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How to Transition Into Software Analyst Jobs

April 15, 2022
A man standing in front of computer servers considers how to transition into software analyst jobs.

Whether you want a piece of the $2.4 trillion digital transformation and technological integration “pie” affecting all areas of business, or you just want to satisfy a long-held desire to follow your inner computing whiz, a transition to a career in computing may be within your sights.1

The good news is there are plenty of careers to choose from and a few different ways to make the switch.2,3 Read on to learn how to choose the right niche, the best ways to research the job, and how to prepare yourself for full-time software analyst, mobile computing and machine learning jobs.

Choose Your Niche

Choosing a niche is your first step because computing is a gargantuan discipline.2 Some popular choices include:

Computer Hardware Engineer: Hardware engineers design systems and program the hardware that powers them to enable people to do their jobs better.

Network Architect: Network architects connect computers, servers, and other networks, as well as incorporate cyber security tech to protect them.

Web Developer: A web developer designs apps that run on the Worldwide Web, either within a browser or through a web portal built into the app itself.

Information Security Analyst: An InfoSec analyst assesses an organization’s cybersecurity situation and the assets they need to protect, then devises a way of safeguarding them.

Data Scientist: Data scientists collect, analyze, and manage data to help organizations improve their processes and solve problems. As a data scientist, many machine learning jobs may be within your grasp.

Mobile Computing Developer: A mobile computing specialist engineers solutions that take advantage of the hardware of cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

IT Project Manager: IT project managers facilitate IT projects, organize teams and monitor and support their progress.

Software Developer: As a developer, you design software solutions that meet business challenges

Software Analyst: Analyzes a business’s current operations and then finds ways to make improvements using software.

Talk to People Who Already Have Your Dream Computing Job

The best way to get a sense of the day-to-day ups and downs, especially in an IT job, is to talk to someone who has “boots on the ground” work experience in the software analyst, mobile computing or machine learning jobs you are interested in.

Be sure to ask them questions like:

• What does a busy day look like? How about a slow day?

• What do you wish you knew before you started when you were in my position?

• How long does it take to advance in this position?

• If you could go back in time and do anything differently, what would it be?

• What’s the most important technology I need to master to excel in this position?

You want to be able to not only see yourself succeeding in the position but also get an idea of your professional roadmap over the next five years. Ask questions that help you to get answers these important topics.

Figure Out the Training and Qualifications You Need

For most mobile computing, software analyst, and machine learning jobs, it’s a good idea to learn the basic foundational facets of the technology the discipline is built on. Then you have to specialize by getting more specific training. The easiest way to do this is to choose a program in your desired niche.

For example, if you're interested in being a computer engineer you can opt for a master's degree in computer science, and this will give you the foundation and specific courses you need to help you choose which branch of data science you want to pursue.

As another example, if you’d like to focus on cybersecurity, you can choose a cybersecurity education specialization. Here, you can customize your degree, opting for an M.S. in Computer and Information Science with a cybersecurity focus. This can give you the foundational knowledge and the special skills you need to succeed.

Try It Out on Your Own

One of the beautiful things about a career in computing is you can try most careers out in the comfort of your own home. Not only does this give you practice and exposure to the discipline you’re interested in, but it’s also a great way to start building a resume.

For example, if you’re interested in being a developer, you can download free programming software, check out some tutorials, and start building apps today. Granted, whatever portfolio you develop will have more of an impact if you have a computer science degree at the top of your resume, but it’s never too early to get started.

Build a Portfolio on the Side

While any experimenting you do concerning mobile computing, software analyst, and machine learning jobs will be valuable, it’s best to choose the kind of projects you may be able to use while in the actual role. For instance, if web development has piqued your interest, you don’t want to settle for just making cool games. If gaming is your passion, choose games that can be used to boost a company’s brand image or attract new customers in a certain demographic.

You can use a hypothetical case study format to give your project structure, direction, and job marketability. Start with a business challenge, such as “XYZ Coffee, Inc. needs a machine-learning algorithm to identify the most successful flavors in a target demographic.” Next, go about writing an algorithm, perhaps using pre-made open-source tools, that accomplishes your mission. By the time you finish, you’ll have something that shows both your ingenuity and business acumen.

Get a Mentor

A mentor can be used to guide you through any phase of your professional journey, including when you’re just thinking about making the transition to being a software analyst, diving into mobile computing, one of the many exciting machine learning jobs on the market, or another IT discipline.

When you sit down with your mentor, you will want to:

• Set up a structure that respects both your time and that of your mentor.

• Talk about the goals of your mentor-mentee relationship. Do you want to just figure out the kind of job you want, land a job, choose the right degree program, or something else?

• Decide on a definitive time to conduct your mentorship arrangement, such as three months, six months, or a year, after which time the arrangement can be renewed or ended.

• Ask the mentor what they want out of the relationship. This way, there's a balance to the relationship; you have deliverables on your end as well.

Get Started in Computer and Information Science with Marquette University

If you’re ready to make the transition into challenging software analyst, mobile computing or machine learning jobs, check out Marquette University’s online Master of Science in Computer and Information Science program. As one of the top online computer and information science degrees in the country, Marquette’s CS program gives you the tools you need to flourish in your career and “be the difference.”

Marquette's 100% online M.S. in Computer and Information Science program offers four distinct program pathways built to serve everyone from beginners to experienced IT professionals. A customizable program schedule facilitates getting into cybersecurity with our world-class online M.S. specializing in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense (IACD). In addition to ACE distinction, our online M.S. program ranks #3 in student engagement for online IT degrees, #5 in best services and technologies in an online program, and #14 in overall best online IT master's degrees.4 Click here for more information.