Systems engineers design computer systems for organizations. Sometime referred to as computer systems architects, these professionals ensure the integrity, security and functionality of the computer systems and networks they design. Systems engineers use one of several methodologies to design computer and networking systems from conception to completion, commonly referred to as the system development life cycle.
Systems engineers start by understanding and analyzing the needs of their employer to build computer systems or networks. This includes the requirements of those using the systems, its capacity, security issues and the financial abilities of the employer. After engineers determine the company's needs, they prepare documentation to estimate costs and the timeline to design and implement the computer systems.
Systems engineers begin the process by creating a logical design of the system. They use software and flowcharts -- referred to as object-oriented design -- to figure out how the system will best operate. After the logical design is complete, the physical design begins. Physical design includes input and output requirements of the system, processing speed and storage requirements. The engineer also determines how the system is controlled to successfully implement security, backup and recovery if information on the system is compromised or lost.
Documentation and Implementation
After the system is designed, systems engineers document the process for information technology professionals to follow and install the system. Some systems engineers are involved with the entire process, while other oversee and direct staff who perform the implementation. Once the system is installed and complete, systems engineers create training materials and train users on how to use the system.
With the system operational and functioning, systems engineers continue to monitor the system to detect and address issues or errors. They act as a leader to staff members who maintain the system, providing guidance on troubleshooting and fixing issues. Computer systems are often tested repeatedly to ensure its integrity and functionality. To continue to improve the computer systems and networks, systems engineers often evaluate new technologies that could potentially improve its functionality.
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