Career Spotlight: Systems Engineering & Systems Administration

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Technology-based jobs are part of the fastest growing industry in the United States. And jobs related to cybersecurity are growing 12 times as fast as the rest of the market.

Computer systems engineering and systems administration careers are in high demand. And a salary for a systems engineer can end up being well over $100,000 per year.

But it’s not always easy to get the full scope of computer systems engineering jobs.

Don’t stress. We’re here to break down the details, key responsibilities, and tips for getting ahead in this high-demand career.

What Does a Computer Systems Engineer Do?

A computer systems engineer might use a bunch of different skills and backgrounds. The career meshes computer science, math, engineering, and broader strategic vision.

Like the name suggests, computer systems engineers need to know how to develop software and hardware. But the career goes beyond these tasks.

Different individuals and companies have different goals and needs. They also use unique technological systems that need a customized solution. This is where a computer systems engineer steps in.

The computer systems engineer can diagnose problems and tell clients how to solve those problems. And helping clients get over inefficiencies in software or hardware is a common task.

They need to be able to analyze things like security. They might decide how effective a current system is or identify possible pitfalls.

Computer systems engineers might also need to figure out solutions to those problems with the unique goals of the client in mind.

Computer Systems Engineer Responsibilities

Computer systems engineers need to be able to set up systems for clients, be it through software, hardware, or web-based systems.

But they also need to know how to keep those systems running smoothly. The job isn’t necessarily done after the design phase.

They also often need to be able to look at a current system, critically analyze it, and fix problems. This might mean debugging software or identifying and repairing network interruptions.

Computer systems engineers also can be tasked with making sure repairs or upgrades align with a company or individual’s needs.

From there, they often are tasked with making recommendations or might set up guidelines to help make systems work better.

Required Skills for Computer Systems Engineering

Computer systems engineers and system administrators need technical skills and interpersonal communications abilities.

When it comes to the technical side of the job, computer systems engineers need to know the ins and outs of both software and hardware.

They also need to be flexible and able to quickly adapt to new systems. One company may have completely different needs or customized systems.

More and more, companies are also turning to computer systems engineers for security needs. Computer systems engineers need to be able to identify potential vulnerabilities in security.

They should pick out solutions, and, in some cases, help clients understand best practices regarding security.

This also means computer systems engineers need to be effective communicators. They need to be able to talk to clients, understand the client’s needs or problems, and give quality advice to the client.

Required Education for Computer Systems Engineering

Exact educational requirements for computer systems engineers can depend on the position. But most employers require a bachelor’s degree.

The emphasis of study also has wiggle room. But computer science, computer engineering, computer networking, or a related field is common.

Some companies actively look for candidates with master’s level training. That generally means an MBA with an emphasis on technology.

Employers also look for experience in programming or software and hardware certifications.

Tips for Computer Systems Engineering Hopefuls

Interested in becoming a computer systems engineer? You could break into the field with an associate’s degree. This is a less expensive way to get started.

But in order to nab a job as a computer systems engineer, it’s best to focus on getting a bachelor’s degree in a technology-based field.

Experience working in technology is a huge plus for anyone who wants to be an attractive candidate. Picking up extra certifications for specific programs also can help employers know that a candidate is a good fit.

Here are a few common certifications for computer systems engineers:

  • Cisco Certification
  • Citrix Certification
  • Microsoft Systems Administration Certification
  • VM Ware Certification

How to Climb the Ladder as a Computer Systems Engineer

Because there is so much growth in the technology arena, there are tons of opportunities to move up in companies or take on new leadership roles.

The best way to move up as a computer systems engineer is to identify an employer’s strategy, problems, and needs. This might mean it’s best to pick up extra certifications in areas that line up with the company’s vision for the future.

Since certifications can vary a lot, it’s a good idea to focus on programs that fit well with the specific company and its systems.

It might also be helpful to pick up an advanced degree. Earning a master’s in business administration could boost pay and increase leadership opportunities. Of course, make sure to pick an emphasis in technology

Educational Options for Future Computer Systems Engineers

There are tons of options when it comes to bachelor and master-level education in technology. But we’ve picked out several of the best options.

These choices all are focused on prepping students for advanced technology careers. And they offer online programs, which is a good route for anyone who wants to pick up added credentials or experience as they complete a degree.

Here are some excellent, fully online options:

Purdue Global has several advanced programs. They have great options for both bachelor’s and master’s programs in information technology.

For individuals looking to advance their careers, Lewis University offers a completely online Master of Science Computer Science program.

Regis University offers a Master of Science in Information Assurance that is online and is ABET-accredited.

Landing a Job in Computer Systems Engineering

A computer systems engineer is one position among a field of cybersecurity jobs that has vacancies as high as 50 percent.

Want to get a step-by-step look at how to land a career in cybersecurity and technology? Check out our roadmap to a career in cybersecurity.

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