Systems Engineering

U Central Florida Gets Systems Engineering Boost from IBM

A university in Florida has persuaded IBM to invest $2 million to help prepare its students for jobs in systems engineering. The University of Central Florida's (UCF) Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering (IASE) is receiving software, in-kind donations, and consulting help from the vendor to give its students experience using IBM's systems engineering software.

In fall 2008, the Orlando university had nearly 6,000 engineering and technology students among its student base of 53,000. The Institute brings together faculty, students, industry, and government to create engineering curriculum using "real-world" tools and business scenarios.

The partnership with IBM will provide students and faculty with opportunities to compete for grants and participate in advanced research projects. IBM executives and technical staff will provide input into the development of the institute's curriculum and coursework.

The university and IBM both view systems engineering as a sweet spot in the labor market for the next 10 years. In its report, "2010 Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition," the United States Department of Labor predicted that computer systems design and related professions will add about 656,400 jobs over the decade, placing it among the top growth professions, which also include biomedical engineering and home healthcare.

"Systems engineers design and implement computer systems, software, and networks, including defining complex system requirements, and determining system specifications, processes, and working parameters. Their overall function is to ensure system hardware and software are compatible and capable of performance and business outcomes," the university said in a statement.

"At the heart of these products is a new level of innovation and a need for systems engineering expertise that cannot be underestimated," said Waldemar Karwowski, professor and chair of the university's Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems. "With the help of IBM, we are preparing students in the IASE program to use the latest tools and technologies to turn complex ideas into reality."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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