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How a recent graduate passed INCOSE ASEP first time

How do you go from 'know a little about Systems Engineering as a graduate' to an 'INCOSE ASEP practitioner'?

Meet Maggie, a student of SOSE and newly minted INCOSE ASEP'er!

She passed the exam first time and is the perfect case study on how new Systems Engineers can level up their career, and increase their employment prospects.

Read her story below. ⬇️

What’s your background?

I graduated in May 2022 from the University of Central Florida with bachelor’s degrees in industrial engineering and mathematics. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an engineer, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I chose IE because of its interdisciplinary nature, bringing technical engineering concepts together with elements of economics, psychology, and business, as well as its emphasis on efficiency and continuous improvement. The math degree was more of a passion project; I like mental puzzles and brain games.

Why did you want to move into Systems Engineering? 

I see systems engineering and systems thinking as “the glue that holds it together”. I’m intrigued by the holistic life cycle view of systems engineering and its ability to drive the creation and improvement of theinnovations around us. Similar to my reasoning behind choosing IE, I’m drawn to systems engineering for its interdisciplinary nature and application of a broad range of topics.

What steps did you take to learn about SE?

During undergrad, I had two classes—Systems Engineering and Systems Simulations--that laid the foundation of my systems engineering knowledge. Both courses really piqued my interest, so I chose to pursue ASEP certification to gain better understanding of the INCOSE handbook and to have a credential demonstrating my knowledge of systems engineering fundamentals.

What was difficult about learning SE? / What were the challenges?

The shift in thought required by systems engineering is a challenge, but it’s also the coolest part of SE in my opinion. You have to remove what you know and expect from a product or process to be able to objectively and thoroughly think about the system at hand. Learning how to develop

this kind of omnipotent view is tough and definitely something that I’m still learning.

How did The School of Systems Engineering help you on your journey?

When I decided that I wanted to pursue ASEP certification, I started searching for any courses or references that could help me prepare. I found a reddit post from three years ago by Connor, SOSE’s founder, about his success with the exam and the course he’d created. From the introductory content available, I could tell that the course was worth the investment to help me on my study journey.

One aspect of the 'How to Nail the INCOSE ASEP Exam' that I most appreciated was that it was an

accompaniment to reading the handbook, and not a replacement for independent reading. The videos were concise and covered all necessary topics. I used them to confirm my understandings from reading and to add additional perspective from someone who has taken the exam and practices systems engineering.

What was the most useful thing when revising?

My favorite part of the course was being part of a community of learners. There is a message board with all members where you can ask questions. At one point, I was curious about the difference between top-down and incremental integration, as they seem rather similar as described in the handbook. I dropped a quick question into the chat and I got to hear some explanations that helped to differentiate the two.

What’s your career ambitions as an SE? 

I want to pursue systems engineering in the aerospace industry. As one of the industries that helped develop systems engineering as we know it, the aerospace industry is a great place to be an SE. Growing up in Central Florida and seeing rocket launches on a regular basis, I’ve had a fascination with space from a young age. As I’ve grown into an avid traveler, I’m increasingly aware of and intrigued by the aviation industry. Whether my career contributes to planes, rockets, or telescopes, I’ll be happy.

What tips would you share with others?

The handbook is dense and it’s not exactly a quick and easy read. Plan to read it twice: once to take notes and get a handle on the concepts, and a second time to solidify your understanding and pick up on some of the nuances and connections within the handbook.

What’s next on your learning list?

Next up is a master’s in systems engineering. I chose to not go right into a master’s program immediately after undergrad because I wanted it to be a deliberate decision and career move, even though I knew I would pursue further education at some point. Studying for the ASEP exam has confirmed my ideas that systems engineering is the field that I wish to pursue and gave me the push to start looking at master’s programs.

Interested in levelling up your career?

Sit our 'How to Nail the INCOSE ASEP Exam' to pass first time, gain promotions and earn a higher salary!


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