June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Continuing Professional Development
13.33.1 - 13.33.9
A Distributed Systems Engineering Curriculum for Working Engineers in California Introduction
As part of a workforce initiative grant, we are developing a catalog and curricular structure to enable working engineers in California to obtain Systems Engineering education from a variety of providers in a self-paced manner. The target audience for this effort is companies and individuals who require better Systems Engineering capabilities, but lack the resources and infrastructure for training. These include second-tier suppliers to the aerospace industry, biomedical engineering companies, IT, utilities, etc. A list of 44 “Systems Engineering Competencies” was identified and prioritized through surveys sent to a broad cross-section of California corporations. A search for California-based providers of Systems Engineering coursework (primarily universities, but also government and private organizations) resulted in 200+ courses from nominally 20 providers in a delivery format suitable for working professionals: evening, weekend, short-course, and distance-learning. These classes were cross- referenced to the competencies, which were further grouped into a core set of critical skills plus three Systems Engineering Concentrations: SE Management, SE Processes, and SE Techniques. By the end of this program, a pilot run of 100 students will have attended a 3-day SE Fundamentals seminar, which will provide both an overview of Systems Engineering and a “roadmap” to independently continue their Systems Engineering education. The physical embodiment of the roadmap is a course catalog that provides the cross referencing between Systems Engineering Competencies and suitable courses, as well as offers curricular guidelines based upon the SE concentrations.
The Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Systems Engineering Development Program is an initiative developed under a grant from the US Department of Labor and administered by the California Space Authority. The program is designed for degreed engineers who are currently employed, and who have a need and/or desire to enhance their knowledge, skills, and competencies in Systems Engineering. There is a growing concern about the decline of the US technical workforce in general, and especially in the field of Systems Engineering.1 As projects and products become more complex, the need for Systems Engineering expertise is ever increasing. While statistical evidence quantifying the specific needs for Systems Engineers is lacking, anecdotal stories clearly show that there is such a need. The target audience for this effort is companies and individuals who require better Systems Engineering capabilities, but lack the resources and infrastructure for training. These include second-tier suppliers to the aerospace industry, biomedical engineering companies, IT, utilities, etc.
For working engineers, the path to Systems Engineering education presents some challenges. There are currently seventy-five institutions of higher education in the United States that offer 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that incorporate Systems Engineering.2 Many of the Systems Engineering curricula provided by academia require a constrained time commitment, e.g. semesters-long courses taught during working hours, or weeks-long, full-time certificate programs. Additionally, they cover prescribed subjects irrespective of the innate
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