Question for Systems Engineers and Education

In summary, the systems engineering degree would be good if it would help you learn more applicable material, but experience is more important.
  • #1
YoshiMoshi
228
8
I work as a systems engineer for electrical systems.

I did my undergraduate in electrical engineering, and have a masters in electrical engineering.

I'm currently in a graduate certificate program for systems engineering, and am considering upgrading it to a flow blown masters degree, so that way I would be a dual major.

Is anyone here a systems engineering can provide any insight on the benefits of getting a masters degree in Systems engineering? Systems engineering is sort of a unique field, and I know there's been a push to get some systems engineering courses in undergraduate engineering programs.

It's kind of like you can be a systems engineer that works on mechanical systems OR electrical systems OR fluid systems OR cybersecurity systems etc.. So it's useful to have a solid education on the type of system you work on (electrical, mechanical, cybersecurity, fluids). Is there a benefit to get both a masters degree in systems engineering and a masters degree on the type of system you work on?

Thanks on any advice. It seems obvious that there would be some benefit, directly related to career path, but I figured I would ask someone else that has done this, and if it was worth it or not.

I'm asking this question in terms if it would benefit my career or would be a complete waste of time and money.
I can safely say that for me, the masters in electrical engineering has defiantly helped me out.
 
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  • #2
I don't have the systems background to answer your question. However, I think the real value of an educational program is what you learn, not the title you get at the end. My experience in industry was that people can get promoted/hired to do a job if they have a reasonable minimum educational background and convince their employer that they will perform well.

When I was hiring EEs, for example, I wanted to know what their degrees were, but that wasn't anywhere near as important as how they answered technical questions or demonstrated good skills (problem solving, communication, leadership, etc.), In short, I didn't care where you learned about Laplace transforms, for example, I just wanted to see that you knew about them.

So, If I were you I would skip it if you think you won't learn good stuff, and I would do it if you think you will. Your resume shouldn't be your biggest concern at this stage.
 
  • #3
To: OP. I'm a PhD physicist, who at one point transitioned to a career as a systems engineer in wireless telecommunications.

A lot depends on whether you plan to transition to a career as a systems engineer with your present employer, or whether you plan to apply for a job as a systems engineer in another company. If you plan to stay with your present employer, you should have the inside scoop on whether a graduate certificate or a MS in systems engineering makes any difference. If you plan to immediately apply for a slot as a systems engineer with another company, though, a graduate certificate with no systems engineering experience will carry far less weight than an MS in systems engineering. On the other hand, if you stop with the graduate certificate, stay with your present employer, transition to systems engineering, and gain several years of experience, then you'll have a solid launching pad should you choose to explore opportunities elsewhere. Once you have a solid body of experience, and a solid portfolio of accomplishments, whether you have a graduate certificate or MS in systems engineering won't be of much consequence.

A certificate per se has substantial value only in certain cases; e.g., a PMP Certificate for project managers; or a Cisco or Microsoft Certificate for IT staff.
 
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  • #4
Hey thanks for the replies.

I currently work as a systems engineer on electrical systems. I would ideally like to stay with my current company and hope to do so. I've been working as a systems engineer for the past five years.

I get the idea and would agree that should do it if it helps you learn stuff that is applicable. Unfortunately though, I think a very small SMALL portion of what I learned in school I apply as far as electrical engineering goes, at least. Maybe it would be different with a systems engineering degree, I'm not sure. But I can say for sure as far as my electrical engineering degrees, only very small portion of it I apply at my job as a systems engineering that works on electrical systems. The stuff I do apply is normally very high level, or just doing some basic calculations.

Would you say it's good to get the systems engineering degree? From what I've experienced so far, it would defiantly be applicable to the job, but experience much more important. Maybe it would only help if I planned on working as a systems engineer at another company, as far as determining salary and so forth?
 
  • #5
YoshiMoshi said:
Hey thanks for the replies.

I currently work as a systems engineer on electrical systems. I would ideally like to stay with my current company and hope to do so. I've been working as a systems engineer for the past five years.

I get the idea and would agree that should do it if it helps you learn stuff that is applicable. Unfortunately though, I think a very small SMALL portion of what I learned in school I apply as far as electrical engineering goes, at least. Maybe it would be different with a systems engineering degree, I'm not sure. But I can say for sure as far as my electrical engineering degrees, only very small portion of it I apply at my job as a systems engineering that works on electrical systems. The stuff I do apply is normally very high level, or just doing some basic calculations.

Would you say it's good to get the systems engineering degree? From what I've experienced so far, it would defiantly be applicable to the job, but experience much more important. Maybe it would only help if I planned on working as a systems engineer at another company, as far as determining salary and so forth?
In my own personal experience as a telcom systems engineer, I never came across a colleague who had a degree in systems engineering; we had various degrees in physics, EE, ME, CS ... I never felt the need to get a formal degree in systems engineering to advance my career.

If you stay with your own company, you're in the best position to know whether the MS in systems engineering would help. As for other companies, look at their job posts. Do any list MS systems engineering required; or at least preferred? If enough do, then the degree will make you more marketable. If not, your 5 yrs of experience should be dispositive.

I know two people who have had successful careers as systems engineers in electrical power systems: one is a PhD EE, one is a MS EE; neither has a degree in systems engineering.

If you want to earn the MS systems engineering strictly to increase your knowledge and understanding, for sure go for it. But if your primary concern is return on investment, and increasing your marketability and career opportunities, you should look into becoming a licensed professional engineer (assuming you're in the US), if appropriate for the type of work you're interested in.
 
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Related to Question for Systems Engineers and Education

1. What is a systems engineer?

A systems engineer is a professional who designs, analyzes, and manages complex systems. They use a holistic approach to problem-solving and consider all aspects of a system, including technical, social, and economic factors.

2. What skills do systems engineers need?

Systems engineers need a combination of technical and soft skills. They should have a strong understanding of mathematics, physics, and computer science, as well as excellent communication, problem-solving, and project management skills.

3. How is systems engineering different from other engineering disciplines?

Systems engineering differs from other engineering disciplines in that it focuses on the design and management of complex systems, rather than individual components. It also takes into account the social and economic factors that can impact a system.

4. What is the role of systems engineering in education?

Systems engineering plays a critical role in education by providing students with a comprehensive understanding of how systems work and how they can be designed and managed. It also teaches students problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are applicable in many industries.

5. What are some examples of systems engineering in practice?

Systems engineering is used in a variety of industries, including aerospace, defense, transportation, healthcare, and energy. Some examples of systems engineering in practice include the design and development of a new aircraft, the implementation of a new healthcare system, and the optimization of a transportation network.

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