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Detailed Guide for

Software Developers, Systems Software in Santa Clara County

May also be called: Business Systems Analysts; Computer Consultants; Programmer Analysts; Software Developers; Software Engineers; and Systems Engineers

What Would I Do?

Software Developers, Systems Software apply the principles and techniques of computer science and mathematical analysis to create, test, and evaluate the systems that enable computers to perform various applications. As technology changes, the tasks performed by Systems Software Developers evolve quickly. First, they analyze users' needs. Then they design, test, and develop software for operating systems, network control systems, and middleware to meet those needs. They develop operating systems-level software for medical, industrial, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific, and general computing applications.

Systems Software Developers coordinate the construction, maintenance, and expansion of a company's computer systems. They coordinate each department's computer needs within a company and make recommendations on technical matters. They also might set up the company's intranet system (networks that link computers within the organization). They often design and implement system security as well. Many Software Developers work for companies that configure, implement, and install complete computer systems. In addition, they often work as part of a team that designs new hardware, software, and systems. They may also oversee the work of computer programmers.

Tools and Technology

Systems Software Developers use computers, high-end servers, central processing units, integrated circuit testers, and may also use tablets or smart phones. They use a wide array of software such as database management systems, development environment, object or component-oriented development, operating systems, program testing, and Web platform development.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

TaskSkill Used in this Task
Modify existing software to correct errors, to adapt it to new hardware, or to upgrade interfaces and improve performance.Complex Problem Solving
Advise customer about or perform maintenance of software system.Oral Expression
Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan installation of a new system or modification of an existing system.Critical Thinking
Consult with engineering staff to evaluate interface between hardware and software, develop specifications and performance requirements, or resolve customer problems.Computers and Electronics
Direct software programming and development of documentation.Programming
Store, retrieve, and manipulate data for analysis of system capabilities and requirements.Operations Analysis
Confer with data processing or project managers to obtain information on limitations or capabilities for data processing projects.Oral Comprehension
Consult with customers or other departments on project status, proposals, or technical issues, such as software system design or maintenance.Written Comprehension
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET) at online.onetcenter.org

Working Conditions

Systems Software Developers work in well-lit and comfortable offices or computer laboratories. They often work in teams and regularly interact with team members and other staff, as well as customers. They frequently work more than 40 hours a week due to the project-oriented nature of their work. Systems Software Developers may work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines or solve technical problems.

Without following precautions, some may experience eye strain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Those who are employed by software vendors or consulting firms spend much of their time away from their offices, frequently traveling overnight to meet with customers. Telecommuting is becoming more common, allowing Systems Software Developers to work away from their main office or in remote locations.

Although most Systems Software Developers are not represented by unions, those working in the public sector may join the Service Employees International Union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Systems Software Developer may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve working with ideas, require an extensive amount of thinking, and searching for facts and figuring out problems. This occupation satisfies those who value achievement since it is results oriented and allows workers to use their individual abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Employers seek computer professionals with strong programming, systems analysis, interpersonal, and business skills. In addition, the ability to work with abstract concepts and do technical analysis is very important.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?


The median wage in 2021 for Software Developers, Systems Software in California was N/A annually. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html Wages do not reflect self-employment.


Systems Software Developers generally receive medical, dental, and life insurance, as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans from their employers. Some employers also offer stock options.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job opportunities for Systems Software Developers should be very good as businesses, organizations, and individuals continue to adopt new technologies and seek to maximize the efficiency of their computer systems. Competition among businesses creates an incentive for increasingly sophisticated technological innovations; therefore, more Systems Software Developers will be needed to implement these new technological changes.

Demand for Systems Software Developers is expected to increase as computer networking continues to grow. Increased use of the Internet, the rise in the number of websites, and the use of mobile technology such as the wireless Internet are driving the demand for a variety of new products that Systems Software Developers will need to create. At the same time, handheld computers create demand for new mobile software systems. As these devices become a larger part of the business and personal environment, it will be necessary to integrate current computer systems with the new, more mobile technology.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Software Developers, Systems Software is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Software Developers, Systems Software are expected to increase by 11.9 percent, or 8,300 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

In San Benito and Santa Clara Counties, the number of Software Developers, Systems Software is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Software Developers, Systems Software are expected to increase by 8.6 percent, or 2,480 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Software Developers, Systems Software
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Total Job
San Benito and Santa Clara Counties
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Employers usually prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer information systems. Degrees in engineering disciplines, such as electrical/electronic or computer engineering, are also desirable. Jobs that are more complex and require a high degree of technical knowledge may require candidates with a master's degree.


Systems Software Developers should have a broad knowledge of, and experience with, computer systems and technologies. They should be knowledgeable about current practices and different operating systems used by the industry. They must have the ability to solve problems, configure operating systems to work with all kinds of hardware, and adapt the systems to meet the needs of the organization.

Many students seeking software development jobs enhance their employment opportunities by participating in internships offered through their schools. Internships provide students with broad knowledge and valuable hands-on experience, making them attractive candidates to employers. In many firms, mentoring has become part of the evaluation process for new hires.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in this kind of work should take courses in math, computer science, engineering technology, science, and language arts. Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) are available for computer programming, computer science, information technology, computer applications, software design, and computer information systems. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site at www.carocp.org/carocps.html.

Continuing Education

Employers demand new skills as technology continually evolves and advances in the computer field. Systems Software Developers must acquire these new skills if they wish to remain in this extremely competitive, dynamic field. To help keep up with changing technology, continuing education and professional development seminars are offered by employers, software vendors, colleges and universities, and private training institutions.


Certification is generally not required to work as a Systems Software Developer; however, some product vendors or software firms require Software Developers who work with their products to be certified. In addition, voluntary certification can be obtained through professional computing associations and is a good way to demonstrate competence and gain a competitive edge. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site at www.acinet.org and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" at www.acinet.org/certifications_new/default.aspx and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/resources/training-and-apprenticeships.html

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Software Developers, Systems Software are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Computer Systems Design and Rel Services25.0%
Computers and Peripheral Equipment12.2%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing8.7%
Aerospace Product & Parts Manufacturing5.5%
Software Publishers5.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

Finding a Job

Networking is important in this occupation, since many Systems Software Developers find work through referrals. Jobs can also be found through direct application to employers, newspaper classified advertisements, online job boards, and professional organizations.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Software Developers, Systems Software.

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, use "Find Employers" on the LaborMarketInfo Web site at http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/aspdotnet/databrowsing/empMain.aspx?menuChoice=emp

Where Could This Job Lead?

A career path for Systems Software Developers might lead to supervisory or managerial positions within a firm, particularly for those who have high levels of communication and project management skills. Those with several years of experience or expertise can find lucrative opportunities working as systems designers or independent consultants.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Software Developers, Systems Software.

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification at www.bls.gov/soc/15-1133
O*NET - Occupational Information Network at online.onetcenter.org/
   Software Developers, Systems Software15-1133.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC) at online.onetcenter.org/find/descriptor/browse/Interests/#curICR
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs at nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/cip2000/
   Information Technology 110103
   Computer Programming/Programmer, General 110201
   Computer Science.110701
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs at www.ccccurriculum.info/ (California Community Colleges)
   Computer Information Systems070200
   Computer Science (transfer)070600
   Computer Software Development070700
   Computer Programming070710

The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division

Printed on Saturday, June 25, 2022