Systems software developers plan, design, develop and test the operating systems of electronics such as computers, cell phones and cars. They design and implement the mechanics and technicalities behind a system, and ensure electronics continue to function through maintenance and testing.
Duties and responsibilities
- Plan, design and develop operating systems according to user’s needs
- Run and test operating systems to ensure they’re functioning properly
- Fix, modify or improve existing operating systems
- Consult with customers and recommend system upgrades
- Create models and diagrams to plan and map out operating systems
- Direct software programming
- Develop documentation for building a system
- Work alongside designers, programmers and other developers
- Monitor a project’s progress to ensure it meets deadlines and requirements
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Extra hours occasionally needed
Systems software developers typically work in office-based environments or in computer laboratories. Their job mainly requires sitting by a computer most of the day, which makes professionals susceptible to eyestrain or backaches.
Developers generally work in teams with designers, programmers and other developers when planning and creating system software. They may also travel to client locations to test, modify or fix their operating systems.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in computer science
Although some employers prefer applicants with a postgraduate education, systems software developers generally require a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc) or a similar degree in a related field such as software engineering. Employers also prefer applicants who have participated in a software development internship at a software company. This is generally achieved while in college.
Aspiring systems software developers should prove adequate computer programming skills and stay current with new tools and programming languages throughout their careers. These professionals should also develop skills and knowledge for the industry they work in so that they can understand how to handle their particular systems and software.
Systems software developers generally advance to becoming IT project managers. With the right skills, knowledge and education, they can even change career direction and focus on developing computer applications, instead.