Overview of a Systems Engineer’s Role, Responsibilities and Certifications

System engineer checking a server.

A Systems Engineer is a technical professional who is responsible for designing, developing, maintaining, and managing an organization’s computer systems. Job duties vary depending on the company, but typically involve overseeing the development of network systems, configuring servers and workstations, and troubleshooting complex system problems.

What is a Systems Engineer?

A Systems Engineer is a technical professional who is responsible for all aspects involving an organization’s complex computer network systems. They must utilize their knowledge of systems design to identify system performance issues and devise solutions to increase the effectiveness of IT systems. Systems Engineers must also be able to communicate with other IT professionals and stakeholders in order to understand their business needs and create effective solutions.

What Does a Systems Engineer Do?

As a Systems Engineer, your primary duty is to design and maintain complex systems that meet the organization’s needs. You rely on technology as well as engineering principles and procedures to analyze, document, test and troubleshoot these systems. Aside from being knowledgeable in technical areas such as network architecture, hardware design, and system programming, you must be able to think strategically about how systems fit into the organization’s overall goals.

Responsibilities also include lifestyle and cost-benefit analysis to evaluate different approaches and determine the best fit for enterprise systems. You need to understand and assess dedicated and distributed computing environments, including physical components, system software configurations, and related communications infrastructures. Your organizational skills must help you plan, manage and document software installs, upgrades, and migrations, as well as optimize the usage of servers by defining appropriate operating platforms for assigned applications. You may be asked to audit existing systems for security issues or lead efforts to develop mitigation plans.

What are the official qualifications/certifications in Systems Engineering?

Qualifying for a position as a Systems Engineer typically requires at least a baccalaureate degree in a related field such as computer science, electrical engineering, or information systems. There are several certifications that are well-known and recognized in the industry such as Certified Systems Engineer (CSE) or Certified Systems Administrator (CSA). These certifications validate an individual’s knowledge of IT systems, production techniques, and best practices necessary for success in the profession.

In addition to these certifications, there are other qualifications an individual can obtain to demonstrate expertise in the systems engineering field. For instance, earning a Six Sigma Black Belt or becoming certified by PMI’s Project Management Professional program: such proven evaluations of professional knowledge add credentials to one’s successful career path and help distinguish candidates from other job seekers.

What are the daily responsibilities of a systems engineer?

Systems Engineers typically begin their day by reviewing any alerts or notifications from the computer systems and troubleshooting any issues that may have arisen. They will analyze system performance logs and utilize various software tools as needed to ensure that the hardware and/or software elements are working properly. Systems Engineers must work closely with Development, Quality Assurance, Production, Client Support, and other relevant teams in order to understand customer demands and effectively prioritize engineering tasks.

Systems Engineers must be able to identify, diagnose and troubleshoot any and all issues that may arise with a system’s hardware or software components. As part of their daily duties, they may upgrade computer systems, review configurations for completeness and accuracy, analyze performance logs to ensure optimal operation of the setups, and establish policies for resource utilization. The Systems Engineer must also remain up-to-date on evolving technologies in order to make informed decisions when maintaining or replacing computer networks or related components.

What other skills should be developed alongside technical knowledge?

Having technical knowledge is an essential element of being a Systems Engineer, but it’s also important to maintain excellent communication and organizational skills. Systems Engineers must be able to effectively convey technical ideas and design solutions to other stakeholders in the company and must evaluate potential risks associated with different systems designs. They must also have a knack for problem-solving and troubleshooting since, no matter how well-engineered a system may be, unexpected problems are likely to arise.

System Engineers must also possess excellent organizational skills. They must be able to effectively manage multiple projects and prioritize tasks that need to be completed. With so many complex tasks at hand, it’s important for systems engineers to stay organized and move forward with their day-to-day responsibilities. Last but not least, Systems Engineers must be comfortable working in a team environment and collaborating with others to arrive at workable solutions. It’s essential that Each individual has the ability to think critically and communicate effectively in order for a successful outcome.


We’re hiring for multiple openings for system engineers throughout the United States. NESC Staffing has an A+ grade from the Better Business Bureau, was awarded by Forbes as America’s Best Recruiting and Temporary Staffing Firm, and has been successfully putting people to work since 1984. You can see our latest opportunities here or contact us directly for anything that has just come in.