What does a Principal Systems Engineer do?
A Systems Engineer combines an understanding of both engineering and management. A Systems Engineer works with various departments to manage and develop systems within a company. From creating and implementing systems software to analyzing data to improve existing ones, a Systems Engineer increases productivity in the workplace. A Systems Engineer works to balance various aspects of a project, most of them complex issues such as architecture and system dynamics.
A Systems Engineer is generally found in large corporations and works with other industry professionals to meet the needs of customer and clients. They usually begin as an engineer from one of the many fields, and as they gain expertise in the industry use their ability to conceptualize the big picture and advance to the position of Systems Engineer. A bachelor's degree is required for the position, with many holding advanced degrees in Computer Science, Software Engineering or related engineering fields. Individuals with a firm, holistic understanding of both the operational and scope aspects of projects tend to excel in this position.
- Mentor and train other engineers throughout the company and seek to continually improve processes companywide
- Work closely with engineering professionals within the company to maintain hardware and software needed for projects to be completed efficiently
- Provide clear goals for all areas of a project and develop steps to oversee their timely execution
- Be proactive about challenges or constraints within a project and seek to manage them accordingly
- Provide detailed specifications for proposed solutions including materials, manpower and time necessary
- Assist other department engineers in creating practical demonstrations of proposed solutions and demonstrating them to other members of the team
- Work alongside project management teams to successfully monitor progress and implementation of initiatives
- Establish milestones for necessary contributions from departments and develop processes to facilitate their collaboration
- Experience developing engineering applications for a large corporation
- Demonstrated project development and leadership skills
- Master's degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering is preferred
- Current understanding of best practices regarding system security measures
- Professional work experience in team building and project managing
- Advanced education and application of business analysis techniques and strategy
- Professional experience and a high-level understanding of working with various operating systems and their implications
- Experience with software engineering, customer experience and civil engineering preferred
- Ability to work together with teams from several departments to facilitate the orderly execution of a proposed project plan
How much does a Principal Systems Engineer make?
Principal Systems Engineer Career Path
Learn how to become a Principal Systems Engineer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Principal Systems Engineer Insights
“My team was fun and casual and I got to make an impact on improving their productivity.”
“Leadership cares and did best to try to make it fun and interesting even with limitations.”
“Some projects within the company are not as good as others (little development and too much maintenance work”
“being proactive is good but you have to analyse situation and sometimes decided to not do anything”
“Even though i worked on the East Coast their response times and professionalism was top notch!”
“Support from AVP and SVP to do your work and encouragement to have a good work/life balance”
“No work and no learning so it leads to less career growth because of no work”
“I don't have any cons working here until and unless we manage our work life balance properly”
Principal Systems Engineer Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of systems engineers
A systems engineer spends their day keeping the systems of an organization running properly. It might look like designing a new data security system from the ground up or maintaining and testing existing programs in a manufacturing plant. They usually work with others who have specific roles in keeping the systems running well.
Yes, systems engineers are able to directly apply the skills they acquired in their education. Systems engineers are in high demand in a wide variety of industries, including higher education, manufacturing, software, pharmaceuticals, and many others. With certifications, systems engineers can specialize and narrow their focus for advancement.
A challenging aspect of working as a systems engineer is the need to be detail-oriented and have a firm grasp of software systems and their operations. They typically work in an office during business hours but may need to work after hours for specific projects or when problems arise. They will need to work cooperatively with many other employees to implement the company systems.