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What does a Systems Engineer do?

No corporation, government agency, small business or online business can survive without systems engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer hardware engineers research, design, develop, test, and oversee the manufacture and installation of computer hardware, including computer chips, circuit boards and computer systems. This can include routers, keyboards and printers.

These highly qualified professionals make sure that our smartphones are designed properly, that your wireless router at home works as it should, and much, much more. As our lives have become more and more dependent on information technology, computer-related engineers have become more essential.

Educational requirements for systems engineers

The BLS classifies systems engineers as computer hardware engineers, so we will focus on that data. Other job titles could be systems engineer, data engineer, network engineer, etc. Always engineers by training, hardware engineers typically study electrical engineering, computer science, or a related field.

A bachelor's degree is almost always required for any entry-level engineering job, and computer hardware engineers are no exception. When studying full-time, a bachelor's degree in engineering can be obtained in four years. Engineering degrees are offered at public and private on-campus four-year colleges. The curriculum includes a heavy courseload of mathematics, science and computing classes.

For those engineers who want to do research and development, a master's degree is usually essential. Engineers need to be detail-oriented, organized, be able to work well within a team, be able to communicate complex concepts to non-engineers, and be good at multi-tasking and at working under pressure.

Forget the engineer stereotype - the days of engineers with pocket protectors, thick-rimmed glasses and suspenders are over. Today's systems engineers are sophisticated, highly educated, and can be quite young and hip. In this rapidly evolving field, systems engineers are expected to keep abreast of changes and developments through professional development and reading, frequently on their own time.

How much do systems engineers earn?

The BLS predicts a modest 4% growth in employment. This modest growth may be attributed to outsourcing of engineering positions to plants located in foreign countries.

Most computer hardware engineers find work in the industries of computer systems design, computer manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing and research and development. The highest-paying states for computer hardware engineers are New York, Massachusetts, California, the District of Columbia and Washington.

This is a profession that will continuously challenge you because it's constantly evolving, and being moved forward by new developments and discoveries. Get started today by researching engineering programs at any number of universities.

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