Hello, engstudent. I am a systems and industrial engineer. I hope this information will help you. Good luck!
1.) What is your name
2.) What is your specific degree
Masters, Systems and Industrial Engineering
3.) What is your place of employment
US Air Force, Las Vegas, Nevada
4.) Please describe your engineering field
I would describe SIE as a combination of operations research (statistics), project management, and test methodology. I am on a test team that tests software and hardware upgrades to US Air Force fighter aircraft. It is our job to test the stability and usability of the software / hardware upgrades before releasing the upgrades to the rest of the fighter aircraft community. Our testing is very expensive, so we don't want to launch an aircraft to test and not gain any useful results. My job as the operations analyst is to help the pilots design the test, collect the data, and analyze the information in order to come to a final conclusion, whether it be a recommendation to field the upgrade or to decide how the pilots are going to use the upgrade in their tactics. In other words, I help design a test that will get you the most bang for your buck.
Test methodology: there are many ways you can design a test. I help the pilots decide on what kind of test to conduct, based on what we are testing and what information we are looking for.
Project management: not only do I assist with test design and analysis, but I help coordinate the resources required to execute the test. Anything from ensuring we have jets and pilots available to execute to working with other agencies that may be involved with our test.
Operations Research (statistics): If we are making a recommendation to the Air Force that we are going to accept a software or hardware upgrade from the contractor that built it, we want to ensure the testing we conducted from which we are making this recommendation is a stable conclusion. In other words, we want to ensure our test was representative of what will happen when the upgrade is released to the rest of the Air Force. This is called making statistically sound conclusions. Part of this goes into test design, but it also plays a big part in how I conduct the data analysis to be confident that our conclusion is representative of what will happen when the upgrade is used again by others in the Air Force.
5.) What is your current job title
Operations Research Analyst
6.)Please describe your particular job and duties
I pretty much covered this in answering #4.
7.)What is your average work schedule
Most of the time 40 hours a week, Monday-Friday, 8-5. However, I work when the jets are flying, and this sometimes means I am in at 4 AM or I am working through the night. These occasions, however, are rare.
8.) What was your educational background, starting with high school?
Graduated High School, received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and a Master of Engineering in Systems and Industrial Engineering
9.) If you had the ability to do something over, whether it be in your education or career, what would it be?
I really wouldn't want to do anything over. I like the fact that I didn't go directly from undergraduate to graduate school. Being in the workforce for almost 10 years before starting my Master's helped me truly decide on what I needed to continue my studies in to be successful in my job. What I do now is a completely different industry from what I did immediately after college. I didn't like what I did right after college, but I love what I do now. So, I'm glad my investment in graduate college went towards a job I love and wish to stay in.
Keep this in mind: School, especially your undergraduate degree, gives you a FOUNDATION to build upon. 90% of what you will be required to know to be successful in any job will be on the job training. And, education never ends. I constantly pull out the statistics books and do research online to ensure the methodology I am using is correct and current.
10.)What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career path similar to yours?
A strong background in math. 30 semester hours of math is all that is required for my job. An engineering degree is not required. Flexibility to work non-standard hours on occasion, react to last minute changes, and the ability to work as part of a team.