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Become A Systems Engineer

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Working As A Systems Engineer

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

  • $91,956

    Average Salary

What Does A Systems 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 Systems 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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Systems Engineer Jobs

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Systems Engineer Career Paths

Systems Engineer
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information Technology Security
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Leader Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Project Engineer Project Engineering Manager
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Network Engineer Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Systems Analyst Systems Manager
Senior Manager-Systems
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Systems Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Engineer 3.0 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 4.4%
Engineer 4.0%
Internship 3.6%
Top Employers After
Consultant 7.4%
Engineer 4.0%
Manager 2.6%

Do you work as a Systems Engineer?

Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

81.6%

Female

15.4%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

53.3%

Asian

17.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Black or African American

10.7%

Unknown

5.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.9%

French

9.7%

German

7.9%

Carrier

6.8%

Mandarin

6.0%

Chinese

6.0%

Japanese

4.8%

Arabic

4.0%

Portuguese

3.9%

Hindi

3.8%

Italian

3.4%

Russian

2.9%

Korean

2.5%

Cantonese

2.0%

Cheyenne

1.8%

Tamil

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Turkish

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Hebrew

0.6%
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Systems Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.4%

Strayer University

6.2%

George Washington University

6.0%

George Mason University

5.8%

University of Maryland - University College

5.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.9%

Northeastern University

4.8%

Johns Hopkins University

4.1%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.1%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

University of Houston

4.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.0%

Arizona State University

3.9%

More Tech Institute

3.9%

San Jose State University

3.8%

Purdue University

3.8%

University of Southern California

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.7%
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Majors

Computer Science

18.0%

Electrical Engineering

16.6%

Business

11.4%

Computer Information Systems

7.7%

Information Technology

7.3%

Computer Engineering

5.9%

Mechanical Engineering

4.8%

Computer Networking

3.6%

Information Systems

3.1%

Management Information Systems

3.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Engineering

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Systems Engineering

2.1%

Project Management

2.1%

Finance

1.7%

Physics

1.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.4%

Computer Systems Security

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.3%

Masters

29.7%

Other

14.5%

Associate

7.4%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

2.1%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.0%
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Real Systems Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Smts-System Engineering Cellco Partnership Ashburn, VA Mar 13, 2017 $140,000
Smts-Systems Engineering (Software Systems Engineer) Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Jan 01, 2017 $135,799
Systems Engineer III Sentry Control Systems LLC Ashburn, VA Aug 09, 2016 $130,229
Smts-Systems Engineering Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Aug 25, 2018 $130,000
Smts-Systems Engineering Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 26, 2018 $130,000
Systems Engineer Radiant Logic, Inc. Ashburn, VA Aug 06, 2014 $120,000
Systems Engineer III Sentry Control Systems, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 12, 2015 $115,000
Systems Engineer Netapp, Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 01, 2015 $110,000 -
$120,000
System Engineers Chisrin Corp Ashburn, VA Mar 21, 2018 $109,359 -
$125,220
Smts-Systems Engineering (MTS) Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 30, 2017 $107,719
Systems Engineer Beyondsoa Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 07, 2017 $103,272
Systems Engineer Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 05, 2010 $102,600
Smts-System Engineering (SYS Cslt-It Quality Assurance) Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Jan 08, 2017 $100,300
Systems Engineer Amiti Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 09, 2017 $100,000
Systems Engineer Inovant, LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 28, 2013 $96,250 -
$108,800
Devops System Engineer Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
System Engineer GVA Infotech Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
System Engineer Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
Systems Engineer GVA Infotech Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
Systems Engineer III Andrew LLC Ashburn, VA Apr 16, 2011 $95,779
Systems Engineer Reverb Networks, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 05, 2011 $90,000 -
$110,000
Systems Engineer Reverb Networks, Inc. Ashburn, VA Oct 10, 2011 $90,000 -
$110,000
Systems Engineer Nrich Enterprise Solutions, LLC Ashburn, VA Nov 06, 2017 $85,280
Optical Systems Engineer Insite Partners, LLC Ashburn, VA Feb 04, 2013 $80,266
System Engineer Delviom, LLC Ashburn, VA Jul 10, 2017 $80,000
Systems Engineer Protege LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 23, 2016 $79,726
Wireless Systems Engineer Reverb Networks, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 07, 2009 $78,000
Systems Engineer Idigital Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2016 $77,000
Systems Engineer II Andrew LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2011 $76,688
Systems Engineer Spica Computers, LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 26, 2015 $69,638
MTS Specialist-System Engineer (Member of Technica Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2014 $68,701
Systems Engineer Infotech Valley, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 06, 2012 $68,000
Systems Engineer Nrich Enterprise Solutions, LLC Ashburn, VA Apr 10, 2017 $67,288 -
$72,000
MTS I-System Engineering Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 23, 2014 $65,920
MTS I-System Engineering Verizon Data Services LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 17, 2014 $65,920
Systems Engineer Value Consulting LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2010 $65,000
Systems Engineer Value Consulting LLC Ashburn, VA Jan 03, 2010 $65,000
System Engineer Value Consulting LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 18, 2009 $64,000
Systems Engineer Softhq Ashburn, VA Aug 08, 2017 $63,500
Systems Engineer E-Train Erp Inc. Ashburn, VA May 06, 2013 $63,000
Systems Engineer Business Pointers Incorporated Ashburn, VA May 06, 2013 $63,000
Systems Engineer Secure Networks Inc. Ashburn, VA Dec 21, 2009 $60,000

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Top Skills for A Systems Engineer

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  1. Windows XP
  2. Computer
  3. Infrastructure
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided Security using Group Policy on various Operating Systems such as Windows XP/7/Server 2008r2 to manage groups of computers and users.
  • Designed computerized navigation systems used for controlling marine vessel propulsion.
  • Supported development environment and infrastructure for a large Open Source parallel processing language project.
  • Developed several reports including line and pie charts using SQL Server Reporting Services and utilizing complex SQL queries and stored procedures.
  • Implemented a Relational Database Management System which led to continuous improvements in all administrative processes.

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