Systems Engineer

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What does a systems engineer do?

A systems engineer embraces a holistic view of software projects, considering both the technical and business details. Typical duties include creating software applications, maintaining operating systems, studying industry trends, weighing risks and developing project strategies. With their methodical approach, systems engineers ensure teams finish software projects on time and within budget. 

How do you become a systems engineer?
Answer Part 1

Qualified systems engineer applicants should exhibit a bachelor’s degree and three to five years of work experience.

Answer Part 2

To become systems engineers, students must complete a four-year degree in a relevant field. Computer science, information technology and engineering are areas that many aspiring systems engineers choose. However, systems engineering is a unique engineering pathway that requires additional on-the-job training. 

Recent graduates should supplement their education with three to five years of related work experience. Entry-level roles like software developer, software engineer and systems administrator are great ways to break into the field. Working in various positions enables professionals to understand how they fit into organizations as engineers. This realization becomes crucial for systems engineers, who may serve as liaisons between product and engineering teams.

What is the salary of a systems engineer?
Answer Part 1

Because of their experience and diverse skill sets, systems engineers earn an average base salary of $122,054.

Answer Part 2

According to Built In’s salary calculator, systems engineers in the U.S. receive an average base salary of $122,054. An additional cash compensation of $15,571 can boost the total compensation further to $137,625. Systems engineers continue to relate engineering projects to financial and product needs. With their roles as critical connectors, systems engineers may earn six-figure salaries up to $208K. 

What skills does a systems engineer need?
Answer Part 1

Systems engineers should possess software expertise, business acumen and strategic thinking.

Answer Part 2

Systems engineers manage the broader details of a project, so they should blend software expertise and business savvy. This role is still in charge of designing solutions, so systems engineers should still work with programming languages to create software, fix bugs and install updates. However, these professionals must also consider the risks of beginning a project and the financial limits of each project. It then pays to think like an entrepreneurial engineer, ensuring projects don’t overstretch a company’s resources. 

Combining software and business knowledge, systems engineers should then be able to apply strategic thinking to their roles. Reviewing industry trends and company finances can help systems engineers decide what types of software are relevant to customers and establish deadlines and other guidelines for engineering teams to follow. If candidates can adopt organizational skills and other key traits, they can grow into excellent systems engineers who help deliver high-quality products while meeting business demands.


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