Career Information for a Degree in Systems Engineering

Oct 04, 2019

Systems engineering is offered at the graduate and undergraduate degree levels. Continue reading for an overview of programs, as well as career and salary info for graduates.

Network and computer systems administrators may begin their career by completing a degree in systems engineering. A bachelor's degree is required for entry-level jobs in this field. Certification is optional, and a master's degree may increase job prospects and opportunities for advancement.

Essential Information

Systems engineering degree programs prepare graduates to plan and build efficient and safe systems used in a variety of industries, including health care and banking. This interdisciplinary field incorporates project management, organization and engineering disciplines. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for this field. Certification is available through the International Council on Systems Engineering.

Career Systems Engineer
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Optional certification
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for network and computer systems administrators
Median Salary (2018)* $82,050 for network and computer systems administrators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Systems engineers, also known as computer systems engineers or system architects, play a vital role in the development, implementation and overall success of complex technology systems. While other engineering disciplines deal with specific engineering areas, systems engineering focuses on putting all these areas together to develop a final product.

Systems engineers can find career opportunities in various industries, such as defense and automotive technology, as well as those that require subcontractors to design large projects. Depending on the position, engineers in this field might need extensive knowledge of computers.

Education Requirements

In 2015, O*Net Online reported that 61% of engineers in this field had a bachelor's degree. A Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering program offers coursework in statistics, mathematics, engineering science and computer programming. Systems engineering course topics might include operations research, decision and risk analysis, systems architecture, discrete systems modeling and human factors engineering.

Systems engineering students also might complete design projects or an engineering internship to gain hands-on experience. These degree programs also allow students to design, analyze and develop a project based on systems engineering principles.

Continuing Education and Certification

Although not required for most entry-level positions, students might consider a master's degree, such as the Master of Science in Systems Engineering, for career advancement. Systems engineers also can obtain credentials from certifying agencies across the country.

For example, the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) offers the Associate Systems Engineering Professional, Certified Systems Engineering Professional and Expert Systems Engineering Professional certifications. INCOSE's certification examinations are offered at Prometric testing facilities across the country and are available to students with an engineering degree from a program accredited by ABET.

Systems engineers build computer systems that are efficient and safe. In a systems engineering degree program, students learn about mathematics, engineering science and computer programming. Systems engineers may work in a number of industries, including defense, banking and health care.

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