The role and skills of the IT systems engineer

The role and skills of the IT systems engineer

Professional figures in the technological society: the IT systems engineer

The era of digital transformation has changed all our habits, the way we live and even the way we work. The technological revolution that accompanies the process of innovation has resulted in the disappearance of some professions considered obsolete in the new context, but it has also configured new specialized job profiles capable of governing digital systems. Among these new professional figures, the most comprehensive and sought-after is certainly that of the IT systems engineer, that is, a highly specialized technician who represents the professional evolution of the hardware technician and the software technician; in fact, he includes the skills of both, with particular reference to the architecture of computer networks and systems that manage large amounts of data through communication infrastructures. So many companies now find themselves in need of the search and selection of an IT systems engineer.

What the IT systems engineer is responsible for

The computer systems engineer has the task of creating IT systems and the responsibility of managing them efficiently by performing all those tasks necessary to keep them functioning and secure. In particular, the main activities pertaining to this job profile involve the design and implementation of computer networks, that is, the infrastructure necessary for certain systems to be interconnected and communicating, and in addition, the maintenance, installation and updating of the various software and hardware components of the network are part of his or her role. The IT systems engineer, therefore, must:

  • design and implement client-server systems, meaning a network architecture in which a client, or terminal, connects to a server, in many cases also identified as a host, for the use of shared resources that may be hardware and/or software;
  • manage servers, computer systems, networks, hardware and software; master the main operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac, Unix;
  • know the main cloud platforms whose use today is widespread because of the many advantages they offer companies, such as the use of shared resources, flexibility, but above all the possibility of using advanced IT services without having to purchase and manage expensive hardware and software directly;
  • assemble the various hardware components and perform installation and configuration procedures of all components of the local computer network;
  • check the effectiveness of the computer systems with constant routine and extraordinary maintenance, i.e., check for proper functionality with routine testing, even remotely; keep the network and its components up to date; perform periodic backups to secure the data and protect them from damage or malfunction; and finally, prepare plans for recovery of the same data in emergency situations;
  • implement network and data security systems, i.e., manage cyber security through firewalls and access control systems to prevent breaches and/or unauthorized entry, defining procedures for obtaining recognition of authorized users. Configures authentication and login systems, controls accessibility to the network (whether Internet or intranet) and compliance with privacy regulations in the processing of data stored in the system.

Search and selection of IT systems engineer

No less important than the technical skills, for the completion of the professional profile, are to be considered the soft skills, also called transversal skills, i.e., those personal attitudes that allow the individual to integrate into the environment, to have a positive and proactive attitude towards work and colleagues, to be identified as a reference point in teamwork, to have organizational skills and to be creative.

In fact, the systems engineer, as a network manager, must therefore have communication and problem solving skills to be able to quickly identify the defect and overcome it as quickly as possible. These qualities are indispensable for coping with problems, correcting errors, and being recognized as collaborative and supportive of other users. In the search and selection of an IT systems engineer, knowledge of technical English is also important; a bachelor’s degree is not required, although many companies direct their interest preferably to graduates in Computer Science, electrical engineering, and so on. In fact, a degree in computer science or similar is sufficient for entry to the position of systems engineer. For a systems engineer it is not essential to know programming languages such as Java and PHP, however, having some familiarity with programming concepts and scripts is useful and appreciated in the search and selection phases of the IT systems engineer. Added value, because they are highly valued by companies, are the courses and certifications issued by Cisco, Microsoft, Linux, and so on.

Working hours

Generally speaking, the working hours, if directly employed by a company, fall within the normal traditional full time, however, precisely because of the delicacy and responsibilities associated with the role he or she holds, the IT systems engineer provides for forms of flexibility that allow him or her to carry out maintenance and updating operations in the evenings or on weekdays, including holidays, so as not to interfere with normal work activities. There is also the option of h24 on-call for emergencies and/or systems breaches.

Career paths

In a reality where we are always all, or almost all, connected to the Internet, choosing to use and deepen one’s IT skills to become an IT systems engineer can certainly be indicated as a choice in line with the job market, given the constant increase in demand for this professional figure. An IT systems engineer finds a place in all realities that use computer systems for their operations, so the search and selection of an IT systems engineer concerns businesses and offices of all types, banks, public agencies and, of course, data centers that house the servers, memories and all the equipment necessary to control processes and precisely why they work 24 hours a day. Job openings for such a professional figure can also come from companies that offer so-called IT outsourcing services, that is, they take on the task of managing the computer systems of other companies. The professional outlets of an IT systems engineer, therefore, can have different connotations; in fact, for the tasks he or she has to perform, he or she can be a figure directly employed by the company, or he or she can be an employee at an external IT company in turn contracted by a company or an institution, and finally he or she can also be identified as an independent external consultant, who can therefore work simultaneously for several principals.

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