System engineering careers will be a hot topic in 2024 and beyond. System engineers design, develop, and manage complex systems in nearly every industry, from manufacturing to application development. Continued technological advancements have made system engineers more in demand than ever. If you’ve been considering system engineering careers or want to advance in this field in the next year, here is a look at the trends and opportunities you can expect to see.
System engineering is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses both engineering and management skills. System engineers design, manage, and integrate any number of complex systems. Multiple industries and market sectors need more system engineers, from autonomous vehicles to Industry 4.0 smart factories. The seamless integration of hardware, software, and human components makes system engineering careers in demand.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports strong growth for system engineering-related fields. For instance, industrial engineering jobs are growing at a rate of 12% year-over-year, a rate which is much faster than the average field. Meanwhile, computer hardware engineer jobs are also growing faster than average, at 5%. Similar growth is forecasted for similar jobs, like industrial engineering technologists.
In their Best Jobs coverage, U.S. News and World Report placed technology roles at the number one spot. A review of the magazine’s list of best engineering jobs includes several roles under the system engineer heading, such as environmental engineer technicians and biomedical engineers. These roles exemplify how system engineers combine technologies in multiple complex disciplines to deliver value in emerging fields.
Just as some many different industries and markets need more system engineers, there are several different paths into system engineering careers. According to the noted career website Glassdoor, those with strong decision-making abilities and analytical skills are well-suited for system engineer roles.
As Glassdoor points out, 77% of system engineers have a bachelor’s degree. They suggest pursuing a course of study that the Accrediting Board recognizes for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Also, those with experience in IT, systems architecture, and integration functions have an excellent path into a system engineer role.
If you’re working in one of those fields right now, you can boost your system engineer credentials by pursuing certifications from the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). In particular, INCOSE offers Associate Systems Engineering Professional (ASEP), Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP), and Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP) certifications that are well-suited for system engineers of all levels of experience. Also, check your local area for engineering groups to see if they offer or recommend any certification programs.
Beyond degrees and certifications, there are several things you can do right now to prepare yourself for system engineering careers. Given the importance of analytical skills and problem-solving to system engineering roles, you can hone these skills in your current job. Cross-disciplinary knowledge is a foundation of system engineering, so start learning about fields you don’t currently work in. In particular, studying electrical, mechanical, and software engineering will pay dividends down the road.
You can also pursue an internship to gain practical experience in system engineering. Internships allow you to learn on the job and offer insight into the challenges and demands of an engineering role. Internships also give you excellent material for your resume. Entry-level positions that use system engineering tools and methodologies like SysML (Systems Modeling Language) also offer an excellent experience for a future career.
Even if you don’t land an internship or entry-level system engineer role, you can still stay up-to-date on the latest trends by attending conferences, workshops, and webinars on engineering topics. These events also offer networking opportunities, making a real difference when pursuing a system engineer role.
As system engineering careers are available in a broad range of industries, you can also follow the latest hiring trends to see where demand exists. Follow MRINetwork to stay on top of future hiring trends across all industries and markets.