What is a Systems Engineer?

A systems engineer combines knowledge of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis to understand how technology fits into the larger scheme of professional and personal needs.

If you are thinking of choosing this career, you will look at the development of computer technology, understand the underlying concepts of computers, create improvements on current processes and equipment, and integrate hardware and software programs to produce a system capable of meeting your clients’ needs.

What does a Systems Engineer do?

Systems engineering combines several different disciplines (mathematics, science, and electronics) to create a computer system that is appropriate for each client.

Two systems engineers discussing software options.

Different companies have different needs regarding their computer systems. A manufacturing company may require specialized inventory tracking abilities, invoicing, payment, and age-of-inventory capabilities. A governmental organization will have entirely different needs depending upon the services it offers.

Systems engineers provide advice to clients regarding the appropriate hardware and/or software to ensure that their computer systems meet their needs. They may also be involved in a hands-on manner during the acquisition, installation, testing, and implementation phases of the project.

They will evaluate current systems for effectiveness, make recommendations regarding the scalability of such systems, and troubleshoot any problems that arise during the use of the system.

With the growing focus of online information sharing, an individual in this occupation reviews a company’s security requirements, its use of online applications ranging from a company web page to online purchasing or personal data exchange, and recommends the security measures that will allow the company to function in a digital world without compromising its client's sensitive data.

Systems engineers also provide their clients with guidelines regarding system capabilities, user interface, security measures, and other applicable information so that the client can operate the system on a daily basis and troubleshoot minor difficulties.

Are you suited to be a systems engineer?

Systems engineers have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if systems engineer is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Systems Engineer like?

Systems engineers typically work regular office hours - Monday to Friday, with the occasional overtime to meet deadlines.

It is sometimes necessary to adapt work schedules to accommodate a client's hours of operation, using off-hours for system installation and testing, and work hours for system training.

Systems Engineers are also known as:
Computer Systems Engineer Computer System Engineer