Systems developers are software professionals who specialize in creating operating systems to run computers. They also create user interfaces, which is how computer users are able to easily navigate their machines. Without the interfaces that allow you to click on icons to open computer programs, they wouldn’t be “user-friendly.” Systems developers play several roles to successfully develop systems software.
Systems developers start by understanding the needs of the people who will use the systems software so they can translate that into instructions for the computer. Users may include the general public, specific audiences such as financial professionals, children or gamers. They also develop internal systems for their employers. With so many technology applications available, some systems developers focus all of their skills solely on creating user interfaces for a targeted audience.
After understanding users’ needs, systems developers use flow charts to create instructions for programmers. Often referred to as object-oriented design, they use sophisticated software to create the flow charts that show how the system should operate. They oversee programmers who write the code to ensure the systems software is developed properly. In some cases, developers write code along with the programmers to ensure the development project is completed in a timely manner.
Systems software is tested to fix coding errors and ensure that the software and its user interfaces operate properly. The developers often work with users to make additional changes to the system to make it more user-friendly and functional. After the software is complete, systems developers document their work for security, maintenance and any future upgrades. They also create training materials and teach users how to use the software.
Explosive growth is expected for systems developers between 2010 and 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that more than 519,000 jobs will be added – about 32 percent more than 2010. Along with the fact that technology has become a critical part of almost everyone’s lives, new technology will require the skills of systems developers to create new systems software. Excellent job prospects come with a price. Systems developers constantly upgrade their skills and continuously learn new technologies throughout their careers. Those knowledgeable of the newest technologies related to the development of systems software will have the best job opportunities and the ability to command high salaries.
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