what is a systems engineer?

A systems engineer is a professional who applies engineering principles to develop and maintain efficient systems. They play a crucial role in various industries by solving multiple problems in systems. Unlike other engineers who resolve issues in separate parts of a system, a systems engineer takes a holistic approach by studying the interconnections of systems. When systems engineers develop a system, they align a positive user experience with company objectives and operations.

what does a systems engineer do?

As a systems engineer, you are the interface between various stakeholders in the systems development process. That means your primary role revolves around defining, developing, testing, maintaining and replacing systems. You incorporate the views of the management, end-users, specialist engineers and suppliers to create an efficient system for your employer.

Systems aren't strictly related to computers but rely on engineering advancements and the latest technology. As a systems engineer, you can work in computer, mechanical, electrical and manufacturing systems to ensure all the components work together and meet the needs of consumers. You also collaborate with various departments in a company to ensure a smooth production process and proper maintenance of the existing systems.

Would working as a systems engineer suit your problem-solving and innovation skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a systems engineer role.

systems engineer jobs

average salary of a systems engineer

According to Payscale, a systems engineer’s average salary is ₹386,409 annually. When starting your systems engineer career, your earnings are around ₹338,000 per year. Experienced systems engineers with additional skills and expertise in various specialisms earn over ₹650,000 per year. Your compensation package often includes allowances and non-monetary benefits. Systems engineers enjoy medical, transport and housing allowances, and some employers provide overtime pay or bonuses. The non-monetary benefits include paid vacation days.

what factors increase your salary as a systems engineer?

A systems engineer's salary depends on experience level and qualifications. At an entry-level position, you have minimal skills and work experience; hence, your pay will be low compared to experienced systems engineers. Your salary level is also dependent on your educational qualifications or specialism. Systems engineers with a degree earn more than someone with an apprenticeship. If you focus on a specific study area, you will likely make more than a general systems engineer. For instance, specialising in computer systems increases your compensation package due to your additional expertise.

Your employer's location can also impact your pay. Companies in major cities pay more due to the high cost of living and increased demand for systems engineers. Smaller towns have a low cost of living and lower demand for engineers, limiting your salary prospects. 

systems engineer jobs
systems engineer jobs

types of systems engineer

  • computer systems engineer: your job is to design computer systems to your clients' specifications. If a retail company requires a sales management system, you incorporate all the functions relevant to retail management, like invoice and inventory management systems. You also advise on the best software and hardware tools for the computer system to function efficiently.
  • product development systems engineer: your job is to improve product development systems to help your company remain competitive. You develop systems that eliminate inefficiencies and troubleshoot problems that affect the product's quality standards.
  • biosystems engineer: as a biosystems engineer, you develop and maintain systems relating to the natural environment. Your duties may include analysing resource conservation or waste treatment systems. You can also create food processing systems for various industries.

working as a systems engineer

Are you wondering what a systems engineer does daily? Read on to find out a systems engineer's work routine and duties.


education and skills

As a systems engineer, you have a firm grasp of engineering and business concepts. That requires educational qualifications, including:

  • university degree: if you are considering a career as a systems engineer, you should begin with a bachelor's degree in industrial or systems engineering. Achieving the 10+2 level with science as a stream qualifies you to apply for suitable courses.
  • master's degree: while an accredited bachelor's degree can get you an entry-level position, the job's complexity may also require a master's degree. A graduate qualification in systems engineering increases your prospects and chances of getting a managerial position.
  • professional qualification: a professional engineering degree is needed to reach the highest levels in your field. This gives you chartered status with the Indian Institute of Engineers and qualifies you to take licensed jobs.

skills and competencies

Systems engineers require hard and soft skills, including:

  • technical skills: as a systems engineer, you have technical skills and expertise with various software. Your job involves using modelling software, specialised equipment and multiple computer programmes. Technical skills also help you accomplish your tasks faster.
  • analytical thinking: your role requires meticulous analysis of each task. For instance, you often analyse a system as a whole or a sum of its parts before implementing changes. Analytical thinking and attention to detail help you factor in every aspect of a system before recommending alterations.
  • time management: a systems engineer prioritises tasks to meet deadlines. You are also responsible for determining project milestones and adjusting the timeline for changes. Your work is easier if you have good time management skills.
  • teamwork skills: as a systems engineer, you collaborate with various professionals, from manufacturing employees to researchers, security experts and salespeople. Your teamwork skills allow you to offer constructive feedback and direct teams to achieve a project's objectives.

FAQs about working as a systems engineer

Here are some common questions about working as a systems engineer:

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