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Why Should You Become a Systems Engineer? | Choosing a Career Path


Systems engineering is an engineering field that focuses on how to design and manage complex engineering systems over their life cycles.  System engineering works to problem solve issues such as reliability, logistics, and evaluation measurements that become more complex the larger a project gets.  Systems engineering also deals with work-processes, optimization methods, and risk management.  It ensures that all likely likelihoods of a project or system are considered, and integrated into a whole.

Most Common Types of Systems Engineering and Typical Job Duties

  • Computer Systems Engineer- A computer systems engineer works with components such as infrastructure, hardware or system software, in order to ensure that they all work properly together.
  • Networking Systems Engineer- A network systems engineer creates the operating system that runs the computer system the computer systems engineer built.
  • Power Systems Engineer- A power systems engineer creates the massive power grid layouts that supply electricity throughout an area, including to the business running the computer and network systems the other engineers created.               

Work Environment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, systems engineers held around 83,300 jobs in 2012.  They typically work in research laboratories that build and test various types of computer models, high-tech manufacturing firms, or in IT support.  The industries that employed the most industrial engineers in 2012 were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 20%
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing 17%
Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing 12%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 12%
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, control instruments manufacturing 7%


What is Takes to Become a Systems Engineer

Systems engineering disciplines usually require a university degree in engineering or applied science, as systems engineering could be viewed as a step up from a traditional engineering discipline. Some colleges offer undergraduate systems engineering programs, but they are not common.  For IT systems engineering, most employers prefer to see a university degree in a computer-related discipline.

Here are a few of the most important traits needed to be successful in the field:

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills


Salary and Job Outlook

As of 2012, the median annual salary of systems engineers in the United States was $100,920. The salary breakdowns for the top 5 industries employing systems engineers are:

The systems engineering job field is expected to grow 7 percent between now and 2022.  An increase in hardware startup firms and the increase in devices with computer chips embedded in them such as household appliances, medical devices, or automobiles may lead to some job growth for computer systems engineers. Considering an exciting new career in systems engineering? Contact MAC Incorporated.  As a niche-based recruiting and staffing firm, we specialize in the placement of engineering, maintenance, and operations management professionals.  We understand the crucial role human beings play in the rate and quality of production output as well as the overall efficiency of asset utilization.

Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing $109,860
Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing $101,680
Computer systems design and related services $101,510
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing $97,970
Scientific research and development services $95,710


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