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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

  • $79,726

    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
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Analyst Systems Administrator Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Consultant Director Of Information
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Manager Director Of Information
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Manager Technical Director
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Programmer 5.2 years
Customer Engineer 4.8 years
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Systems Manager 4.2 years
Network Manager 3.9 years
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Service Engineer 3.4 years
Knowledge Engineer 3.4 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Team Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Firmware Engineer 3.3 years
LAN Administrator 3.3 years
Software Engineer 3.2 years
Systems Architect 3.2 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Systems Integrator 3.2 years
LAN Engineer 3.2 years
Network Engineer 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Systems Designer 3.1 years
Systems Engineer 3.0 years
Systems Consultant 3.0 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
Technical Analyst 2.8 years
Database Engineer 2.8 years
Unix Engineer 2.8 years
Lan/Wan Engineer 2.7 years
Solutions Engineer 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Systems Tester 2.6 years
Server Engineer 2.5 years
Data Engineer 2.5 years
Network Consultant 2.4 years
Security Engineer 2.3 years
Junior Engineer 2.1 years
Server Technician 2.1 years
Citrix Engineer 2.1 years
Exchange Engineer 1.9 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Windows Engineer 1.8 years
Network Assistant 1.7 years
NOC Engineer 1.7 years
Linux Engineer 1.6 years
Migration Engineer 1.1 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 4.2%
Engineer 3.9%
Internship 3.3%
Top Employers After
Consultant 6.8%
Engineer 3.6%

Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

81.5%

Female

15.5%

Unknown

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

69.7%

Asian

17.0%

Hispanic or Latino

8.9%

Unknown

3.4%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.9%

French

9.6%

German

7.8%

Carrier

6.4%

Mandarin

5.8%

Chinese

5.7%

Japanese

4.8%

Arabic

4.1%

Portuguese

3.9%

Hindi

3.6%

Italian

3.6%

Russian

3.1%

Korean

2.4%

Cheyenne

2.0%

Cantonese

1.8%

Greek

0.8%

Turkish

0.7%

Tamil

0.7%

Dutch

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%
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Systems Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.5%

George Washington University

6.3%

Strayer University

6.2%

George Mason University

5.8%

University of Maryland - University College

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

Northeastern University

4.9%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.6%

Johns Hopkins University

4.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.1%

Purdue University

4.0%

Arizona State University

3.9%

University of Houston

3.9%

Texas A&M University

3.9%

University of Southern California

3.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.8%

San Jose State University

3.7%

More Tech Institute

3.7%

Syracuse University

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.7%

Electrical Engineering

16.8%

Business

11.7%

Computer Information Systems

7.6%

Information Technology

7.2%

Computer Engineering

5.8%

Mechanical Engineering

4.9%

Computer Networking

3.5%

Management Information Systems

3.0%

Information Systems

3.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Engineering

2.4%

Management

2.4%

Systems Engineering

2.3%

Project Management

2.1%

Finance

1.6%

Physics

1.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.4%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.4%

Masters

29.7%

Other

14.4%

Associate

7.4%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

2.2%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.0%
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Internship
Temporary

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 Business Pointers Incorporated Ashburn, VA May 06, 2013 $63,000
Systems Engineer E-Train Erp Inc. 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

WindowsServerHardwareNetworkInfrastructureTestProceduresDatabaseSQLServerActiveDirectoryBackupWebRemoteStorageLinuxDesktopUnixTroubleshootSetupTechnicalSupportDomainDNSPC

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Top Systems Engineer Skills

  1. Windows Server
  2. Hardware
  3. Network Infrastructure
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Involved in Windows Server 2003 OS installation and troubleshooting.
  • Evaluate and recommend hardware and software products
  • Work within a group of engineers supporting NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) network infrastructure.
  • Provided comments/recommendations and coordinated with subcontractors to have their qualification test procedures revised and met the established requirements.
  • Assist with overall network data cleanup and identify any discrepancies with configuration of network equipment and database.

Top Systems Engineer Employers

Systems Engineer Videos

Q&A - Salaries for Computer Jobs [How much $$$ can you make?]

Career Advice on becoming a Systems Engineer by Jessica H (Highlights)

Network Engineer: Expectations vs Reality

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