You may not have noticed, but systems engineering is a promising career choice. In 2009, it was rated No. 1 out of the Top 50 careers in terms of salary and growth prospects over the next 10 years by CNNMoney.com and Payscale.com.
Right now in May 2010, the average wage for a systems engineer is just under $90,000, according to data compiled by Indeed.com. While average salaries for the field are down a bit from where they had been, there is little shortage of jobs in the field.
Why is that? Well, probably because of the complexity and demands of the job. The main focus of systems engineering is understanding compatibility and offering agnostic views of technology while being able to design high-performing, yet efficient systems across most (if not all) technology layers. Plus, systems engineers have to have a deep understanding of best-of-breed technologies while staying up-to-date on emerging technology trends.
Here is what CNNMoney.com wrote as to why this career ranks so highly: "Demand is soaring for systems engineers, as what was once a niche job in the aerospace and defense industries becomes commonplace among a diverse and expanding universe of employers, from medical device makers to corporations like Xerox and BMW.
"Pay can easily hit six figures for top performers, and there's ample opportunity for advancement. But many systems engineers say they most enjoy the creative aspects of the job and seeing projects come to life."
"Systems Engineering, as a recognized discipline, is relatively young," Samantha Brown, president of INCOSE (the International Council on Systems Engineering), said in a joint statement with IBM, which has partnered with the University of Central Florida's IASE (Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering) to promote systems engineering curriculum and training to engineering students. "This fact provides the opportunity to those of us involved in advancing the profession to help shape the future and create a skilled workforce to meet the world's practical challenges."
A random job search May 14 on a few of the tech career job boards displayed a strong demand for systems engineers across the country. Take a look:
"At the heart of these products is a new level of innovation and a need for systems engineering expertise that cannot be underestimated," said Waldemar Karwowski, professor and chair of the University of Central Florida Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems. "We are preparing students in the IASE program to use the latest tools and technologies to turn complex ideas into reality."