How to Become a Computer Systems Designer

By CSU Global - January 4th, 2022

Person Studying Artificial Intelligence

Recently, we wrote about what makes AI and machine learning such an important field, how you can launch a career in the industry, and which jobs you could get after completing a Master’s Degree in AI and Machine Learning.

Here, we’ll explain how you can use your degree in machine learning to get one of the industry’s best jobs, the role of computer systems designer.

In this article, we’ll explain why you might want to get into computer systems design, what skills you’d need to develop before you could land a job in the industry, and what you can do to increase your chances of launching a successful career in this competitive field.

After you’ve read about how to build a successful career as a systems designer, fill out our information request form to receive additional details about our online Master’s Degree in AI and Machine Learning, which is the perfect program for anybody looking to break into the industry.

If you’re ready to get started, submit your application today.

What’s the Difference Between a Computer Systems Analyst and a Computer Systems Designer?

These may sound like similar job titles, but systems analysts and systems designers are typically responsible for very different tasks.

A computer systems analyst is primarily responsible for testing existing computer-based systems and technology solutions to determine their effectiveness and efficiency, oftentimes for the purposes of determining potential system upgrades.

The systems analyst’s primary role is to help an organization understand, change, improve, or alter its technology systems.

Computer systems designers often work in concert with systems analysts, but their primary objective is to choose the specific technology components needed to build or upgrade a computer or computer-based technological system.

To accomplish this goal, systems designers may make recommendations for specific software, hardware, telecommunications products, databases, and other information technology solutions needed to help the organization improve its business operations.

It may be helpful to think of systems analysts and systems designers as two parts of the same process, with the systems analyst documenting existing technology solutions and needs, and the designer then building the ideal system needed to satisfy the analyst’s documented technology requirements.

Is Becoming a Computer Systems Designer Really a Good Career Option?

Yes, this is an excellent job for anyone interested in computer technology, and especially for those people interested in designing, building, and improving computers and computer-based systems.

There are three excellent reasons to consider becoming a computer systems designer:

  1. Demand for computer systems designers appears to be growing. While the BLS doesn’t provide employment projections for the specific job title of “Computer Systems Designer”, it does report that the employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the average rate of growth for all occupations.
  2. Computer systems designers play an acritical role in modern businesses, especially technology and high-technology-based businesses, where they’re responsible for ensuring that the organization has the technical resources it needs to accomplish its stated business objectives.
  3. Because the work that systems designers complete is so critical to organizational success, they tend to be well-paid, with Upskilled reporting that system designers earn an average annual salary between $85,200 – $104,500.

If you want to work at the very forefront of technology, helping organizations decide how to build technology systems so they can maximize the performance of their computers and computer-based systems, then this may be the perfect job for you.

What Do Computer Systems Designers Actually Do?

Computer systems designers are responsible for choosing the software systems, hardware solutions, and other technological components needed for an organization to accomplish its long-term business objectives.

Some of the most important tasks completed by systems designers include:

  • Researching and analyzing new technology solutions, including the latest software, hardware, databases, AI solutions, and machine learning algorithms so they can suggest specific solutions based on an organization’s needs.
  • Meeting with an organization’s employees, leadership, and/or clients to create a detailed understanding of their current information systems capabilities, drawbacks, shortcomings, etc.
  • Developing a detailed information technology plan that outlines the specific components needed to upgrade an existing system, or build a new system that better meets the organization’s stated business requirements. 
  • Producing prototypes of the systems and solutions they recommend, testing them to ensure operational success, and adapting their plans for upgrading or building new systems based on tested performance.
  • Designing guidelines for programmers and engineers who will need to build the system, along with creating the implementation process, testing procedures, and other plans needed to deploy the new system or system upgrades.
  • Overseeing the creation, implementation, and final testing of any system upgrades or system deployments to ensure that everything is working properly.

As a computer systems designer, you’ll be responsible for translating an organization’s goals into technology requirements so that you can design the systems and technical solutions required to accomplish those business objectives.

In short, you need to be capable of overseeing and directing nearly all of an organization’s information technology decisions, which means you’ll play an extremely important role in determining organizational success.

What Skills & Abilities are Needed to Become a Successful Computer Systems Designer?

As you might imagine, this is a challenging job that requires a great deal of technical expertise and confidence in one’s abilities.

If you’re serious about getting a job as a computer systems designer, then you’ll want to think about developing the following skills and abilities to ensure that you’re prepared to be successful in this difficult role:

  • Technical Problem Solving Skills – Problem-solving skills will be critical to your success as a computer systems designer, as you’ll need to be capable of evaluating and understanding an organization’s technology needs, then devising solutions that deliver successful results based on those needs.
  • Excellent Knowledge of Computers & Computer Best Practices – You’ll need to keep up to date on the latest technologies, including software, hardware, and other innovations, as well as cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning solutions.
  • Advanced IT Skills – As a systems designer, you’ll need a range of advanced IT skills, including the ability to evaluate, design, and construct complex databases, telecommunications systems, networking solutions, application development, and operating systems. Being able to effectively combine and integrate various IT systems and solutions will also be critical to your success.
  • Leadership Skills – Systems designers need to be capable of making important decisions and utilizing strong leadership skills to communicate them to others and getting buy-in from fellow team members, staff, and management. As a systems designer, you’ll be in charge of directing computing technology decisions and you’ll need to be capable of convincing others that your opinion should be valued and trusted.

While you may not already have all of these skills, you can develop them by completing one of CSU Global’s Master’s Degree programs.

We offer two excellent programs designed to provide you with all of the IT, computing, and leadership skills needed to become a successful computer systems designer, including our Master’s program in AI and Machine Learning, and our Master’s program in Information Technology Management.

Both of these programs would be excellent options for anyone who wants to develop the foundational knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to become a successful computer systems designer.

Do I Really Need a Degree to Become a Computer Systems Designer?

Yes, you will probably need a degree to get hired as a computer systems designer, as this is such an important role that it could be difficult to get hired into this position without the academic credentials to prove that you know what you’re doing.

You may even need to accumulate work experience in a more junior role before you’re able to successfully land a job as a computer systems designer.

Any of the following roles would be a good fit for earning industry-relevant experience that you can use to help land a job as a computer systems designer:

  • Computer programmer
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Software developer or software engineer
  • IT business analyst

Because this is a more senior-level, advanced position, you may also have trouble getting hired for the role if you only hold a bachelor’s degree.

While completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, or Management Information Systems and Business Analytics may help build your baseline knowledge and skills required to become a systems designer, there’s a good chance that completing a relevant master’s program would significantly improve your marketability for available positions in this competitive field.

How Would an AI & Machine Learning Degree Help Prepare Me for a Career as a Computer Systems Designer?

CSU Global’s M.S. in AI and Machine Learning program is designed to train the next generation of high-technology leaders by providing them with the core knowledge needed to succeed in the complex fields of AI, machine learning, computer science, and software development.

Our program will prepare you to lead from the front by delivering detailed training on critical information technology and computing tasks, like:

  • Analyzing technologies and computer-based systems to monitor and control development projects.
  • Applying AI and machine learning principles, as well as logic, probability analysis, and related concepts to high-tech problem-solving initiatives.
  • Developing advanced technical solutions capable of satisfying complex business requirements.
  • Establishing and achieving business objectives using techniques associated with artificial intelligence reasoning and uncertainty
  • Implementing technology-based solutions that combine modern AI and machine learning principles and best practices.
  • Using best practices with applications like speech recognition, data processing, data mining, and robotic control.

This is the perfect program for anyone looking to learn how to use advanced and innovative technology solutions for solving complex business problems, which is exactly what you’ll be asked to do each day as a computer systems designer. 

What Else Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Success?

If you’re serious about getting a job as a computer systems designer, then you may need to consider completing additional education programs like industry-relevant certifications, in addition to your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Why? Because this is such a challenging, competitive job that you may need additional academic credentials to separate yourself from other applicants, and certifications can help signal that you are an absolute expert in your field.

We suggest reviewing opportunities for completing relevant industry certifications like:

  • NCEES’s Engineer in Training Certification (EIT)
  • INCOSE’s Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) Certification
  • PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

While it may require additional time and resources to complete any of these certification programs, there’s a good chance that you could find it helps make you more marketable to hiring managers looking for qualified computer systems designers.

Should I Get My Degree Online? 

Yes, whether you choose to pursue a B.S. in Information Technology, an M.S. in AI and Machine Learning, or some combination of other relevant degree programs, we certainly recommend earning your academic credentials online.

Studying online provides several excellent benefits over traditional on-campus programs, with the most compelling reason to study online being that your program will provide far more flexibility and freedom than an in-person program.

Choosing to study online with us at CSU Global will get you access to a whole series of advantages over traditional, in-classroom learning, including: 

  • No requirements to show up at set times or in physical locations.
  • Monthly class starts.
  • Accelerated courses.

All of our online programs are designed to be completed entirely online and to provide as much freedom as possible, as we developed them for busy, working professionals.

If you have existing work or family responsibilities that you’ll have to continue completing in addition to your academic pursuits, then you should certainly think about pursuing your degree online with us.

Why Should I Choose to Study with CSU Global?

Our 100% online degree programs will provide you with everything you need to launch a career in the field of computer systems design. 

While you may not be able to get that job immediately after graduation since it could require industry experience in a less challenging role, we’ll set you up for a successful lifelong career in this challenging, but lucrative industry.

All of our online programs are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, ensuring that your degree will be respected by hiring managers looking to hire information technology and computer systems experts.

Our programs are also widely respected by industry professionals, having earned several excellent rankings, including:

For our M.S. in AI & Machine Learning

For our M.S. in Information Technology Management

  • A #3 ranking for Best Online IT Degree Program by Best Value Schools.
  • A #5 ranking for Most Affordable Master’s in Network Management Online Degree Programs by Best Value Schools.

CSU Global itself is also seen as an industry leader in higher education, as we recently won several excellent awards, including:

  • A Top 20 ranking for Best Online University Programs Based on Their ROI from Forbes.
  • A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges & Schools in Colorado from Best Accredited Colleges.
  • A #1 ranking for Best Online Colleges in Colorado from Best Colleges.

Finally, we offer affordable tuition rates and a Tuition Guarantee that promises your low tuition rate won’t increase from enrollment through graduation.

To get additional details about our fully-accredited online degree programs, please give us a call at (800) 462-7845, or fill out our Information Request Form.

Ready to get started today? Apply now!

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