According to a 2020 survey of engineering and IT students, the best companies to work for are Google, Microsoft, Apple, BMW Group, Amazon, Intel, and IBM. Given the range of engineering fields, the best company depends on an engineer’s specialty. A mechanical engineer may find General Electric (10th ranked) to be a better fit than Google or Apple. Alternatively, disciplines such as systems engineering may overlap with other fields to work in software, civil, or industrial engineering.
What Do Systems Engineers Do?
Systems engineers develop and maintain efficient systems and processes. They are responsible for systems operations and performance, testing, analysis, and reporting. Depending on the industry, systems engineers may be involved in manufacturing, scheduling, costing, and support.
Systems Engineering Specialties
Systems engineers may specialize. For example, an engineer interested in software and programming may focus on:
Automation and Robotics
Communications and Networking
As an example, systems engineers working on product development concentrate on creating and maintaining systems that eliminate inefficiencies and improve performance. They may be tasked with determining the most appropriate methodology for the design and development of complex software.
Systems Engineering Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineering fields are expected to grow by 6% in the next two years. For system engineers specializing in computer-related fields, job growth far exceeds that 6% growth of all engineering fields. The BLS projects a 22% growth in software development and a 33% growth in cybersecurity. Communications, networking, and information systems are forecast to grow between 5% and 7%.
Depending on the industry and engineering specialty, systems engineers may receive annual compensation between $84,000 and $120,000. Job location also plays a part in an engineer’s salary. For example, engineers working for Google or Apple in Silicon Valley will make more than those working in an IBM office in Des Moines, Iowa.
How to Become a Systems Engineer
A four-year degree is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position. For those wanting a job in research or higher education, a Ph.D. is required. In addition, systems engineers may need industry-specific training or certifications. As more organizations move towards a collaborative work environment, they are looking for individuals with soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.
On-the-job training is where systems engineers acquire the industry-specific training they need to do their jobs. More colleges and universities are now offering internships with affiliated industries to provide job-specific training. These affiliated programs enable engineers to gain valuable experience as they complete their formal education.
Although basic engineering principles apply across all industries, they may look different in a manufacturing environment such as General Electric than in a development environment such as Microsoft. That’s why training is vital to the success of a systems engineer. Even if an engineer decides to change industries, the basic engineering principles apply.
Completing certification programs may often substitute for training or experience. The precise certifications will depend on the company. For example, becoming a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) demonstrates an understanding of engineering principles. Receiving a certificate as a Certified Software Development Professional indicates proficiency in software development.
Systems engineers may want to be certified in the use of specific tools. For example, becoming certified in a programming language such as C or C++ lends credibility when looking for a programming position. Company-specific certifications can indicate proficiency in vendor technologies. Microsoft and Amazon offer certifications for their cloud-based products.
As more companies transform, engineers will need communications skills to work in teams. They will need time management skills, problem-solving capabilities, and a willingness to adapt to change. It’s crucial for engineers to take courses or seminars to build their soft skills.
Want to Become a Systems Engineer?
We are proud to say that Cask Government Services was voted the #1 firm to work for by Consulting Magazine for 2021. Teamwork and integrity are at the center of our company culture. We offer a variety of engaging positions for systems engineers interested in using technology to support the success of organizations such as the U.S. Navy. Browse our website for available roles and get in touch so we can talk.