How to become Configuration Management Data Analyst
The need for Configuration Management:
It goes without any doubt that every modern organization utilizes technological infrastructure (machinery, servers, automated facilities, networks, software, etc.) to provide aid to their processes. As the Information system [computer hardware and software], infrastructure and functions get complex, organizations struggle to manage and maintain the processes required to support these systems. This is where the need for Configuration Management [CM] arises. CM is a set of methodologies, models and tools which ensure consistency in the functionality and performance of the system and process.
Configuration management is a form of IT service management (ITSM) as defined by “Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)” that ensures the configuration of system resources, computer systems, servers, and other assets are known, good and trusted.
In terms of Software Configuration Management, CM is a process which controls changes in codes and other entities in SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) and also it manages and organizes changes in the documents as well.
The key benefits of configuration management, which cannot be left ignored and are the most appealing to the businesses are as below:
- Efficiency and Reliability: CM ensures that systems are always configured to work smoothly, in turn, reducing down-time due to maintenance or breakdowns. In case a system breakdown occurs, the versioning system with which configurations/changes were made ensures timely recovery making systems more reliable.
- Organization: A well-organized configuration in place enables all key stakeholders to have accessibility to all of the implementations of the systems which remained in the past, and can better address future needs and changes to keep the system run smoothly.
- Cost reduction: The engagement of configuration management reduced the overall support cost; having detailed knowledge of all the elements of configuration eliminates the possibility of unnecessary duplication of maintenance processes.
Who performs the role of Configuration Management?
A Configuration analysts evaluate an organization’s systems and procedures and develops IT solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively, keeping in mind the time and budgetary constraints. They supervise the installation and configuration of IT systems in line with the organization's requirements. The analysts also work with the direct users of the system to identify and fix configuration issues.
A candidate for Configuration Management Data Analysts [CMDA] most commonly possesses a bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field, although not always a requirement. Some employers prefer applicants having a master's degree in business administration (MBA) while possessing skills in information technology or computer programming. The said combination is preferred as in certain organizations the analysts are involved in the business side. The master’s degree in computer science [MSC] is preferred in more technically complex jobs.
The basic and required education which is mandatory in the field of “configuration data management analyst” is as follows:
- BS in Information Systems - Majors IT Project Management
- BS in Information Technology – Majors Networking Technology
- BS in Information Technology – Majors Database Technology
To keep abreast in today’s evolving world, a person needs to continue to take certifications/upgrade technical skills throughout their careers. Technological improvements come so quickly in the computer field that continual study is necessary to remain competitive.
The two key traits of CMDA are critical thinking and problem solving as they have to identify the issues and use available information to devise and implement solutions. The above mentioned traits can be collectively termed as Analytical Skill.
Analysts need to decipher complex information from various sources and devise the best solutions. They must figure out how changes may affect the project.
CMDA works as a go-between management and the IT department and thus needs to possess the skills to keep both sides on the same page with respect to the understanding of complex matters.
To develop innovative solutions to computer problems, an ability to “think outside the box” is important.
CMDA must understand the business field it is working in. For instance, an Insurance Company may want an analyst with a thorough understanding of Finance and Risk. Having knowledge of the respective industry in which one is employed helps analysts to communicate with managers to determine the role of the information technology (IT) systems in an organization.
Salary and Career Outlook:
The major question which comes to our mind before choosing a career path is the advancement in that field and compensation packages.
As per PayScale.com the average annual wage for Configuration Management Analysts in 2019 is $59,828.
According to research, a configuration analyst having less than five years of experience can expect to earn an average annual salary of $55,700. Individuals with 5-10 years of experience can expect around $67,600 and those between 10-20 years about $66,900. (source)
According to the top companies, CMA national average salary in the United States is $82,682 per year or $40 per hour. (Source)
Many of the duties of CMDA fall under those of computer systems analyst, which is projected to grow 9% in 2016-2026 with 54,400 new job openings projected for the same period. The jobs in the healthcare industry might be especially plentiful, due to continuous growth in that area.
The global CM market magnitude is also supposed to grow from USD 1.6 billion to USD 3.3 billion by 2024, by a CAGR of 15.1% during 2019 to 2024. (Source)
With experience, a CMDA can move on to become a project manager and lead a team of analysts. The topmost ranked served by many is that of an IT director or Chief technology Officers.
For career aspirant people, the field of Configuration Management Data Analyst can prove to be a good career option, considering the skill set and technical expertise are being simultaneously developed with career progression.