Systems Engineer

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What Is a Systems Engineer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Systems engineers oversee the engineering and management of software, services or products. They are responsible for considering the technical and business details of a system and aim to take a holistic view of a project. Here’s what to know about a system engineer’s salary, needed skills and how to become one.


What Is a Systems Engineer?

Systems engineers are responsible for coordinating the big picture aspects of software or services, such as schedules, cost and other issues that may arise. Systems engineers can be found in a variety of industries including software development, healthcare and manufacturing. 


What Do Systems Engineers Do?

Systems engineers’ responsibilities can vary widely depending on their industry but some common duties include creating software applications, maintaining operating systems, studying industry trends, weighing risks and developing project strategies. 

Systems Engineer Responsibilities

  • Oversee the conception, development, testing and release of software, products or services.
  • Manage and organize a project’s timeline to ensure tasks are done in the proper order. 
  • Develop and implement software changes and fixes.
  • Establish and maintain automated procedures. 
  • Manage workflows, risk assessment and optimization for projects.
  • Assess the technical features of a project to make sure engineering procedures are operating correctly.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Systems Engineer

  • Monitor and respond to help requests and bug fixes.
  • Monitor and maintain systems to ensure they are running smoothly. 
  • Coordinate with software engineers and product teams to continuously deploy fixes to issues. 

Types of Systems Engineers

Systems engineers can be found across many industries, and the type of engineering role depends on the field they are in. Systems engineer expertise can range from electrical, mechanical, chemical, biological or business processes and logistics.

Systems Engineers Within a Company

Systems engineers are typically on an engineering or product team, depending on the structure of the company. This role often involves communicating with both project managers and engineering teams to translate ideas and project goals between the two in order to develop a new system or product. 

Importance of Systems Engineer

Since systems engineers are responsible for laying the groundwork for systems and products from conception to release, they are a crucial part of a company’s product development. A successful system engineer ensures that products and services are made according to operational procedures and are continuously maintained and optimized to provide the best performance. 

What is systems engineering? | Video: MATLAB


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Systems Engineer?

Qualifications to Be a Systems Engineer

  • Ability to approach a project with a big-picture lens. 
  • Understanding of people management. 
  • Highly organized and detail oriented.
  • Strong sense for conflict resolution.
  • Strong mathematics background. 
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and systems to key stakeholders.

Systems Engineer Prerequisites

  • Systems engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. 
  • Many systems engineer roles also require a master’s degree in a specialized field such as software systems, transportation or logistics.  

Systems Engineer Hard Skills

  • Data analysis.
  • Cloud computing.
  • IT skills. 
  • Coding and programming skills.
  • Database management.
  • Risk management.

Systems Engineer Soft Skills

  • Communication and presentation skills. 
  • Troubleshooting skills.
  • Organizational skills. 
  • Time management. 

Tools and Programs Systems Engineer Use

  • Innsolate
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Cradle
  • Rational DOORS
  • Rational System Architect
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How to Become a Systems Engineer

Systems Engineer Education and Experience

Systems engineers are typically required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering or a related field. A master’s degree can help systems engineers train in a specific field or industry to further tailor their experience for the role they want to pursue. 

Systems Engineer Certificates and Courses

Systems Engineer Career Path

Many systems engineers begin their career in entry-level roles like network administrator or software engineer. After becoming a systems engineer, someone may hold a more senior position or a specialized title. Some common roles after systems engineer include systems administrator and IT director. 


Systems Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

The outlook for systems engineers is promising, with 21 percent job growth projected from 2021 to 2031. 

The full compensation package for a systems engineer] depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average systems engineer salary.


Expand Your Systems Engineer Career Opportunities

Branch out and learn coveted skills with Udemy’s online development and engineering courses.


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  • AIX offers 99.9% uptime and as compared to LINUX, AIX has proven to be  a far superior OS.

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Systems Engineer Certifications + Programs

Prepare for a major career change with Udacity’s online development and engineering certifications.

General Assembly’s Software Engineering Immersive is a transformative course designed for you to get the necessary skills for a coding role in three months. 

The Software Engineering bootcamp is led by instructors who are expert practitioners in their field, supported by career coaches that work with you since day one and enhanced by a career services team that is constantly in talks with employers about their tech hiring needs.


What you'll accomplish

As a graduate, you’ll have a portfolio of projects that show your knowledge of fundamental programming concepts, as well as experience with languages, frameworks, and libraries that employers demand. Throughout this expert-designed program, you’ll:

  • Create a front-end web application with modern JavaScript frameworks such as Angular or React.

  • Develop and deploy full-stack applications with in-demand technologies such as Ruby on Rails, Python with Django, and Express with Node.js.

  • Build secure full-stack applications by leveraging common design and architectural patterns like model–view–controller (MVC) and Representational State Transfer (REST).

  • Practice version control and collaborative software development with Git and GitHub.

  • Safely model and store data in SQL and NoSQL databases.

  • Consume and integrate third-party application programming interfaces (APIs) in an application.


Why General Assembly

Since 2011, General Assembly has graduated more than 40,000 students worldwide from the full time & part time courses. During the 2020 hiring shutdown, GA's students, instructors, and career coaches never lost focus, and the KPMG-validated numbers in their Outcomes report reflect it. *For students who graduated in 2020 — the peak of the pandemic — 74.4% of those who participated in GA's full-time Career Services program landed jobs within six months of graduation.  General Assembly is proud of their grads + teams' relentless dedication and to see those numbers rising. Download the report here.


Your next step? Submit an application to talk to the General Assembly Admissions team



Note: reviews are referenced from Career Karma -

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