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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

  • $84,000

    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
Consultant Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Systems Analyst Information Systems Manager
Information Systems Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Analyst Desktop Support Analyst Service Desk Analyst
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Analyst Network Engineer Data Center Engineer
Data Center Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Analyst Information Security Analyst Information Technology Security Manager
Director Of Information Technology Security
12 Yearsyrs
Engineer Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior System Administrator Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Senior Programmer Analyst Application Manager
System Integration Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Operations Manager
Manager, Enterprise 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 Careers Before Systems Engineer
Consultant 4.5%
Engineer 4.3%
Internship 4.1%
Top Careers After Systems Engineer
Consultant 7.4%
Engineer 4.3%
Manager 2.7%

Do you work as a Systems Engineer?

Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.9%

Female

14.6%

Unknown

9.6%
Ethnicity

White

53.5%

Asian

17.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Black or African American

10.9%

Unknown

5.2%
Show More
Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.7%

French

9.7%

German

7.8%

Carrier

6.6%

Chinese

6.2%

Mandarin

5.9%

Japanese

5.0%

Portuguese

4.2%

Arabic

4.0%

Hindi

3.5%

Italian

3.2%

Russian

2.7%

Korean

2.5%

Cantonese

1.8%

Cheyenne

1.6%

Turkish

0.7%

Tamil

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Urdu

0.6%
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Systems Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.7%

University of Texas at Dallas

5.8%

George Washington University

5.7%

Strayer University

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

San Jose State University

5.2%

George Mason University

5.1%

University of Maryland - University College

5.0%

Northeastern University

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.8%

More Tech Institute

4.5%

University of Houston

4.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.3%

University of Southern California

4.1%

Purdue University

4.0%

Texas A&M University

3.9%

Johns Hopkins University

3.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.7%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

18.8%

Electrical Engineering

16.7%

Business

11.0%

Computer Information Systems

7.2%

Information Technology

7.1%

Computer Engineering

6.4%

Mechanical Engineering

4.9%

Computer Networking

3.5%

Information Systems

3.1%

Management Information Systems

2.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.8%

Engineering

2.5%

Management

2.3%

Systems Engineering

2.1%

Project Management

1.9%

Finance

1.6%

Aerospace Engineering

1.4%

Computer Systems Security

1.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.4%

Masters

31.4%

Other

13.2%

Associate

7.2%

Certificate

2.6%

Doctorate

2.0%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$62,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$114,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Starent Networks
Highest Paying City
Cupertino, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Systems Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Systems Engineer in the United States is $84,549 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $114,000.

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 Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
Systems Engineer GVA Infotech Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2018 $96,000
System 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 Karyo E-Systems Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 18, 2019 $91,828
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 Qualsoft Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 19, 2019 $85,567
Systems Engineer Karyo E-Systems Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 20, 2019 $85,567
Systems Engineer Qualsoft Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 22, 2019 $85,567
Systems Engineer Nrich Enterprise Solutions, LLC Ashburn, VA Nov 06, 2017 $85,280
System Engineer Techops Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 14, 2019 $81,915
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
System Engineer Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 09, 2019 $72,000
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 Jan 03, 2010 $65,000
Systems Engineer Value Consulting LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 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

  1. Windows XP
  2. Test Cases
  3. Infrastructure
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked closely with Business and Clinical Application Analysts to create and repackage software for use in a Windows XP environment.
  • Developed and oversaw test cases to validate mission planning software requirements compliance.
  • Evaluated Server infrastructure configuration and recommended improvements
  • Used Bulk Collections for better performance and easy retrieval of data, by reducing context switching between SQL and PL/SQL engines.
  • Coordinated efforts between database technicians and production personnel to assure prompt response to data corrections and prevent fiber production delays.

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Top 10 Best States for Systems Engineers

  1. Nebraska
  2. Maryland
  3. Virginia
  4. Idaho
  5. Washington
  6. Vermont
  7. Texas
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Colorado
  10. Michigan
  • (326 jobs)
  • (3,653 jobs)
  • (6,314 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (3,066 jobs)
  • (92 jobs)
  • (5,310 jobs)
  • (973 jobs)
  • (2,502 jobs)
  • (1,566 jobs)

Top Systems Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Systems Engineer Employers

Systems Engineer Videos

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

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