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The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers by Devanandham Henry, Nicole Hutchison, Arthur Pyster

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9SECONDARILY A SYSTEMS ENGINEER

Well, I do a mix of things, but I definitely perform some systems engineering activities.

– Anonymous Helix classic engineer participant

Figure 1.1 showed the “ecosystem” or framework in which systems engineers advance their careers. Under closer examination, it is apparent that other than the phrase “systems engineer” appearing twice in that figure, at the highest level, the framework relies on nothing specific to systems engineers! Every professional, no matter what their career, has proficiencies and personal characteristics; every professional works in an organization with its own characteristics, in roles and positions through which they deliver value to that organization; every professional can be viewed as effective if they consistently deliver value to the organization in the discipline with which they identify; every individual grows through the application of the same three primary forces – experiences, mentoring, and education & training. In fact, at the first public workshop where we presented an earlier version of this figure, several people remarked that the figure was generic and could be applied to any professional – a viewpoint with which we wholeheartedly agree. Of course, the specific values, the specific personal characteristics, the specific proficiencies, etc. will vary depending on the profession. Nevertheless, the framework seems useful to describe how all professionals advance their careers. With this perspective ...

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