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Become A System Design Engineer

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Working As A System Design Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $93,233

    Average Salary

What Does A System Design Engineer Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

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How To Become A System Design Engineer

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

Education

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.

Advancement

Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.

Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.

Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.

Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.

Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.

Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

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System Design Engineer jobs

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System Design Engineer Career Paths

System Design Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Program Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Systems Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Radio Frequency Engineer Systems Engineer Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Senior Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Software Development Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer Director Of Software Development
Vice President, Software Development
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Technical Manager Technical Director
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Firmware Engineer 3.3 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Systems Designer 3.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.1%
Engineer 4.2%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.5%
Engineer 3.7%

System Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.8%

Female

10.2%

Unknown

4.0%
Ethnicity

White

69.3%

Asian

16.4%

Hispanic or Latino

9.0%

Unknown

4.4%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

18.2%

French

12.7%

Carrier

9.1%

Mandarin

7.3%

German

7.3%

Russian

5.5%

Chinese

5.5%

Arabic

5.5%

Vietnamese

3.6%

Gujarati

3.6%

Cantonese

3.6%

Persian

3.6%

Hindi

1.8%

Bosnian

1.8%

Norwegian

1.8%

Bengali

1.8%

Croatian

1.8%

Serbian

1.8%

Italian

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%
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System Design Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.5%

San Jose State University

8.0%

University of Texas at Austin

7.0%

Purdue University

7.0%

Arizona State University

6.0%

University of Florida

5.5%

Wichita State University

5.0%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.5%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.5%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.5%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.0%

George Washington University

4.0%

Santa Clara University

4.0%

Stanford University

4.0%

University of Washington

4.0%

Northeastern University

4.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.5%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

31.5%

Mechanical Engineering

16.8%

Business

8.8%

Computer Engineering

6.5%

Computer Science

5.4%

Engineering

4.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.8%

Aerospace Engineering

2.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.2%

Project Management

2.1%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Computer Information Systems

2.0%

Information Technology

1.9%

Management

1.8%

Physics

1.6%

Finance

1.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.4%

Computer Networking

1.4%

Systems Engineering

1.2%

Computer Applications

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.3%

Masters

32.9%

Other

13.7%

Doctorate

5.0%

Associate

4.0%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real System Design Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Systems Design/Architecture Engineer, SR. Staff 2 Samsung Research America, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 05, 2015 $188,000
Iphone and Mac System Design Engineer Manager Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 26, 2016 $184,222 -
$233,900
Systems Design/Architecture Engineer, Senior Staff Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 08, 2016 $170,000
Systems Design/Architecture Engineer, Staff Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 10, 2016 $170,000
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 14, 2016 $157,477 -
$191,000
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 04, 2016 $155,000 -
$168,200
Engineer V Systems Design Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 11, 2015 $153,889 -
$195,000
Systems Design Engineer (Senior Wireless Systems Architect) Bose Corporation Framingham, MA Mar 22, 2016 $150,000
Staff Systems Design Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Jan 05, 2015 $150,000
Staff Systems Design Engineer Xilinx, Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 12, 2016 $150,000
Staff Systems Design Engineer Xilinx, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 11, 2015 $150,000
Systems Design Engineer 4 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 25, 2016 $150,000 -
$170,000
Hardware Systems Design Engineer (Electrical Engin Psikick, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Apr 15, 2016 $150,000
Staff Systems Design Engineer Sandisk Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 18, 2016 $150,000 -
$170,000
System Design/Architecture Engineer Samsung Research America, Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 30, 2016 $119,350
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 14, 2016 $119,350 -
$151,300
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Mar 06, 2016 $119,350 -
$168,200
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 27, 2016 $119,350 -
$168,200
Systems Design Engineer Ip.Access, Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 21, 2015 $119,167
Senior Systems Design Engineer Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA May 12, 2016 $119,126 -
$135,000
Radio Frequency Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 13, 2015 $118,538 -
$123,538
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 30, 2015 $118,450 -
$161,700
System Design Engineer-Facts ABB Inc. Raleigh, NC Sep 03, 2016 $99,445 -
$103,900
Systems Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 30, 2015 $99,000 -
$145,400
System Design Engineer ESG Automotive, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Mar 14, 2016 $99,000
Systems Design Engineer 3 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 25, 2015 $98,900 -
$148,400
Systems Design Engineer 3 Apple Inc. Jersey City, NJ Mar 28, 2016 $98,363 -
$115,000
Systems Design Engineer Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA May 11, 2015 $98,000 -
$110,611
Systems Design Engineer Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Dec 16, 2016 $97,562 -
$127,562
System Design Engineer Philips Electronics North America Corporation Andover, MA Aug 09, 2016 $97,000

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Top Skills for A System Design Engineer

HardwareSystemDesignProductsControlSystemsArchitectureAutocadVideoCADSafetyDatabaseProjectManagementCatiaV5FacilityAnalogWindowsPLCPCBRFAudioSystemIntegration

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Top System Design Engineer Skills

  1. Hardware
  2. System Design
  3. Products
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluate preliminary engineering and customer requirements to design hardware and software applications.
  • Collaborate system design team to research emerging technologies and develop new capabilities.
  • Analyzed new technologies as well as competitor's products and submitted recommendations to the engineering team.
  • Designed, commissioned and started up Siemens based control systems by working in a team of eight control engineers.
  • Perform a full range of upgrades to the existing and emerging architecture.

Top System Design Engineer Employers

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