive (technology is always changing)
☑️ Quick learner (to stay ahead of the curve)
How much time & money does programming training require?
It depends on whether you do a university degree or a diploma in programming. A bachelor's in computer science or software engineering is a lot more expensive and time-consuming than a programmer analyst diploma.
You can complete a diploma in under two years, and for a fraction of the cost. A diploma program will cover the fundamentals and quickly prepare you for an entry-level programming job. But it won’t cover as much as a four-year degree.
Herzing graduate Chao Zhang chose the diploma option and has this advice for new students:
"What's important to know is that the programming diploma is very condensed and intensive. You complete the entire program in just 15 months...compared to four years at university. This is not an easy task!
You move very quickly through the material and jump over some of the theory and topics. You have todo a lot of study and practice on your own.
The diploma gives you a solid foundation in programming. It helps you get your feet wet, and teaches you how to continue learning and building your skills independently.”
For Chao, the hard work paid off. After earning his programmer analyst diploma, he was hired as a full-stack software developer for a major software company in Montreal.
Which study path makes sense for you?
Is there demand for programmer analysts where you live?
This is a fairly easy question to answer, because there’s been steady demand for programmers across Canada for quite some time.
The Government of Canada Job Bank gives this occupation four or even a full five stars for demand in every single province.
Check out demand for programmers where you live at jobbank.gc.ca.
What salary can you make as a Programmer Analyst?
Because they are in demand, programmer analysts can expect to make very competitive salaries. According to Payscale, Indeed, and the Job Bank, the average salary for programmer analysts in Canada is roughly $63,000 to $84,000 per year.
At the high end, programmers in Canada are making over $122,000 per year, based on Job Bank data.
Tip: Do a search for programmer analyst jobs in your city, using a website like Indeed or Workopolis. Check out the salaries for both entry-level (junior programmer) and intermediate roles.
This will give you a good idea of how much you will make after graduation.
What’s the career outlook for programmer analysts in canada?
Demand for programmer analysts isn’t expected to die out any time soon. Given our escalating reliance on computer and software systems, experts predict long-term growth in this industry.
In fact, Randstad recently ranked developer/programmer the number 1 technology job in Canada.
Your career prospects all come down to your skillset—and your willingness to continue learning new programmer tools and technologies.
Like Chao Zhang said, it goes far beyond what you learn in the classroom. You must continuously expand and adapt your knowledge to be successful as a programmer and capitalize on all the jobs out there.
Are you up for the challenge? Does programmer analyst sound like the ideal career for you? Read on for your next step.
Getting started with programmer training
If you’re ready to learn more, we strongly suggest speaking with a qualified admissions advisor.
Their job is to guide you through programmer training, explain job options, and help you determine if you’re a good match for this career.
Do this for any school you're considering. It's the best way to find a quality program that really fits your needs.
Click below to get started. Explore the 15-month Programmer Analyst program offered at Herzing College Montreal. Chat live with an advisor or request information by email. We’re here to help!