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Systems Engineering, according to Kossiakoff, Sweet, Seymour, and Biemer (2011), involves an Engineering Management doctrine that focuses on how to build and maintain systems before they become redundant. It covers a wide range of subjects, including software engineering, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, organizational studies, project management, and cybernetics. The systems engineering purpose begins by identifying problems that must be addressed and then tailoring solutions to these problems, resulting in increased productivity in work processes. The main goal of system engineering is to ensure satisfaction of customer needs in an efficient, cost effective, and profitable manner. According to Gurunatha (2012), systems engineering can be divided into two aspects; technical processes and system management processes. The technical processes evaluates available information, defines effective measures, creates a behavior model & structure model, performs a trade-off analysis, and also creates a sequential build & test plan; while the systems management process has the role of organizing the technical effort in the systems life cycle. Knowledge of computer science, mathematical analysis, and engineering is vital for a systems engineer to be able to develop, to test, and evaluate software as well as fulfill all other responsibilities. Eisner (2011) asserts that the systems engineer not only develops technology but also customizes the technology to fit into the professional and personal needs. He also improves current processes and equipment integrating new hardware and software programs hence producing fully functional systems as per needs of the clientele.
The systems engineer is tasked with various roles and responsibilities such as:
Incorporating clients needs in the development and design of front-end systems and subsystems (Kossiakoff et al., 2011). Therefore, he must ensure that he strikes a balance between superior performance, affordability and schedule constraints.
Embarking on system designing by creating high-level system architecture and design whilst ensuring that the system meets the requirements in terms of performance and attaining the technical budget (Fraser & Gosavi, 2009). In this case, the engineer engages in simulation and assessment of potential risks that may be found in new systems or brought about by the manufacturing complications.
The systems engineer also performs validation and verification of the system by implementing the system verification test program (Jamshidi, 2009).
Writing system test plans & test procedures as well as troubleshooting system discrepancies. This is to mean that he is mandated to address the balance between conflicting objectives and applying new technology to the development of a new system while managing the inherent risks posed by the new system (Eisner, 2011).
Administration of logistics, cost control, operations, maintenance, and disposal of obsolete systems and development of user manuals and operator training materials (Fraser & Gosavi, 2009).
The systems engineer also ensures that there is an appropriate scheduling of resources and sustainment of technical personnel such as finance and IT groups. He also coordinates groups and irons out systems issues. He also seeks consensus in tackling system challenges and making recommendations. By so doing, he exercises team leadership and facilitates teamwork (Kossiakoff et al., 2011).
Systems engineers also document, organize, and improve systems engineering projects and processes (Gurunatha, 2012).
The systems engineer is also in charge of network administration, that is, to ensure that all systems aspects, from LAN networks to internal communication systems such as email, the Internet, WiFi, and phone systems, are functioning efficiently (Jamshidi, 2009).
Eisner, H. (2011). Essentials of project and systems engineering management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Fraser, J., & Gosavi, A. (2009). What is systems engineering? Retrieved from http://web.mst.edu/~gosavia/fraser_gosavi.pdf
Gurunatha, T. (2012). Systems engineering standards - The state of the art: Integrating DFR, DFSS and DFX in a systems engineering environment. Cupertino, CA: Happy About.
Jamshidi, M. (2009). System of systems engineering: Innovations for the 21st century. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Kossiakoff, A., Sweet, W., Seymour, S., & Biemer, S. (2011). Systems engineering
principles and practice (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
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