Are you a meticulous analyst and passionate about technology and problem-solving? Then, a career as a Systems Engineer is ideal for you.
Systems Engineers are professionals who interface the systems development process and stakeholders. They are responsible for designing and implementing complex computer systems, including software, hardware, and networks.
To work as a Systems Engineer in Australia, you usually need a bachelor's or postgraduate degree in systems engineering or a related field. Some employers also need work experience and registration with a professional body.
If you are interested in pursuing this career, then read this blog. Discover the skills, qualifications, courses, degrees, areas of employment, job description, salary, and steps to take to become a systems engineer in Australia.
1. What Is A Systems Engineer?
Systems Engineers work on various systems, from computer software, product development, and networks to physical and transportation systems, to build and maintain efficient systems.
They study the interconnections of systems and apply engineering principles to plan, develop, deploy, test, maintain, and optimize systems services.
They incorporate the opinions of the end users, management, suppliers, and specialty engineers to ensure a positive end-user experience.
2. Types Of Systems Engineers
Systems engineers work in computer, electrical, manufacturing, and mechanical systems to ensure components work together and meet the needs of the consumers.
Based on their role, the classification of Systems Engineers is as follows:
3. What Does A System Engineer Do?
Systems Engineers plan, develop, maintain, and configure an organization's network systems. Their exact duties depend on the project stage and the industry they work in.
You may expect to perform the following tasks daily:
Research and analyze system architecture, designs, specifications, diagrams, and data models to develop, configure and integrate computer systems.
Liaise with the stakeholders to determine the expected functions and objectives of the system.
Identify and understand the different parts of engineered systems, such as hardware, software, vehicles, and building infrastructure.
Specify requirements on how a system should perform.
Build the project plan, identify the required resources, and allocate tasks to team members to ensure timely completion.
Present system designs to the stakeholders before development.
Deliver optimum network performance while following business guidelines and standard operating procedures.
Design tests to confirm a system function as per the expectations.
Oversee the development of new systems right from the conception of an idea to its completion.
Use modelling techniques to evaluate performance and value to the end-user.
Develop prototypes and install new systems.
Provide ongoing technical support, fault-finding services, and ongoing maintenance.
Liaise with other engineering professionals throughout research and development.
Manage risk assessments, scheduling, and budgeting of projects.
Collaborate with various departments to ensure a smooth production process and proper maintenance of the systems.
Test and deploy systems to find problems and make necessary adjustments to improve efficiency.
Maintain and troubleshoot systems by monitoring existing systems, fixing issues, or upgrading existing software and hardware for better output.
Write maintenance reports during system checks, troubleshoot, and provide recommendations for efficiency enhancement.
Advise on enhancement to integrated hardware, software, communications, network operations, and operating systems.
4. Systems Engineer Skills
Systems engineers require a mix of hard and soft skills, including:
Comprehensive knowledge of physics, engineering, chemistry, and computer science
Proficiency in working with modelling software and specialized equipment.
High-level understanding of systems engineering software tools, operating systems, and system management tools
Cybersecurity skills to ensure safe and reliable networks.
Attention to detail.
Time management skills
Strong communication skills
Practical decision-making skills to make sound and economical business and technology investment decisions.
5. What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Systems Engineer?
Learning the job profile lets us determine what degree you need to be a systems engineer.
You usually need a relevant degree to work in a Systems Engineer profession. Additional certifications and registration with accredited professional associations can help you progress in your career.
Here are the educational qualifications you need to qualify for this role:
An undergraduate degree in a relevant field is the minimal requirement for entry-level positions. Consider completing a bachelor's degree in systems engineering, industrial engineering, computer engineering, or information systems.
Enrol in an internship program while studying to gain relevant expertise, work experience, and mentorship from qualified engineers to jumpstart your career.
Considering the competitive nature of the role, completing systems engineering certifications or a postgraduate degree such as a Master of Information Technology with a professional association will help build your skills and prepare you for leadership roles.
Become a member of a professional association like the Systems Engineering Society of Australia or Engineers Australia to stay updated on the latest news and opportunities and improve your job prospects.
6. How To Become A Systems Engineer In Australia?
Becoming a systems engineer in Australia usually requires a blend of education, experience, and certifications.
How do I start a career as a Systems Engineer? Use the below systems engineers roadmap as a guide to enter a career in systems engineering:
Step 1: Earn A Bachelor's Degree
System engineer jobs usually require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
Prospective systems engineers must complete a bachelor's qualification in systems engineering, software engineering, industrial engineering, system administration, information technology, or another related engineering discipline based on the industry they wish to work in.
Step 2: Gain Professional Work Experience
Hands-on experience is a must for systems engineers in Australia, as many employers prefer candidates with prior experience in a related field, such as project management or software development.
Therefore, prospective candidates must complete an internship in engineering or take engineering classes that offer laboratory activities.
Many engineering students complete internships while they study for their undergraduate programs. Alternatively, consider joining a firm at a junior/entry-level to develop valuable engineering skills and industry experience.
Step 3: Get Certified
In addition to qualifications, most employers seek candidates with additional training or certifications in systems engineering. They are a great way to showcase your skills and qualifications for this role.
Several professional organizations offer systems engineer certifications and training programs, such as the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and the Systems Engineering Society of Australia (SESA).
Systems Engineering Professional certification formally assesses students' career progress as they develop and apply systems engineering practices and knowledge. INCOSE offers SEP certification at three levels:
Associate Systems Engineering Professional (ASEP)
Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)
Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP)
Step 4: Join A Professional Organization
Becoming a member of professional associations, such as the Systems Engineering Society of Australia, or Engineers Australia, helps enhance your employability for the role.
Step 5: Earn A Graduate Degree
Though a graduate qualification is not mandatory to launch a career, it can help you advance and develop more specialized skills. Some employers prefer graduate degree holders for senior-level systems engineering or engineering management position.
The common areas to complete a master's degree include systems engineering, computer science, network engineering, and computer engineering. The University of South Australia offers a 1.5-year full-time "Masters of Engineering" qualification at the Mawson Lakes campus (Online-Mode).
Step 6: Consider Specialisation
After gaining a few years of experience working as a Systems Engineer, you can consider specialization in a relevant field. Below are some specializations you can consider progressing to senior roles and getting promoted at your company.
Computer Network Engineer
Computer Systems Integrator
7. The Most Common System Engineer Courses In Australia
Most companies prefer hiring a systems engineer with a 4-year bachelor's degree in Australia. However, graduates with an associate degree in a related field still have a chance to enter an entry-level role.
Below are standard courses you can consider pursuing to become a systems engineer in Australia.
Certificate IV in Information Technology (Networking) – TAFE NSW
Certificate IV in Information Technology (Cloud Computing) – AIICT
Certificate IV in Information Technology (Systems Administration Support) – TAFE NSW
Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial and Systems Engineering) – Curtin University
Graduate Diploma of Engineering – Australian Institute of Engineering
Master of Engineering (Electrical Systems) – The University of Melbourne
8. What Is The System Engineer Career Path In Australia?
According to Glassdoor, the system engineer's career path is as follows:
Systems Engineer II
Senior Systems Engineer (Mid-level Systems Engineer, Systems Engineer III) (2-4 years of experience)
Lead Systems Engineer or Systems Engineer IV (5-7 years of experience)
9. What Other Roles Can Systems Engineer Pursue?
Graduates from a relevant Systems Engineer can pursue any of the following roles:
ICT Support Technicians
Network support technician
Help desk specialist
10. Where Do Systems Engineers Work?
Systems engineering deals with engineering systems meant for public safety and efficiency. They work on projects including aircraft design, mining equipment, medical devices, power plants, and defence weapons.
Top Employers for System Engineer includes:
Professional, Scientific And Technical Services
Information Media And Telecommunications
Financial And Insurance Services
Part-time positions are very few in systems engineer jobs. Still, you can find short-term contracts and freelance opportunities in several industries.
Potential Employers for Systems Engineers in Australia:
Department of Defence
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications
11. Work Environment Of System Engineers
The work environment for Systems Engineers depends on their roles and where they work.
For instance, during the design phase, a systems engineer works in offices with other engineers to create the system's blueprint and integrate network architecture and system processes.
When employed in the aerospace and defence sectors, systems engineers may work in open-ground facilities and large plants, testing large-scale machines such as jet propulsion systems, robotic equipment, etc.
They may also work in factories to analyze processes or maintain manufacturing systems.
Systems engineers in the Computer and Technology industry work in server rooms or handle several hardware parts in IT settings. The role involves onsite and offsite work, so much travelling is involved.
In industries other than the above, Systems engineers may work outdoors to develop water delivery, transport, waste management systems, or mining.
Usually, full-time systems engineers work an average of 40 hours per week. However, they may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, when involved in project stages that take longer to complete, fix system issues, or meet deadlines.
While at work, they collaborate with various professionals, from researchers and salespeople to security experts and manufacturing employees. They must wear protective gear and adhere to health and safety regulations during production.
12. Job Outlook For System Engineers In Australia
Computer Network and Systems Engineers - ANZSCO ID 263111
Systems Engineer is a growing profession in Australia. These professionals are involved in building a complex system from conception to implementation. Working in project teams, they focus on developing, designing, and managing complex systems.
Being a Systems Engineer, you can specialize in various business sectors such as manufacturing, mining, or computer and technology. Opportunities also exist to work as a consultant or a lecturer in academic institutions.
As you gain experience, it is easy to progress to a managerial position like an operations manager, project manager, or factory manager.
Due to its high demand, the career offers exciting career prospects. The government projects moderate growth in this profession in the coming years. According to SEEK, Systems Engineers can expect a lot of work in the next five years, with estimated job growth of 26.2%.
Around 93% of Computer Network and Systems Engineers work full-time for an average of 42 hours per week. It is comparable to the standard of all jobs (44 hours per week).
Main Industries Of Employment
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services - 46.2%
Information Media And Telecommunications - 9.3%
Financial And Insurance Services - 6.8%
Public Administration And Safety - 6.3%
Other Industries - 28.5%
Employment Percentage Across Australia
Around 86% of Computer Network and Systems Engineers live in capital cities. Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory have the largest share of employment.
New South Wales - 37.5%
Victoria - 28.8%
Queensland - 12.8%
South Australia - 5.0%
Western Australia - 9.2%
Tasmania - 0.9%
Northern Territory - 0.5%
Australian Capital Territory - 5.3%
Age And Gender
The average age of Systems Engineers is 38 years, and most are between 35 and 44 years. Females constitute only 7% of the workforce which is 41 percentage points below the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.
13. How Much Is a Systems Engineer's Salary In Australia?
According to Pay Scale, the average system engineer's salary is AU$ 76,298 annually. Several factors determine the salary of a Systems Engineer, such as:
The industry you work for (For example, computer systems engineers earn relatively higher than product or transportation systems engineers.
Your qualifications (A systems engineer with a degree is likely to make more than someone with a VET qualification)
the complexity of the role and additional responsibilities
Location (you have higher salary prospects in metro areas),
Employment sector (Income level varies across different employment sectors, including private, government, and commercial sectors.)
Apart from these factors, some employers pay overtime when you work additional hours. In contrast, others offer bonus packages at the year's end.
Salary based on Work Experience
When starting a role, your remuneration package can be low due to your minimal experience and skills. However, it may increase as you gain experience working in the industry for a couple of years, get additional qualifications, and develop specialized skills.
Entry-level Systems Engineers (<1-year experience) - AU$63,609 per year
Early career Systems Engineers (1-4 years of experience) - AU$67,385 per year
Mid-career Systems Engineers (5-9 years of experience) - AU$81,588 per year
Experienced Systems Engineers (10-19 years of experience) - AU$91,187 per year
In their later career (20 years and above) - AU$98,247
Systems Engineers earn higher salaries in the following cities:
Sydney Central Business District NSW - $129,675 per year
Rockhampton QLD - $128,437 per year
Perth, WA - $123,165 per year
Brisbane QLD - $121,772 per year
Melbourne VIC - $116,010 per year
Adelaide SA - $114,492 per year
Sydney NSW - $113,227 per year
Canberra ACT - $108,245 per year
Russell ACT - $96,225 per year
14. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Should You Study A Systems Engineering Course?
Systems engineering involves building and operating complex, large-scale systems ranging from a power plant to an aeroplane. It is one of the main reasons why the field lures several engineers.
With more and more people using electronic devices, and computers, the role of Systems engineering is becoming more critical today. The Systems Engineering course provides knowledge and a specific skill set to manage the software for these devices.
Undergoing the course, you get a good understanding of the systems engineering process and its applications in different sectors. Furthermore, the course prepares you for more advanced systems design, analysis, and project management courses.
What Is The future of Systems Engineering?
Systems engineering has been around for decades, gaining more and more popularity worldwide. As we use advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and explore the possibility of other planets, systems engineering will become more important in years to come.
Systems Engineers focus on understanding how systems work and the interaction between humans and complex systems to make more reliable, efficient, and safe systems.
Considering Systems Engineers' value to society, they can expect more job opportunities in software design, robotics, mechanical engineering, and automation across Australia's major cities and rural regions.
Is A System Engineer an IT Job?
Systems engineering is mainly seen as an IT job, as it involves designing, building, and upkeeping software, hardware, or other components of a computer system and integrating them into a complex computer system.
However, systems engineering is not just limited to IT. This broad and interdisciplinary field may be used in other industries such as defence, manufacturing, mining, aerospace, automotive, or healthcare.
Systems Engineers are equipped with a range of technical and analytical skills and knowledge that they can use to design and maintain complex systems across many sectors across Australia.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Systems Engineer?
The time needed to become a systems engineer in Australia varies based on various factors, such as:
Your level of education
Your work experience
Your career goals
Usually, Systems Engineer must have four years of bachelor's degree in systems engineering or a related field such as electrical engineering, computer science, or software engineering.
The duration to enter the role may increase if you wish to pursue a postgraduate qualification, attend training courses, or earn professional certifications in Systems Engineering (CSEP, ASEP) to further your skills and knowledge in systems engineering.
Once qualified, work experience also holds importance in becoming a systems engineer. Many employers prefer hiring candidates with prior experience in software development, project management, etc.
Thus, you need at least 4 -years to become a systems engineer. It may take longer if you plan to further your skills and knowledge and build work experience based on your background, career goals, and opportunities.
Does The System Engineer Do Coding?
Systems engineering may require some programming (not significant coding) based on their specific role and the project needs they are working on.
As some Systems Engineering roles focus on the design, development, testing, and upkeep of complex computer systems, you may require writing or amending code to ensure that the system works seamlessly with other system components as expected.
Systems engineers may require coding skills to build and maintain complex computer systems. Still, the extent to which they do coding depends on the role and the requirements of the project or organization they work for.
Can Anyone Become A Systems Engineer?
Yes. Anyone fulfilling the minimum educational requirement for a systems engineer can pursue this profession. You need a mix of education, training or certifications, and work experience to enter a role.
A strong background in a related field, such as electrical engineering, software engineering, or computer science, and strong problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills are necessary to start this career.
Though anyone can aspire to become a Systems Engineer, the path to becoming one can be challenging and may not be an ideal career path for everyone.
Although success in this profession requires immense hard work, dedication, and ongoing learning and development, if you are passionate about technology and problem-solving, this profession can be gratifying and worthwhile.
Do Systems Engineers Use CAD?
Systems engineers may use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to execute daily tasks. However, the type of CAD tool used depends on the system they design or develop.
CAD is a software tool commonly used in engineering and design to create two-dimensional or three-dimensional models of a system or product. The tool lets users:
Design and test the mechanical and electrical components of a system.
Simulate the system's performance and behaviour under different conditions
and communicate designs and ideas to team members, customers, or suppliers.
Prepare detailed technical documentation.
Assist in the production or manufacture of the system.
Although CAD tools are not required for all systems engineering roles, they can be valuable in several aspects of systems engineering, including creating, testing, and communicating designs.
Do System Engineers Get Paid Well?
Yes. Systems engineers draw higher salaries as their roles require specialized technical knowledge and experience. The salary for a systems engineer is influenced based on numerous factors, such as an individual's education, certifications, experience level, location, employer, etc.
In Australia, the average annual salary for a systems engineer is AU$ 76,298 per year. Some earn as much as AU$ 98,247 per year based on location and work experience.
A career in systems engineering is lucrative and rewarding; you must also consider other factors, such as work-life balance, career advancement opportunities, and job satisfaction, when assessing potential job opportunities.
Which Country Is Best For a System Engineer?
Location is a key determining factor. Countries with robust technology sectors and high demand for systems engineers usually offer higher salaries.
Here are some of the top nations worldwide where Systems engineering is in high demand and can be a worthwhile career choice.
United States: The country is home to several top tech companies worldwide, leading them in technology and innovation.
Canada: The country boasts a strong technology sector and a high living standard, making it an excellent place for systems engineers.
Germany: Known for its vital manufacturing and engineering sectors, Germany is another destination worth considering.
United Kingdom: UK is a highly sought-after place for Systems Engineers as it has a thriving technology sector and is home to the top tech companies.
Australia: Its robust technology sector and many new opportunities make it one of the best places for systems engineers.
Singapore: Popular for its robust technology and engineering sectors, and a hub for innovation and development, Singapore is another ideal option to work and live.
Ultimately, the best country among them is the one that suits your individual preferences and career goals. To find the right fit, ensure you research the employment market, salary expectations, and quality of life in each potential country.
Is It Hard To Be A System Engineer?
A Systems Engineer's lengthy career path, including a 4-year bachelor's degree, advanced degrees and certifications, and work experience, may make it challenging to pursue the career.
As a systems engineer, you may face ongoing challenges such as troubleshooting technical issues, adapting to business and technology requirements changes, and keeping systems running smoothly.
Being accountable for designing, implementing, and maintaining complex computer systems critical to the organization's operations makes the profession demands.
Moreover, strong technical knowledge, analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and the habit of staying updated with evolving technologies and industry trends are essential requirements for this role.
However, a Systems engineer's profession can be highly satisfying and lucrative for those enthusiastic about technology and problem-solving.
How To Become A Systems Engineer Without A Degree?
Though having a bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering or a related field is a common requirement to enter the role, having a range of industry and vendor certifications may substitute for formal qualifications.
To strengthen your job application, consider working in an entry-level role to gain knowledge and professional experience desirable to work in this role.
Systems Engineers are in demand across several industries to develop a system that creates a product from raw materials and troubleshoots system issues.
The qualifications needed to become a systems engineer can be rigorous. They may require many years of education and work experience.
However, an occupation in systems engineering can be gratifying for individuals passionate about technology and problem-solving.
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