The job title of “systems engineer” might not sound all that glamorous at first, but once you consider that these IT pros work on complex systems that can include military aircraft and tanks, the job description suddenly becomes a lot more exciting.
As David Walden, Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) and INCOSE certification program manager, explained it, a systems engineer is an IT professional who heads up a development project on an intricate, software-intensive system. The system engineer has a broad role, looking at the entire system from conception to final disposal.
Take, for example, a nuclear reactor. Walden said the systems engineer would need to consider: “How do you dispose of that system safely, in a way that is both economical and good for the environment? How do you design the system so that it can be easily disassembled or reused or recycled?
“[Ultimately], a systems engineer looks at the whole problem and interfaces with the customer to determine what the real need is, envision what that system will be and then make sure it’s delivered and meets and exceeds [the] customer’s expectations,” Walden said.
“They translate all of those vague and soft-and-fuzzy stakeholder [requirements] — ‘I want a car that goes fast,’ ‘I want a rocket ship that can be launched 42 times’ — and then they work with the design engineers to make that a technical reality.”
Like many roles in the IT industry, there are organizations dedicated to training and certifying systems engineers. One such…
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