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What does a Systems Developer do?

By Page Coleman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An information systems developer designs and programs computer applications. In some organizations, members of the development staff may also be involved in gathering system requirements, testing, and launching the applications. Regardless, the systems developer position requires expertise in technology, and industry domain knowledge is also valuable.

A job title of systems developer may refer to a number of similar positions with different specialties. The exact requirements in a systems developer job description will vary between these types, but all require a high level of technical skill, and a four-year college degree in a computer-science field is often preferred. Usually, working knowledge of specific development languages and computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools is expected. Experience in developing systems for a particular industry is often desirable, especially for a senior systems developer.

Certain industries may need systems developers who have specialized skills. Manufacturers of parts with embedded systems, which includes many parts with digital interfaces, may need an experienced embedded systems developer. An embedded system is a specialized computer program that is part of a larger machine or system. The program often operates on read-only memory (ROM). Vehicles and appliances, such as programmable coffee pots, may use embedded applications. An embedded systems developer designs and codes these applications using software, hardware, or assembly languages.

Financial organizations that execute financial transactions typically use trading systems. The term trading system can refer to a computer system that is built to execute trades based on logic programmed into the system, or it may refer to a system that the brokers use to track their trades and client information. Trading systems developers may need expertise in financial markets as well as systems development. The software languages C, C++, and VisualBasic.Net may be used, and specific trading systems software development kits (SDKs) are commercially available.

Software development companies that create video games may also look for systems developers with specialized skills. Typically, a video game software developer needs multimedia programming expertise. Smaller video game development companies may need developers who also have strong design skills and sound engineering skills.

Organizations may implement CASE tools to simplify the design and development aspects of systems developer jobs. An example of a CASE tool is the Rational Systems Developer suite. It is based on object-oriented programming (OOP) principles, and the suite promotes faster system design and development by using uniform modeling language (UML) design and code generation.

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