Information Systems Engineering: Leadership in a Growing Industry

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With technological systems becoming an essential part of all organizations, there is a need for professionals in leadership roles to manage them. Information systems engineering is an evolving field that encompasses the implementation and integration of complex data systems and has become integral in a wide range of industries, including in technology, healthcare, finance, and manufacturing.

Information systems engineers are leaders in their field and have the necessary skill set to help organizations incorporate technological trends into their information systems strategies. Individuals pursuing a leadership role in information systems engineering can prepare by earning an advanced degree in engineering management.

Understanding Information Systems Engineering

Information systems engineering merges engineering with leadership and includes the building and implementation of technological systems that support the different phases of a product’s life cycle. Information systems engineers are responsible for managing an organization’s technological needs, and they work closely with an engineering team and project manager to ensure effective development runs. By coordinating various teams, information systems engineers evaluate and test each of the various phases that make up a system to ensure its validity, assess risk, test performance, and manage the operating costs so that processes stay within a company’s budget.

Technical Responsibilities of an Information Systems Engineer

According to the website Field Engineer, an information systems engineer’s technical process involves the “integration of computers and its network under IT procedure,” and their management process involves organizing the “technical effort in their lifecycle.” At the same time, they must abide by the standard operating procedures (SOP) of an organization.

Information systems engineers are also responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of an organization’s system software components, as well as updating its technical infrastructure. They are able to achieve this through the process of debugging and by developing strategies with engineering teams to implement root-cause analysis (RCA) to prevent system failures and ensure back-up system recoveries. Root-cause analysis is the process of identifying the root causes of IT problems and issues, according to Numerify.

Information systems engineers begin the process of debugging through the isolation of source code that is causing a system to fail. By identifying the source code, the engineer can begin the process of rewriting the code so the issue does not recur. It is crucial that systems engineers isolate the problem so the next iteration of the code will not create further bugs within the system.

There are a variety of IT techniques that engineers can use to support RCA — machine learning techniques, natural language processing (NLP), and descriptive and diagnostic analytics. Information systems engineers in leadership roles must have the analytical insight to lead a team of engineers in the development, management, and implementation of IT solutions to improve the efficacy of an organization’s technical infrastructure.

Successful businesses must be able to interpret and manage a high volume of data, which requires an individual with a background in information systems engineering. These engineers develop and manage systems that help the organization utilize its data, such as transaction processing systems, management information systems, decision support systems, and executive support systems.

The Implementation of Various Information Systems

Information systems engineers are responsible for managing and leveraging information systems — management information systems (MISs), decision support systems (DSSs), and executive support systems (ESSs) — to provide an organization with the necessary data to develop actionable business strategies.

An MIS is defined as a “computer-based coherent arrangement of information aiding the management function,” according to Inc. An MIS allows a business to track sales, inventory, and the company’s overall performance through the development of a computerized database. A systems engineer develops an MIS primarily for data management through the implementation of code and utilizing the fundamental principles of data analysis. Information systems engineers can develop an MIS that cross-links inventory systems with accounting systems, for example, which allows employees from different departments to have access to real-time data.

A systems engineer can implement a DSS to help manage risk by analyzing quarterly reports or data to predict the potential effect of business decisions on the future growth of a company. According to Techopedia, an effectively designed DSS can pull from a variety of data, such as “raw data, documents, personal knowledge from employees, management and executive business models.” For example, the data can prove that investing money in marketing an existing product can bring a greater return on investment (ROI) than developing a new product to replace the underperforming product. An engineer must work closely with an organization’s leadership to address the specific data sets that can be effectively utilized to provide better decision-making through a DSS.

An ESS helps businesses forecast future trends in the marketplace through the evaluation of sales, department data, and costs. Unlike the DSS, systems engineers are responsible for developing an ESS that is accessible to the end-user. A successful system allows executives or managers to enter data into the system, which quickly analyzes the data to produce timelines, graphs, and reports that can easily be interpreted to aid in decision-making. Systems engineers should also provide training for executives and managers so they can effectively use the system to promote growth.

Trends in Information Systems Engineering

The adoption of technological advances by organizations is changing the field of information systems engineering. According to the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE), systems engineering needs to evolve to meet the technological demands of the 21st century, develop systems that are cost-effective, and build new technological systems at a faster pace. Two of the emerging trends impacting the field are artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

The increased sophistication of artificial intelligence is impacting the field of information systems engineering. Systems engineers are being hired to develop the complex technological systems needed throughout the different life cycle phases of AI technology. The future development of AI is dependent on systems engineers who have the skill set necessary to interleave AI system variants such as “machine learning, knowledge engineering, artificial reasoning, ontologies, optimization methods,” according to INCOSE.

The development of the internet of things is impacting the role of systems engineers in the field. IoT refers to the billions of technical devices — smartphones, computers, smartwatches, and other such electronic devices — that are able to communicate with one another in real-time. Organizations integrating IoT into their future research and development efforts will need to hire systems engineers to lead the company’s information systems strategy efforts.

According to the technology analytics company IDC, by 2025 there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, which means there will need to be information systems engineering professionals able to effectively run these systems and implement this new technology into organizations’ information systems strategies to help them meet their financial and technological goals.

How to Become a Leader in Information Systems Engineering

An advanced degree in engineering management can prepare professionals with the skills needed to become leaders in their field. By furthering their education, these professionals can develop the management skills needed to lead an engineering team throughout the different phases of a product’s life cycle. By earning an advanced degree, professionals can deepen their knowledge of the implementation of various design phases and the employment of information systems to keep up with the fast-paced development occurring within the field of information technology.

Professionals considering a career in information systems engineering can supplement their education with a certificate from INCOSE, which offers three certificates — ASEP, CSEP, and ESEP. The ASEP certificate demonstrates that an information systems engineer has the basic knowledge and competency to work in the field. The CSEP qualifies candidates to navigate and lead in the field of systems engineering. Those with over 20 years of experience in the field can qualify for the ESEP, which is the highest-level certification for a systems engineer.

Discover a Rewarding Career in Information Systems Engineering

Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management offers a unique program for professionals looking to advance their career in information systems engineering. The program offers courses that include Foundations of Engineering Management, Statistics for Engineering Management, Engineering Writing, and Information Systems Engineering. Prospective students can also decide to take an elective course in Engineering Leadership — with coursework that develops leadership skills.

Explore how Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management can prepare prospective students for leadership positions in the field of information systems engineering.

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Field Engineer, Systems Engineer
Houston Chronicle, Types of Information Systems in a Business Organization
Inc., Management Information System
INCOSE, Artificial Intelligence for Systems Engineering-AI4SE 2020
International Council on Systems Engineering, Systems Engineering Professional Certification
National Defense Industrial Association, SE of the Future: Shaping the Future of Systems Engineering
Numerify, Why Root Cause Analysis is an IT Must-Have
Ohio University, Online Master of Engineering Management
PayScale, Average Information Systems Engineer Salary
Techopedia, Decision Support System (DSS)