Value Stream Engineer: Job Description & Salary

The value stream engineer is a relatively new position and is still in development. This article details the required education and skills and salary info for a value stream engineer.

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What Is a Value Stream Engineer?

The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is in demand among large software companies that prefer Agile processes that are adapted to their specifics. SAFe traditionally had three levels: Team, Program, and Portfolio, but a recent upgrade has introduced a fourth level, the Value Stream. A value stream represents the series of steps that it takes to produce a product, service or system and it takes a team, or Agile release train (ART), to accomplish this. These teams can be managed by release train engineers (RTE) or value stream engineers (VSE). The main difference between these similar positions is that the RTE's primary duty is to implement ART processes and facilitate execution, whereas the VSE focuses on coordinating and training the ARTs. The value stream engineer will also need to be well learned in the specific industry they are working in.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience
Job Skills Agile (Lean-Agile frameworks, Scaled Agile Framework), product development, project management, leadership, communication, critical-thinking
Median Salary (May 2018)* $88,740 (for all computer systems analysts)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 9% (for all computer systems analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree is required by some organizations but most tend to value equivalent work experience as much as formal education. There are several relevant certifications that a VSE can obtain. Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) offers the Release Train Engineer, Advanced ScrumMaster, Scaled Agilist, and SAFe Program Consultant certifications. The Project Management Institute offers Agile Certified Professional certification.

Required Skills

A VSE will need to be well versed in Lean-Agile frameworks and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). A VSE will also need project management experience. Several non-technical skills will be essential, as well. They must have outstanding leadership qualities, which will include acting as mentors to their teams. A VSE must be a talented communicator, conversing with the team and with upper management. Critical-thinking skills are also important, as a VSE must analyze a situation quickly and coordinate with the team to find a solution.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that between 2016 to 2026 employment for all computer systems analysts is estimated to grow 9%, which is about the average rate compared to all occupations. The BLS also reports that the median salary in May 2018 for all computer systems analysts was $88,740. The Value Stream level of SAFe is mainly used by very large organizations. The value stream engineer will continue to be needed as long as SAFe keeps expanding.

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