Derrick Burgess was educated at Harrington Sound Primary School, and Prospect Secondary School for Boys (also known as Cunningham's). He earned a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Lewis Hotel School in Washington, DC and pursued programmes of study at Bermuda College, the City College of Chicago, the University of Maryland, and the George Meany Labour College, Washington, DC.
He began his career as a busboy at the now-defunct Coral Island Hotel, before rising to General Manager. He rose to the level of Vice President of the Hotel and Restaurant Division, and in 1996 he became President, a position he held for ten years.
He was first elected to Parliament in a February 1998 by-election in Hamilton Parish.
He has served as Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety and Minister of Works and Engineering prior to his appointment as Deputy Premier in October 2010.
His term as Minister of Labour and Immigration saw the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007.
Mr. Burgess is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church. He is the father of three and grandfather of six.