Systems Engineering

Systems engineering is a type of engineering that incorporates several different disciplines such as project management, industrial engineering and organizational studies. It focuses on complex projects and how they should be managed from inception to completion. Many issues occur as projects become more complex. Coordination, logistics and machinery control become more difficult. Because of this, systems engineers formalize processes, find new ways to simplify processes and research new opportunities.

Systems engineering is crucial to the success of highly technical projects. The skills and highly specialized knowledge of systems engineers are needed to meet goals, perform scheduling tasks, keep projects under budget, coordinate with other departments and oversee the efforts of multiple groups. They are called upon to be familiar with all aspects of systems engineering, such as design, analysis, testing, production and operation.

Systems engineering encourages the use of methods and tools to manage systems issues. These tools include system modeling, simulation, dynamics, optimization, decision making, reliability, systems and statistical analysis. These methods are incorporated into the design process to help proactively detect issues and system failures. The systems engineer has to carefully weigh ideas and decisions early on, as these can become issues later on in the process. Therefore, each process must be thoroughly understood.

Systems engineering is still a relatively new field, so it may be difficult to find many schools that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in systems engineering. It is possible to study systems engineering online, so if you like the idea of a flexible schedule and being able to complete your studies at your own pace, then you may want to consider an online program. Whether you learn in a traditional environment or online, you can expect to take courses in systems management, software systems engineering, enterprise systems engineering, conceptual design, integration, testing, evaluation and architecting. Some schools also offer concentrations in several types of systems engineering, such as project management, biomedical, information assurance, modeling and simulation, human and software.

Systems engineering knowledge is in high demand. Systems engineers are rapidly becoming one of the hottest jobs in the country. This is because they are no longer limited to industries such as defense and aerospace. They are needed in many types of industries to oversee complex projects. Almost all systems engineering jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering. However, a master's degree may be required for many jobs. In addition, certification may also be required, especially if working with the public.

Systems engineering has many benefits as a career, including high pay, job growth and advancement opportunities. Those fresh out of college can expect to earn around $57,000 annually. The average salary is around $87,000, with top performers easily earning six figures. Job opportunities are expected to grow by 45 percent by 2016. Because systems engineering involves creating new projects, such as infrastructures that will often make a difference to society, many systems engineers report receiving a lot of personal satisfaction from their job. Plus, it involves creativity, which many employees enjoy.

However, as with all jobs, there are drawbacks. Because projects have to be completed on time, there are strict deadlines. This means that long hours are common in order to meet these deadlines. This leads to a very stressful career. Systems engineering is best for those who can handle stress well and work hard to meet deadlines.

Last Updated: 06/08/2014

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