Becoming a Power Systems Engineer: Your Complete Guide

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Have you ever thought of becoming a systems engineer? Here is your complete guide on how you can raise to the top in this career field.

There are hundreds of thousands of engineers working in the U.S. today, and the field is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. There are several different types of engineering jobs you can pursue. One of the best ones to consider, though, is a career as a systems engineer. Never heard of this type of engineer before? Not sure if it’s a good fit for you? Read on to learn everything you need to know about this career so you can make an informed choice for yourself.

What is a Systems Engineer?

A systems engineer is a type of mechanical engineer. They play an important role in helping a variety of businesses (across all industries) become successful. These engineers are responsible for laying the foundation for various systems. They also oversee all aspects of the production of these systems, from conception to realization. Systems engineering is all about identifying problems and developing solutions. If you’re someone who loves to do this, this type of engineering career might make sense for you.

Why Choose This Career?

There are lots of reasons why you might want to make a career out of systems engineering. The following are some of the greatest perks that the career has to offer:

Increased Demand

The demand for engineers, in general, has increased over the last few years. Systems engineers are in particularly high demand, though. This has to do with the increase in the number of products being released each day. As more products get released, the need for engineers who can evaluate these products goes up as well.

High Starting Salary

Because they’re in high demand, systems engineers can enjoy a high starting salary. Many employers also offer great benefits packages to new engineers if you decide to go the corporate route after receiving your training.

Protect Consumers

Systems engineering isn’t just about making a lot of money. It’s also about helping people. With this career, you get to help companies take steps to ensure that consumers are safe. As products become more advanced, there’s more room for issues that could endanger consumers. Systems engineers play an integral role in detecting and preventing these issues before they have a chance to cause harm.

How to Become a Systems Engineer

Does the idea of a career in systems engineering appeal to you? If so, here are the steps you ought to take to turn your dream into a reality:

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

In order to work as an engineer of any kind, you’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university. While earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll take classes in a variety of subjects, including calculus, physics, project management, and linear algebra. The coursework definitely is not easy, but it’ll give you the tools you need to be a successful engineer in the future.

Consider a Master’s Degree

It’s not required, but many people are more willing to hire engineers who have also received a master’s degree. A master’s degree requires an additional two years of study, where you’ll dive deeper into subjects related to systems engineering. Common courses you’ll attend while receiving your master’s degree include systems architecture, systems design, and digital simulation techniques.

Gain Field Experience

Whether you choose to pursue a master’s degree or stop after your bachelor’s, you’ll likely need to spend some time gaining field experience before you can find a job. Field experience will give you an opportunity to see what working as an engineer is really like. You’ll also get a chance to learn and receive advice from experienced engineers.

Become a PE

To increase your chances of getting hired, you may want to consider becoming a Professional Engineer (or PE). In order to become a PE, you’ll need to earn a license from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. This license is optional but very respected in the engineering community.

Consider Additional Certifications

There are other certifications you can earn after receiving your degree that will make you more marketable. Various professional organizations offer these certifications, including the following:

  • International Council on Systems Engineering
  • Association for Facilities Engineering
  • North American Transportation Management Institute
  • International Ground Source Heat Pump Association

Again, these licenses are not required. They’re very respected and will help increase your credibility, though.

Finding Work as a Systems Engineer

There are lots of career opportunities available for systems engineers. The world needs more people who are experts in synchronous generators and can identify and handle problems with products before they reach the consumer. If you want to increase your chances of finding work, especially if you plan to work on an independent basis, here are some tips that will help you make yourself more hireable:

Network with Friends and Family

Talk to your friends and family members and let them know that you’re looking for engineering work. You never know when they’ll be able to put you in touch with a potential client.

Utilize Your Alumni Association

Make use of your college’s alumni association, too. Attend networking events that the association hosts and look for opportunities to connect with other graduates in similar fields.

Look Beyond Your Industry

Don’t be afraid to branch out beyond the engineering industry. There are lots of businesses in other fields that could use the help of an engineer to create and test their products.

Now that you know more about what it takes to become a systems engineer, do you think this is the right career path for you? If you choose to work in this field, you’ll have tons of opportunities to further your engineering knowledge and work with interesting people from all over the world. You’ll also get to enjoy a generous salary and lots of work opportunities. Whether you decide to pursue systems engineering or venture off into a new industry, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of our resources for self-employed individuals today. They’ll help you cover all your bases as you enter the workforce and begin navigating the ups and downs of working for yourself.