As engineering branches diversify into specialised disciplines, systems engineering is becoming more and more relevant. Smart infrastructure, fast and reliable transportation, real-time communication, intelligent business processes are only a few of the areas where it is being intensively practised. Parallelly, as there has been a surge in demand amongst international students, it is slowly being recognised as one of the best engineering courses for future. Furthermore, a growing number of individuals are also venturing into a career in research, for instance, as a research assistant in a scientific discipline at a university. Read on to know what else is in store.
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Systems engineering is finding applications not just in STEM-related fields but in a variety of disciplines. These range from bio-systems, businesses and energy systems to logistics engineering, web applications and Information Science Engineering and aerospace systems. Companies across sectors are making use of it to integrate themselves with efficient technology and equipment along with easing the burden on costs. Some career profiles pertaining to these specializations have been given a rundown below. A degree in systems engineering can help pave your way to work in the sectors of:
- Infrastructure Systems
- Mechatronics Systems
- Environmental Systems
- Communication Systems
- Health Systems
- Instrumentation and Control Engineering
- Chemical Systems
- Software Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability Systems
- Vehicle Systems
- Product Development Systems
- Aerospace Engineering
- Controls and Optimisation Systems
Understanding The Job of A Systems Engineer
While the nature of actual work requirements can vary to quite some degree, it can safely be said that the position of a systems engineer in any organisation holds great accountability and importance. Whether it is a government department or a research organisation, university or a corporate firm, they are the de facto in charge of procurement and maintenance of different types of systems, be it network-based, hardware, software and so forth. In particular, the responsibilities which a system engineer are expected to fulfil are as follows:
- Resolve technical issues
- Continuously experiment with new, better and cost-effective equipment
- Conduct procurement of equipments
- Regularly scrutinise security features, audit and apply appropriate solutions
- Conduct standard operating procedures
- Advise management on protocol adherence and upgrade
- Work on the development of new and better systems
- Ensure proper functioning of network-related devices like LAN, WAN, etc
- Ensure proper data storage for timely destruction or retrieval
- Deal with external vendors
A bachelor’s level degree in computer science with a specialization in systems engineering is set as the minimum requirement by most employers. Furthermore, if you are interested in senior-level positions, pursuing an advanced degree like a Master’s in Systems Engineering is highly recommended. This also helps in rapid career progression. Later, you can complement your experience by pursuing a System Design Course or even Master of Engineering Management.
There can be varied career profiles in the specialised domain of Systems Engineering and some of them have been elaborated below:
Energy Systems Engineer
Energy conversion, storage and distribution systems around the world are based on complex structures and equipment that need to be kept in the best shape and regularly updated ensure smooth utilisation of intensive sectors of building, manufacturing, production or day to day use. Further, research in this space has been given another dimension with the need for sustainable systems for energy generation and distribution as well as energy management. As an energy systems engineer, you can expect to perform responsibilities of analysing the efficiency of turbine-based, hydro-based, nuclear-based systems, etc, assessing the cost-benefit relations, minimising energy loss as well as the impact on the environment. An MBA in Energy Management is also a worthy option for those considering courses after engineering.
Considered a senior level position in any organisation, the job of a project manager is tasked with successful and timely completion of projects. Usually, he/she leads a team of systems engineers and takes up large-scale projects of assembling, testing and maintenance of relevant systems. It requires not only an in-depth grasp of the specifics of systems engineering but also skills of management, leadership and teamwork. After a few years of industry experience, you can also choose to go for an MBA in Project Management.
Working at the operations level can be a challenging learning experience. From making use of modelling software to applying advanced level mathematical tools, as an operations analyst, your priority will be to maintain efficiency in operational activities. Typical responsibilities may include the creation of operational manuals, improvements, change and replacement of existing systems, review and resolve issues, etc.
Computer Systems Engineer
This area of employment relates closely to the core concepts of computer science engineering as well as mathematical analysis. Along with possessing an on-tips knowledge of computer hardware, software, networks, computer technology, circuits, etc, it also requires an overall sense of how devices and technology can be better integrated into the current business operations. Designing of backend system infrastructure, ensuring proper functioning of current systems and suggesting improvements are only some of the tasks involved. Further, as computer systems engineering is quite vast, the ensuing opportunities are also diverse.
Health Systems Engineer
This is an emerging opportunity and carries immense potential as a specialised career field. It is a unique combination of management-level consulting and systems engineering and healthcare systems and processes. As a health systems engineer, you will be tasked with assessment, application and streamlining of health systems. Moreover, it also involves continuous evaluation of relevant risks, factors, dependencies, threats and opportunities between existing and prospective systems. At a more senior level, designing and development of novel systems, assistance in planning may also form part of the job description.
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Whether you choose to work in the corporate sector, government organisations or in core research, it is important to note that getting a degree is not the end of the road. Possessing the right combination of technical, interpersonal and communication skills is absolutely paramount for building a solid career. Additionally, as industries and job scale vary, the nature and accountabilities of the job also vary and being able to work in a challenging environment is a must. Here are a few skills you need to polish to build a career in systems engineering.
- Quantitative as well as qualitative analysis
- Critical analysis
- Ability to multitask
- Leadership abilities and potential
- Inclination to learn and experiment
- Ability to work in a challenging environment knowing that a lot is riding on you
- Knack to resolve difficult situations
- Problem analysis and resolution
- Project Management
Career in Systems Engineering: Universities
As you may already be aware, a specialized systems engineering degree from top-level universities provides you with industry-appreciated expertise along with much-needed practical exposure. While the ivy league colleges have been leading the way in this sphere for quite some time, there is no dearth of emerging and recognised options across the Americas and Europe. Given below is a list of renowned institutions you must consider.
|University||Location||Times Higher Education Ranking 2021||Courses|
|University of Pennsylvania||USA||13th||-Master of Science in Engineering-
–Bachelor of Science in Engineering-
Systems Science & Engineering
|Cornell University||USA||19th||-Master of Engineering in
-PhD in Systems
|University of British
|Canada||34th||-Master of Applied Science
in Civil Engineering
-Environmental Systems Engineering
|Boston University||USA||54th||-MSc in Systems Engineering with
Thesis or Non-Thesis
-PhD in Systems Engineering
|The Netherlands||=187th||-MSc Manufacturing Systems
-MSc Embedded Systems
-MSc Systems and Control
|KTH Royal Institute
|Sweden||201-250||Master in Systems,
Control and Robotics
|University of Strathclyde||UK||401-500th||MSc Systems
|Poland||>1001st||Masters in Transport
Eligibility, Admission & Application
To study abroad in systems engineering courses at the bachelor’s level, you will need to have a background in science [physics, chemistry, biology], mathematics or computer science. Possessing at least one or two of the above mentioned subjects at the 12th or senior secondary level is a necessary requirement at most universities. Coming to eligibility for master’s level, a bachelor’s in a quantitative discipline such as mathematics, engineering, computer science, etc is recommended. However, as foreign universities also operate with a high degree of flexibility, institutions will consider your complete candidature, i.e, extracurricular activities, experience, projects, etc. To apply, you may also be required to submit official SAT/GRE/GMAT or IELTS/TOEFL scores, official transcripts, CV, Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LOR), amongst others. Refer to our blog on Scholarship for engineering students for information on funding.
Systems engineering is enjoying its appeal across sectors, both amongst students and in industries striving towards building much more robust business processes. If you have an interest in this field, take the assistance of quality guidance from industry experts and mentors at Leverage Edu in a free 30 minutes career counselling session so that you can make your decision for higher studies in the right way. Click Here for a Free Consultation Session.