This interview was conducted in 2021.
Q1: Describe your current position/role.
Leader of the Product Definition Team – leading a team which is defining the scope and content for a software update project.
Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?
Together with my team we elaborated the features for the software update project in a very short time. It was a challenging time with many overtime hours, but everybody took part and in the end we made it.
Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?
Usually the focus of the management is on solutions and they don’t see the need in investing time and effort upfront in understanding the actual problem. So, convincing them of the need to invest enough time/money at the beginning is one of the biggest challenges.
Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?
Try to see as many different areas of Systems Engineering as possible
Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?
At the moment I don’t do anything special outside of work. At work I try to get as many new experiences in other areas as possible.
Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?
I would like to become a manager with direct reports as this would add a new challenge to the current tasks (currently it’s “only” matrix management without direct reports).
Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
Reading, traveling, cross stitching.
Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?
My manager told me about it and I found it a challenge to study for another exam after graduation.
Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?
It was important for my manager and I feel appreciated when I made it.
Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?
How complex the development of new systems can become when you have to develop a system that is integrated in a larger environment.
Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”
I have never been called a systems engineer, but I have always worked in that field (started as a Test Case Author, then Test Manager, now Product Definition Lead).