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Systems Software Developer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Researches, designs, develops, and tests operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific, and general computing applications. Sets operational specifications and formulates and analyzes software requirements. May design embedded systems software. Applies principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.

This career is part of the Information Technology cluster Programming and Software Engineering pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Modifies existing software to correct errors, to adapt it to new hardware, or to upgrade interfaces and improve performance.
  • Develops or directs software system testing or validation procedures.
  • Directs software programming and development of documentation.
  • Consults with customers or other departments on project status, proposals, or technical issues, such as software system design or maintenance.
  • Analyzes information to determine, recommend, and plan installation of a new system or modification of an existing system.
  • Consults with engineering staff to evaluate interface between hardware and software, develop specifications and performance requirements, or resolve customer problems.
  • Designs or develops software systems, using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcome and consequences of design.
  • Prepares reports or correspondence concerning project specifications, activities, or status.
  • Confers with data processing or project managers to obtain information on limitations or capabilities for data processing projects.
  • Stores, retrieves, and manipulates data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Application Developer -- Designs, builds, tests and implements the software code that enables computer systems to perform specific tasks.
  • Automation Engineer -- Works with mechanical processes and equipment that perform programmed tasks in sectors such as manufacturing or food processing.
  • Business Systems Analyst -- Assesses or analyses a company's computer systems to check for any possible improvements or changes.
  • Embedded Systems Software Developer -- Develops the software code that enables a combination of computer hardware and software, and perhaps additional mechanical or other parts, to perform a dedicated function.
  • Network Engineer -- Designs and implements computer networks.
  • Programmer Analyst -- Develops and maintains software applications and databases.
  • Software Quality Engineer -- Inspects, tests, verifies and validates, and implements software development and maintenance processes and methods.
  • System Administrator -- Responsible for effective provisioning, installation/configuration, operation, and maintenance of systems hardware and software and related infrastructure.
  • Data Analyst Programmer --
  • Engineer, System Electronic Data Processing (Engineer, System EDP) --