Model-Based Systems Engineering has brought upon a new age of System Engineering and it’s evident that our education system and industry has some catching up to do. Ask any technical recruiter that is trying to fill a position for MBSE. The search is as fun as finding a needle in a haystack. The lack of an MBSE experienced workforce has created an environment where job opportunities are plentiful. Anyone with a basic economics background can attest that this supply and demand favors MBSE as a very specialized career choice. If you are a professional or a student, the question is: How to Break Into MBSE?
Partner With Academia
As someone in the industry who hires for MBSE positions, it is tough to find experienced individuals but much easier with college graduates. That’s because I know that I can mold these new hires with good Systems Engineering fundamentals by adopting an MBSE mindset. There are skills that I generally look for that make good college-hire candidates:
- Object Oriented Fundamentals
- Unified Modeling Language
- Database/Data Science
- Understanding of data structures and relationships
- Experimentation with Modeling Tools
- Projects that Required Conceptual Development Prior to Prototyping
These days, almost all schools touch upon programming and data science but often lack in the areas of system architecture modeling. Industry can help in this area by creating partnership programs with higher education schools that bring students into the fold with MBSE specific projects. These students can bring an MBSE perspective to areas that may improve business workflows or product development. An example of this may work would be with a process improvement project. The student team can be tasked with using a modeling tool to capture an existing customer feedback process. When complete, the students can then brief the organization on areas of potential improvement or even provide the MBSE generated workflow as documentation.
Embrace MBSE In Your Systems Engineering Process
Having lived every part of the Systems Engineering V, I can tell you that the experience gained has provided me with all the evidence for making a case to embrace MBSE. Professional candidates who have a solid Systems Engineering foundation will find it easier to take advantage of what MBSE has to offer. The key with learning and building a new skill is to jump right in.
Organizations that make the shift to utilize MBSE often feel inclined to start with training first. While it is beneficial to provide staff with training, it can also cause paralysis by analysis. Training could also take up A LOT of time. A recommendation would be to start with a small project that coincides with training. These small projects could be anything from requirements development for an upcoming product upgrade or a functional analysis of an existing software feature. The idea is that your team is immersing themselves in MBSE while learning about it. This immersion approach scales faster that you would think!
If you are on a team that has not embraced MBSE yet, but you are ready to do so, you can start with using free tools like Modelio or Papyrus. Start small with simple tasks that are a part of your day-to-day and scale as you begin to identify what works for you. Who knows, your organization may take notice and will want to adopt MBSE as a part of their process!
It’s Time to Break Into MBSE
Either way, if you are a student or a professional, the standard approach to Systems Engineering is inefficient. Inefficient not just from a time point of view, but from a cost and risk as well. There are plenty of resources available to start and Beyond MBSE is one of them!