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Systems Engineer Career

Everything You Need to Know about a Systems Engineer Career

Jul 16, 202317 mins leggereAmit Masih
Everything You Need to Know about a Systems Engineer Career

When it comes to systems engineering, it is mainly described as a process of development and refinement of systems.

Once you are a certified systems engineer, you can work in a wide range of fields, such as designing and implementing unique and helpful systems that help an organization’s overall operations. 

Today, you will come to know if the systems engineer career is the right option for you or not. So keep reading! 

What is a systems engineer?

A systems engineer is an IT professional who creates and manages complex systems for organizations or clients. Systems engineers work with different disciplines to understand user needs, design specifications, build software and hardware architectures, and supervise installation and testing of systems.

On the other hand, systems engineers identify problems, build possible solutions, and ensure smooth and seamless integration. The job of a systems engineer is complex, but they use a combination of math, science, and engineering to develop effective solutions that help organizations make better decisions. 

How do systems engineers make things work?

Systems engineers are the ones who design and manage systems that help the organization run smoothly. They analyze the organization’s goals and needs and develop solutions that fit them.

These systems usually involve the production or manufacturing of the company’s products. Systems engineers ensure their systems are efficient and effective and follow safety and security standards.

On the other hand, systems engineers also regularly monitor and evaluate the systems, looking for opportunities to improve them.

As a successful systems engineer, you will handle these tasks:

  • Managing clusters of computers and RHEL-based workstations.
  • Providing support and repair for PCs, printers, and audio-visual/video conferencing equipment.
  • Communicating and managing requirements throughout the project life cycle, managing change, and reviewing QA test plans.
  • Installing and managing wireless routers from Cisco/Hewlett Packard.
  • Installing and supporting IIS servers that host internal and external applications.
  • Managing enterprise-level projects as a project manager using ITIL project management methodology.
  • Performing user and content management, intranet portal management, Linux and Windows server management.
  • Introducing configuration management analysis processes to follow and meet DOD standards and expectations.
  • Analyzing data from experiments to interpret system performance using MATLAB data processing and statistical techniques.
  • Creating NAS shares and CIFS shares.
  • Implementing NFS, NAS, FTP, and HTTP servers on Linux servers.
  • Designing EMC-based solutions to meet their requirements and presenting them.
  • Verifying data received by the Bluetooth client using the KST data visualization tool.
  • Designing storage-area-network solutions based on EMC’s suite of products and third-party technologies.
  • Creating release documentation describing changes included in the release for handoff to the QA team.

What skills are needed to become a system engineer?

System engineers need many skills to perform their day-to-day tasks. Here are some of the most important skills:

Strong communication and writing skills

Whether working with a team member, a manager, or a client, you must communicate clearly and professionally. In addition, you should write well, with correct spelling and punctuation. If you make a mistake, it could harm your credibility or your quality of work.

Project management skills

To succeed in your career, you must be able to plan, manage, execute, and complete projects systematically and effectively. This involves collaborating with others, assigning and prioritizing tasks, managing resources, solving problems, reporting progress, and analyzing project performance. 

Team management skills

As a systems engineer, you have to lead and organize a group of people to achieve a common goal. This involves working cooperatively, communicating effectively, setting goals, and evaluating performance. You must ensure everyone on your team is on the same page and knows what is expected of them.

Broad technical knowledge

As a system engineer, you will need a wide range of technical knowledge to perform your job effectively. You need to understand IT systems and how they interact with each other. 

Programming knowledge

Having a thorough understanding of at least one programming language is a must to develop complex systems. Programming skills help you organize your data and create documentation and reports faster and more accurately. They also help you analyze your data better. Programming skills can help you streamline your information processing.

Understanding of System Architectures

If you want to develop solutions that meet your requirements, you must understand the architectures of the systems you are working on. System architectures are conceptual models that define a system's structure and behavior from different perspectives. They improve software system quality predictability and provide a reusable model.

Strong Understanding of System Security and Integration

For the smooth flow of data, you need to have a good understanding of system security and integration in order to ensure the correct flow of data. System security and integration enable information transmission and promote better responsiveness across all systems. They also speed up project processes and ensure consistency throughout an organization.

Industry-specific knowledge

You should possess industry-specific knowledge based on multinational companies' core systems and equipment and their main products and services. You deal with all aspects of engineering, and having a thorough knowledge of your industry helps you make decisions and plan effectively.

Decision-making skills

As a system engineer, you have to be flexible in terms of how you make decisions. Therefore, making the right choices is critical. One decision can make or break a project, so practice making it.

Problem-solving skills

Solving complex problems is necessary for a system engineer, as these problems will likely arise. You cannot expect a predefined solution to every problem, as each problem is unique and requires a different approach. You need to be creative and adaptable in problem-solving.

Team coordination skills

As a system engineer, you must be able to coordinate with different engineering teams. You must ensure everyone on your team is aligned and understands each other’s perspectives. You need coordination skills to connect components of a system.

Coding and scripting skills

A system engineer must know how to code and script, as they are responsible for creating patches for systems. You also have to create, update, and maintain systems, similar to software developers' work. You need to be proficient in scripting languages to meet this requirement.

What are the steps to become a systems engineer?

A systems engineer is a professional who creates and maintains systems that support the organization’s operations. They have various skills and knowledge, such as engineering disciplines, project management, computer science, and design synthesis.     If you want to become a systems engineer, you can follow these steps:

1. Get a bachelor’s degree in engineering:

 The first step is to earn a Bachelor of Science in engineering from an accredited college or university. This degree will give you the basic knowledge and skills you need for this career. You will learn about Project Management, Calculus, Algebra, Physics, Statistics, Computer Science, Computer Systems Programming, and Design Synthesis.

2. Continue your education in systems engineering:

 The next step is to pursue an advanced degree or a certificate in systems engineering. You can choose from master’s degrees, doctorates, or graduate certificates. These programs will give you the specialized knowledge and skills you need for this career.

3. Gain four years of relevant work experience:

The third step is to find a mentor engineer who can supervise you for four years before getting your engineering license. You can gain some of this work experience while continuing your education. You can also look for internships or apprenticeships with companies that interest you. This way, you can learn more about this career, build connections, and gain valuable experience.

4. Get your engineering license:

 The fourth step is to become a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE). You can get this license through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). This license is not mandatory for this career but can give you an edge over other candidates. Engineers with this license can also earn more because of their expertise.

5. Meet your state’s licensure requirements:

 The fifth step is to check with your state’s licensing board and meet their engineer requirements. Each state has its own rules and regulations for engineers. You might need to submit proof of education or show that you passed the relevant exams to practice systems engineering.

6. Earn your systems engineering certification:

 The final step is certification in various systems engineering skills and domains. The relevant certification program adds an extra layer of education that shows potential employers your passion and dedication to your career.

You can earn systems engineering certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and more. 

What is the average salary of a systems engineer?

The average salary of a systems engineer is $99,770 per year. Remember that the average salary can differ in some locations based on your experience, education, and, more importantly, company size. However, you can expect a range of $62,881 to $158,302 annually.

Different types of systems engineers

The field of systems engineering is broad and involves the design, development, and management of systems that support an organization's operations. Depending on the industry or domain, systems engineers can apply their skills and interests to a wide range of projects.

Here are some examples of systems engineering types:

Software systems

A software systems engineer is someone who develops and tests software solutions to meet a variety of needs. During their lifecycle, they verify the systems and solutions and determine the technical constraints and capabilities of these systems and solutions.

Additionally, they create test plans, scripts, cases, and procedures that can be used to evaluate the software systems and determine where improvements can be made. As a software systems engineer, you may focus on a particular area, such as health care, education, or human resources, to name a few.

Network systems

The job of a network system engineer involves working on the hardware and software that a business uses for conducting its regular activities on the network. They are responsible for managing the users within the network and optimizing the network operations on a regular basis.

Additionally, they perform repairs and upgrades to the network to ensure it is operating efficiently. Network engineers may occasionally work on improving telecommunications systems, such as mobile telephone networks and satellite networks, to improve their efficiency.

Product development

As a product development systems engineer, you will create new products for various industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and others.

During the evaluation, they identify inefficiencies and waste within the manufacturing process and take steps to reduce them. In order to increase production and quality, they eliminate excess time, effort, or materials.


An engineer working on logistics systems is responsible for improving the processes of distributing finished goods. Their job is to design systems that improve storage, transportation, and delivery of goods. For example, they might develop better methods for picking items from warehouse shelves or improve truck loading systems.


The biosystems engineer is responsible for designing and developing systems related to the natural environment. Typical examples are water treatment plants, waste management operations, and food processing facilities. The biosystems engineer focuses on the safety, health, and environmental aspects of the operation of these systems.


A transportation systems engineer is responsible for designing and implementing systems that transport passengers and goods between different locations.

Depending on the area in which they work, they may be involved in the maintenance of traffic or emergency management. Their role is to collaborate with civil engineers to improve the management and operation of transportation systems.

Best certification programs for systems engineers

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)

The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification proves you can design and implement solutions based on Windows Server, client operating systems, networking, and security.

To become an MCSE, you must pass some exams that test your knowledge of different Microsoft topics. For example, you might have to answer questions about how to set up a network infrastructure, manage a server, secure an identity, use virtualization and cloud computing, and handle data. You can take these exams online through Microsoft or at a testing center run by Pearson VUE.

Each MCSE exam costs about $165 USD at the moment. If you take all three exams to earn your MCSE certification, you would have to pay about $495 USD in total. Besides passing the exams, you also need some work experience to earn the MCSE certification.

You should have at least one year of experience working with Microsoft technologies before you apply for the certification.

CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ certification is one of the sought-after and widely accepted credentials for systems engineers. The CompTIA A+ certification shows you have the basic skills and knowledge that IT professionals need.

It does not matter what kind of technology you work with because this certification covers many different topics, such as hardware, networking, security, software troubleshooting, and customer service.

To earn the CompTIA A+ certification, you have to pass two exams: 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2). Each exam has up to 90 questions and lasts for 90 minutes.

To pass, you need to score at least 675 out of 900 points on each exam. You can take the CompTIA A+ certification exams online or at a testing center near you. The exam is $200 for both exams.

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification program needs no introduction. The CompTIA Security+ certification demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills of an IT professional in security.

It proves you can handle system security, network infrastructure, cryptography, access control, authentication, external attack prevention, and organizational security.

The CompTIA Security+ exam has 90 multiple-choice questions, and you have 90 minutes to finish it. You must score at least 750 out of 900 points or higher to pass the exam and get the certification.

To take the CompTIA Security+ exam, you must sign up for it with CompTIA and pay the pay ($250-$300 USD). After you pass the exam, you will get your certificate in two weeks.

But when it comes to prerequisites, you also need to meet some other requirements, such as having at least two years of experience in IT administration with a focus on security or taking a course approved by CompTIA. Once you meet these requirements, you can apply for your Security+ certification on CompTIA’s website.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA certification is a program created by Cisco Systems to show that you have the knowledge and skills of a networking professional. It proves you can set up, manage, use, and fix medium-sized routers and switch networks.

To earn the CCNA certification, you must pass one exam about IP addressing, routing protocols, WAN technologies, network security, and more. The exam has multiple-choice questions and lasts for about 90 minutes. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification exam cost is around $150 and $300 USD.

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

The Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification is from Red Hat, Inc., which makes and sells open-source software and services. The RHCSA certification shows that you have the skills to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems used by many businesses and organizations.

The RHCSA certification is a good way to prove that you can handle the everyday tasks of a system administrator, such as creating users, setting up storage devices, managing security settings, and fixing common problems.

The RHCSA exam is short, but it is challenging. You have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete it. To get certified, you only need to pass one exam, EX200: Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). The Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification exam will cost you around $400 USD. 

VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

The VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification program is offered by VMware, which shows you have the skills and knowledge to use VMware vSphere. This technology lets you create and manage virtual machines. The VMware VCP certification is for IT professionals working with virtualization technologies daily.

To earn the VCP certification, you have to do two things: take an authorized training course and pass an exam. The training course usually lasts three to five days, depending on how much you already know.

After finishing the training course, you must take the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) exam with multiple-choice questions and hands-on lab exercises.

Before you can do these two things, you must buy an authorization code from VMware for $225 USD. This code will let you sign up for the training course and take the exam. When you have done both things successfully, you will earn your VCP certification.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification shows that you have the technical skills and knowledge to design, deploy, and operate applications and infrastructure on the AWS platform.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certification is for professionals in charge of designing, deploying, and managing applications on the AWS platform. It is one of the most popular certifications in cloud computing.

To earn this certification, you must pass two exams: the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam and the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Exam.

The Associate exam tests your understanding of basic concepts such as networking, storage, computing, database services, security, monitoring, automation, and application lifecycle management. 

ITIL Foundation Certification

The ITIL Foundation certification program teaches you the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) basics and how it can help you improve service management. ITIL is a set of best practices for managing IT services, such as planning, designing, delivering, operating, and improving them.

It follows a lifecycle approach to service management, which has five stages: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.

To pass the ITIL Foundation certification exam, you must answer 40 multiple-choice questions in 1-2 hours. You need to score at least 26 questions right (65%) to pass the exam. If you pass the exam, you will be called ITIL Foundation Certified. The ITIL Foundation exam cost is $250 USD.

Oracle Database Certification

The Oracle Database certification is another of the best systems engineer certifications, proving your expertise in the Oracle Database. The Oracle Database certification shows you know how to use the Oracle Database and its related technologies.

To earn this certification, you must pass two exams: the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate (OCA) exam and the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) exam. Both exams have multiple-choice questions, and you must score at least 70% to pass them. The exam is around $150-$250 per exam.

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification is offered by the leading organization, Microsoft. The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification helps you learn the basics of the Microsoft Azure platform. The Azure Fundamentals certification gives you an overview of the cloud computing platform, its services, and how they work together.

The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification exam covers understanding cloud concepts, core Azure services, security, privacy, compliance, and trust.

It also explains pricing models and support options. The exam has 40-60 questions and lasts for about 90 minutes. The exam costs $99 USD to take. After you pass the exam, you will get a digital certificate from Microsoft that shows your achievement.

The final say

A career as a system engineer might be a good choice if you are a natural problem solver who enjoys continuous improvement and is interested in finding solutions to problems.

There is a wide variety of industries in which these engineers work. These engineers use their technical skills, leadership ability, and critical thinking to improve processes and products.

So, if you want to take the systems engineer certification and are looking for a reliable proxy exam center to take the exam, CBT Proxy is your one-stop solution.

CBT Proxy has been there for over a decade now, helping IT professionals earn their desired certification goals with minimal effort. To learn more, click the chat buttons below. One of our guides will get in touch with you in no time. 

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