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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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This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

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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