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Systems developers build the behind-the-scenes software for a wide range of business and organisational functions.

What does a systems developer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

A systems developer is a type of software developer. They develop and implement applications and programs for the backend processing systems used in businesses and organisations. Backend processing systems are the behind-the-scenes parts of software that don’t have a user interface, except for administration purposes. They are used a lot in online banking and HR systems, for example.

Typical responsibilities of a systems developer include:

  • discussing the client’s requirements and the proposed solution with a senior developer (for developers at mid-skill level and below)
  • using development tools to write and test code to develop these solutions
  • writing documentation and operating manuals
  • testing and modifying systems to ensure that they operate reliably
  • user training and support
  • responding to feedback
  • fault finding, diagnosing and fixing bugs

Typical employers of systems developers

  • Specialist software development companies
  • Financial services firms
  • Banks
  • Technology consultancies
  • Telecommunications companies
  • Public sector organisations
  • Law firms

Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and by recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

To get into systems development you usually need a degree related to computer science or software development; however, a few graduate employers now take on graduates from different subject backgrounds if they show the right aptitude.

Apprenticeships in software development (which could open the door to a systems developer career once you have gained experience) are on the increase. To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, visit the IT and technology section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for systems developers

  • Mathematical aptitude and strong problem-solving skills
  • Programming languages such as C# and Java
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • An understanding of the latest trends and their effect on a commercial environment
  • Teamwork skills, because most projects require input from individuals in different roles
  • Self-development skills to keep up to date with fast-changing trends

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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