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Engineering Systems Engineering

  1. Apr 18, 2010 #1

    I have been recently researching systems engineering as a possible graduate degree. I am currently a physics major. I was wondering if anybody here works as or with any system engineers? I have read some articles about the discipline and it seems pretty general. I was wondering if the work is interesting and fun. And what type of work do they do on a daily basis?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2010 #2
    According my friend with systems engineering, he did some programming work and project management for his internship.

    Sorry that I could not tell you more.

    which school are you plannng to attend ?
  4. Apr 24, 2010 #3

    D H

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    Hi, TheDoorsOfMe.

    Systems engineers worry about how the pieces that comprise complex systems interact, and how they mis-interact. I am a physicist by training but by practice I am a systems engineer + aerospace engineer + software engineer + project manager (along with several other hats; I work at a small company). To be a good systems engineer you need to be quite facile. One day you might find your self working with electrical engineers, the next with structural engineers, and the next with propulsion engineers. You need to be able to communicate with each, understand what they are talking about, and placate their sensitive egos (each thinks their discipline is the most important one). A systems engineer needs to take what they are talking about to a higher level, but also must be able to dive very deep into technical detail.

    One problem with systems engineering is that it encourages one to be a jack of all trades, master of none. It's a good idea to maintain deep knowledge in some field, preferably more than one field; the same applies to managers of some technical endeavor.
  5. Apr 24, 2010 #4
    Systems Engineers have pressure from the sides, above and below. Also if you like to get down to the nuts and bolts, rather than view everything as a black box, it's quite soul destroying work.
  6. Apr 24, 2010 #5

    D H

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    That is just wrong, Freddy. If you can't dive down deep into a topic you will not make for a good systems engineer.
  7. Apr 24, 2010 #6
    Yes, I plan on actually getting a electrical engineering masters with the systems engineering track. One dilemma D H that I have is figuring out exactly how to get the experience I want. I will be taking electrical engineering classes which kind of run the gambit. Though I think I will try to concentrate on communications and photonics. But the program I'm looking at has many computer science courses I would love to take but since they are graduate level I really don't have the background to jump in. Did you find that it was easy enough to pick programming while on the job? I have my BS in physics, I have done some programming but not to the level to do anything particularly useful. My dream position would be to work with a company developing quantum computers. So I feel like I have to take everything.

    I don't mind being a big picture person. I love figuring out the details as a hobby but my brain definitely likes to think about larger scale implications.
  8. Apr 25, 2010 #7

    D H

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    I can't tell you about the ease of picking up programming on the job because that is not the route I took. I took several computer science courses while in college.

    If your undergrad computer science education is limited to the standard introductory level class, you will probably need to take a few undergrad comp sci classes as catch-up work if your preferred graduate program is one that involves graduate level computer science classes. Look at it this way: Suppose a typical comp. sci major wanted to go into that same graduate program. The typical comp. sci. major will not have the requisite electrical engineering background needed to jump directly into those graduate level electrical engineering courses. That comp. sci. major will need to take some undergrad EE courses.
  9. Apr 30, 2010 #8
    I quite agree with Mr DH, systems engineering basically comprises of software+hardware(electrical and mechanical) engineering as well as managerial skills. As far as i guess it is quite challenging but rewarding job. I did my bachelors in electrical engineering and planning to have MS degree in systems engineering.
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