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INSIGHT into the state of Systems Engineering Professionalization

by Communications Team on April 21, 2012  •   Print This Post Print This Post   •   

Not only was last night our monthly INCOSE Chesapeake dinner lecture at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with Michael J. Kormos of PJM Interconnection but it was also when I was alerted by email that the most recent issue of INCOSE INSIGHT was available via INCOSE Connect.

INSIGHT is always a treat to read. It’s professional, informative, and possesses a balanced scope with regard to the range of SE topics it typically covers. This issue, the first of four for Volume 15 was especially engaging and celebratory. It started with President John Thomas sharing his belief that the organization needs to shape the world’s perception regarding the ever increasing value of both, Systems Engineering as a fundamental scientific discipline and Systems Engineer Professionals as skilled practitioners who can tackle the world’s big problems. He furthers that as this happens our organization will grow and with that we’ll be party to an ever increasing diversity amongst our membership. This we should welcome he says because it will also increase the reach of the organization. By doing so he concludes will help INCOSE move to the next level.

This issue’s special feature is one that is especially poignant and is very much a celebration of the field and those on the vanguard…The SE Author. Speaking about SE Authors and the books they write theme editor Cecilia Haskins states very eloquently that Authoring a book is not an everyday event. Indeed, it is something that most of us consider beyond the realm of personal accomplishment”.

The special feature “Meets” the following SE Authors”

Erik   Aslaksen Scott   Jackson
Ben   Blanchard Joe   Kasser
Dennis   Buede Harold   “Bud” Lawson
John   Clymer Mark   Maier
Olivier   de Weck James   Martin
Charles   Dickerson Gerrit   Muller
Avner   Engel Gregory   Parnell
Tom   Gilb Andy   Sage
Jeffrey   O. Grady Walt   Sobkiw
Derek   Hitchins Charles   Wasson
Jon   Holt Tim   Weilkiens
Ivy   Hooks  

 While the Special Feature is a must read the highpoint of this issue for me was Gerard Fisher’s article on INCOSE Certification.  In his article Mr. Fisher explains that in 2011 the SEP program surpassed 1,000 certifications. He expands this discussion to note that as of January 2012 INCOSE had reached a total of 1093 Active SEPS; ASEPs, CSEPs, and ESEPs (See Figure 1.). As the chart shows there has been a dramatic uptick in the amount of individuals who have been certified through this program over the last three years.

This can be attributed to a number of factors but chief among them are MOAs between INCOSE academia, and industrial partners. As part of these of agreements the System Engineering students and personnel within these schools and companies are provided with incentives and training to help them achieve this milestone. Another, contributing factor for this increase is the fact that the United States Department of Defense has recognized not only Systems Engineering but also INCOSE and their certification program as crucial to the future success of big ticket weapons systems acquisition and development. This fact was corroborated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering Mr. Stephen Welby when he spoke at both INCOSE Chesapeake’s June 2011 Dinner Lecture and September 2011Systems Engineering Professionals of Maryland Recognition Dinner. This milestone is significant alone but what anyone should be impressed with is the increasing speed at which these numbers are climbing. In early 2008, the program just passed 200 certifications. The growth rate between then and now is nearly 550%. That’s an average yearly increase of approx. 138%. Even if that year over year growth percentage just remains static the growth in the amount of certifications would still be pretty amazing. At this rate we would be at almost 15,000 certified Systems Engineering Professionals by the beginning of 2015.


Larry L Little October 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

As an ESEP I have run into an issue. My current customer now has a set of Standard Labor Categories that requires CSEP Certification for all of its Journeyman and Senior Systems Engineering positions. As an ESEP this is problematic. Per INCOSE Level Designation Guidelines I am not allowed to claim multiple designations specifically CSEP as an ESEP. As there are so few ESEPs many of our customers do not recognize ESEP as equivalent to/advanced beyond CSEP. Effectively this disqualifies me for these positions. Also I have some knowledge about how proposals are graded and quite often an evaluator may use a search function to determine if the proposer has certain terminology in their proposal. For instance they may search for CSEP to determine if the Systems Engineers qualify, and miss those that are ESEPs. I recommend that ESEPs be allowed to put CSEP also in their resume to avoid this problem. (I do but only as a caveat that explains that ESEP is a step above the CSEP designation and that I fully qualify as a CSEP)

John Cheresnowsky March 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Has there been any resolution to the ESEP/CSEP issue that Larry cited above?

I share his concern and I am about to embark on certification. ESEP fits my skill and experience level, but I also have the same concern, i.e. that my employer does not recognize it at all, nor as a qualification for CSEP.


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