Everything you need to know about systems engineering

Systems engineering

If you love all things engineering (and can’t decide on a discipline coz you rate them all), systems engineering could be the perfect study and career path for you!

Systems engineering involves designing, building and managing complex systems. These systems could be electrical or mechanical, or even software or business based. It uses knowledge and skills from a variety of engineering disciplines to solve problems in the best way possible. A systems engineer can be involved in all sorts of projects, from satellite design to constructing bridges. It’s their job to make sure the system they create has a good life cycle and operates efficiently.

To be a great systems engineer, you need to have a solid understand of user experience, strong communications skills, and have a passion for problem solving.

Study paths

You’ll need a tertiary degree to land your dream job in this STEM area. Here are a few examples.

Dream jobs in system engineering

With a systems engineering qualification, you could work in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Cyber security
  • Defence
  • Infrastructure
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Product design
  • Renewable energy
  • Space
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation

Besides working as a systems engineer, you could also have a career as a:

  • Biosystems engineer
  • Communications systems engineer
  • Electronic systems engineer
  • Marine engineer
  • Reliability engineer
  • Simulation engineer
  • Software systems engineer
  • Test and evaluation engineer
  • Weapons and ordnance engineer

Hear from real-life systems engineers

Thomas Larkin, systems engineer

ANU engineering student Thomas Larkin student is working on a strong new conductive material that could be used in cars, aeroplanes or any machinery that needs strong components that also transfer electricity and heat. Read more about his STEM journey here.

Nishita Shetty, systems engineerNishita Shetty Systems Engineer at Palo Alto Networks

Nishita studied a Bachelor of Engineering with majors in Electronics and Telecommunications in India and now works in the cyber security industry as a systems engineer for Palo Alto Networks.

She shares more about her networking background and how it’s been beneficial in systems engineering here.

Monique Hollick, space systems engineer

As a space systems engineer, Monique works with two satellites – one that was launched in 2017 and one that is still being designed – as part of the Buccaneer program with Defence Science and Technology (DST).

These satellites help scientists and engineers, like Monique, understand the space environment, how satellites orbit (to avoid collisions) and how to improve radar technology.

Find out more about this awesome career here.

Huy Nguyen, systems and humanitarian engineer

Huy studies systems engineering at ANU and is now working on a new venture called Enabler Interactive – a high-tech platform that uses simulations, virtual reality and augmented reality to improve training for workers in disability and aged-care services.

Get his top tips for aspiring engineers here.

For more excellent engineering reads, head on over to our Careers with Engineering section.

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.

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