System engineers are experts who work in enterprises to address problems within specific systems, coordinate different teams, and monitor overall progress in system development. A system engineer ensures the organization’s local network and cloud computing infrastructure is running smoothly and, therefore, is responsible for resolving any technical issue that may arise.
System engineers frequently collaborate with engineering and project management teams to serve as the communication bridge between various departments in organizations.
What is a system engineer?
A system engineer brings a blend of managerial and engineering backgrounds to lay the foundation for operational efficiency. System engineers collaborate with many departments to create and manage business systems that will boost efficiency. They are responsible for developing and deploying systems software and analyzing data to improve the overall operational goals. A system engineer strives to balance many project components, including architecture and system dynamics.
Roles and responsibilities of system engineers
The roles of system engineers cut across many areas due to the connection between them and other departments. For example, system engineers work closely with other IT staff to maintain the hardware and software necessary for projects to be finished quickly. In doing this, they establish precise objectives for each project area and create procedures to ensure prompt completion.
In other words, system engineers may be required to develop meticulous instructions for proposed solutions. In addition, they occasionally work with project management teams to contribute to level one and level two IT support.
Below are some specific roles system engineers play in an organization:
- Working with DevOps, NetOps, and NetSecOps to identify vulnerabilities in system architecture and map out possible solutions and fixes
- Managing and monitoring infrastructure and installed systems in organizations
- Installing, configuring, and testing application software and operating systems to determine the best system management tools.
- Ensuring that systems and network infrastructure are available and run optimally.
- Ensuring that bottlenecks in application performance are averted through application performance testing.
System engineer education requirements
Most aspiring system engineers start with a bachelor’s degree in system engineering and then choose a specialization when pursuing a master’s degree. Depending on the industry, an aspiring system engineer may consider one of the following specializations:
- Software systems engineering
- Product development systems engineering
- Transportation systems engineering
- Logistics engineering
In addition to the degrees, gaining hands-on industry experience is crucial for a system engineer’s training and development.
System engineer skills
System engineers must possess a broad range of technical and non-technical skills to understand the operational demands of their organizations. These skills support the engineer’s role in designing, implementing, and maintaining a system that works for the organization.
Depending on the industry, a system engineer must possess certain technical skills. These may include:
- Software development
- Data architecture and programming
- Cloud computing
- Understanding of information security and risk management
- Familiarity with systems engineering software
System engineers do not perform their roles in isolation; rather, they collaborate with fellow engineers, developers, and end-users to ensure the system is working. As such, necessary non-technical skills include:
- Interpersonal communication
- Analytical skills
- Organizational skills
- Detail-oriented thinking
- Problem solving
- Time management
System engineer certifications
Many certifications can boost a system engineer’s skills and education requirements. Some popular certifications include:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- CompTIA Network+
- Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)
- Master Certified Electronics Technician (CETma)
Systems engineer salary expectations
The role of a system engineer is crucial to many organizations, and as such, the annual salary across the United States is quite attractive. In fact, Payscale reports the annual average base salary of a system engineer ranges from $81,638–132,000 USD. According to Zip Recruiter, the annual average salary of system engineers is around $89,687 USD.
There are a few factors that influence an engineer’s take-home pay. For example, system engineers who have obtained a master’s degree or higher or have received a top certification can expect to earn a higher salary. Likewise, years of experience and the size of the organization can impact where an engineer falls on the payscale.