From Being Successful as an Engineer


Many ideas from systems work should be applied more widely to all engineering. All of your work can benefit by your understanding them.

For the past ten or fifteen years the term "systems" has been a fashionable one in engineering. The interest in systems grew principally from the war and large-scale defense projects, particularly missiles and aircraft. Large NASA projects such as "Apollo" have continued to stimulate professional interest in the systems concept.

In brief, systems engineering is putting together large and complex groups of equipment to operate in a specific environment, usually with people, so as to accomplish better some goal.

Having read the past few chapters, you'll ask, "What's new about that?" That question has been raised by quite a few experienced engineers. Except for its emphasis on the words "large" and "complex" this definition could apply to almost any project. What has happened since the war is that project size and complexity have so increased that earlier integration techniques and practices are no longer adequate. Before going into these things further, let us look at some examples of systems.

If your project involves designing a single machine for some factory, few would call it systems work. But if you were to start with a whole manufacturing process (to be set up in a new building) and determine how the machines and the entire process flow were to be designed, this project could be considered systems work. In addition to designing or selecting the individual machines, you...

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Topics of Interest

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