Top 5 Skills You'll Need to Succeed as a Programmer Analyst

Updated June, 2021.

Making it as a programmer analyst is about so much more than learning how to code.

This occupation demands a surprisingly broad skillset that ranges from IT mastery to creativity to communications to problem-solving to diplomacy to business savvy.

Programmer analysts are in demand because they provide essential services organizations (of every kind) need to overcome technical challenges, increase productivity, and meet the complex needs of clients and users.

So, what do you need to break into this industry? What's the profile of a successful programmer analyst, and what kinds of skills can you expect to learn in programmer analyst training?

Let's dive into the skill-spectrum you'll be looking to build in school and throughout your career.


1. Most-wanted technical skills & coding languages

Obviously, you won't get far as a programmer analyst if you don't have razor-sharp IT skills, and mastery of today's most popular coding languages. 

A quality programmer analyst diploma will focus on the skillset you need to get your foot in the door, and land your first position after college.

The curriculum should be tailored to current industry needs—the technical skills companies want most in new hires, right now.

Hundreds of job postings across multiple sites show employers are looking for programmer analysts who can:

  • develop applications within the .NET framework
  • access and manage data stored in databases
  • design and program databases using Microsoft SQL Server
  • deploy, maintain, and secure Windows-based applications
  • develop web applications
  • create mobile applications with .NET
  • utilize a range of operating systems
  • use advanced Java features
  • develop interactive client-side web pages
  • use popular coding languages, frameworks, and technologies like Java, Javascript, PHP, C#, Python, C++, SQL, and .NET


2. Communication & Teamwork

Programmer analysts don't work alone, producing and testing code in complete isolation. A key part of this job is figuring out the unique business needs of the organization you're working with, and then customizing systems and applications to fit those needs.

This involves communicating with other departments and team members, presenting your recommendations, and in many cases, training users on new programs.

You may also be responsible for helping users with any technical issues by answering questions, dealing with bugs, and following up on requests.

The bottom line? You'll need to be great at handling feedback and criticism, working closely with others, and patiently explaining highly technical concepts to non-technical people.

This is much more of a "communications" role than most students realize, when they're just starting out in programmer analyst courses.


3. Analysis & Problem-solving

Essentially, this is what you'll be doing all day at work. Programmer analysts assess client needs, research possible technical solutions, and then design and develop those systems and applications—solving problems that come up along the way.

Quality assurance is an important part of this job as well. You'll be expected to thoroughly test any software you develop or modify, and take care of any bugs, before implementation.

On an ongoing basis, programmer analysts must also evaluate existing programs, and propose functional improvements, based on new trends and best practices.

A sharp eye for detail, research skills, and effective problem-solving are essential requirements for success in this career.


4. Understanding of business challenges and goals

Programmer analysts work with IT services and consulting firms, and large companies across various industries—including financial services, healthcare, education, media, and government.

Their main goal is to help businesses and organizations run better by optimizing and customizing their computer systems and software.

So, it's very helpful when programmer analysts understand the "language" of business—so when clients talk about their communication challenges, operational structure, and growth goals, the analyst can keep up, "talk the talk", and really understand those needs.

You don't need business training to build a successful programmer analyst career, but a little savvy will go a long way when you're competing for that first job after college.

Later in your career, you may end up specializing in a particular industry or type of company—and will develop a deeper expertise in the software and systems challenges common to that field.


5. Adaptive, quick learner

If there's one thing you can count on in IT, it's change. Just think about how far computer systems have come in the last 20 years...and what this field might look like, just a decade or two from now.

Organizations are facing all kinds of system and software challenges; problems you'll be expected to adapt to and solve throughout your career. Some of the biggest trends in this field revolve around issues like:

  • cybersecurity
  • cloud computing
  • platform optimization
  • automation
  • deep learning
  • intuitive application development
  • big data

There are so many exciting areas to focus on for programmer analysts who can adapt quickly, and are open to learning new skills. Businesses and organizations need your expertise to navigate the fast-changing, increasingly complex world of IT.

Just look at the local Quebec job market. The latest research from the Government of Canada Job Bank shows strong demand for programmer analysts, in almost every corner of the province.

This occupation gets 3 out of 3 stars for demand and growth potential: the Job Bank's highest rating.

Salaries reflect this trend. As of July, 2018, the median salary for programmer analysts in Montreal is about $64, 000/year.

And at the highest end of the spectrum, programmers are making close to $95, 000/year. (Source: ESDC). There's huge potential to capitalize on demand, and do very well in this field.


Learn more about starting a programmer analyst career

Interested in an alternative to a 4-year software engineering or computer science degree? Find out if you're a good fit for a Programmer Analyst Diploma.

College diplomas in this field take about 15 months to complete, and usually include an internship to help students apply what they've learned in class, and gain real-world experience before graduation.

At Herzing, we offer free academic advising to anyone considering programmer analyst training.

We strongly recommend meeting with an advisor to learn more about the skills you'll need to succeed in class, your job options, financial aid, program structure, and admission requirements.

Chat live with an Admissions Advisor right now. Or click below to explore the training and request more information. We're here to help!

Learn More About Programmer Analyst Training at Herzing