4 mins read

Types of roles in Engineering and IT

04 June 2024

Thinking of a career in Engineering or IT? One of the hardest things can be deciding which field you would like to work in. Have you heard of positions such as a Systems Engineer, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Data Scientist, Solutions Architect or Network Administrator and not sure what these job titles actually mean? or how could get into one of these position?

It can be tricky to know what you might be interested in. The first thing to do is to understand the difference between Engineering and IT. We’ve put together a guide of some useful terms to help you figure it out.

What Is the Difference Between Engineering and IT?

The main difference between engineering and information technology (IT) lies in their focus and scope.

Traditionally, engineering was all about physical systems or structures. As technology has evolved, so has engineering, and many engineering fields now include IT and software. IT can also cover both software and physical systems.

Engineering typically involves the application of scientific principles and mathematical methods to design, build, and maintain structures or systems. Engineers often work on projects related to infrastructure, machinery, materials, or processes. Within engineering, there are various disciplines such as civil engineering (building and maintaining infrastructure), mechanical engineering (designing and operating physical machines), electrical engineering (designing and applying systems that use electricity, electronics and electromagnetism), and so on. Engineers focus on creating solutions that meet specific requirements, often considering factors like safety, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability.

On the other hand, IT focuses on the use of technology to manage and process information. It encompasses a broad range of activities related to computing, telecommunications, and data management. IT professionals design, implement, and manage systems and networks that facilitate the storage, retrieval, and transmission of data. This includes areas such as software development, network administration, database management, cybersecurity, and technical support. IT professionals are concerned with leveraging technology to support the needs of organisations and users, often emphasising factors like efficiency, security, and usability.

An example project that both Engineers and IT professionals might work on could be building a software centre. IT professionals begin by defining objectives, gathering requirements, and designing the system architecture. Engineers then develop the practical application of that architecture, setting up the necessary infrastructure. Once the software centre is deployed, IT professionals will monitor performance and provide user support, while engineers will maintain the infrastructure and implement improvements based on user feedback.

Now you have a better understanding of what engineering and IT means, it’s time to explore what the different job titles mean.

What Do These Job Titles Mean?

Systems Engineer: Designs and manages complex systems, including hardware and software, ensuring they function efficiently and reliably. They often work on large-scale systems like networks, servers, or embedded systems.

Software Engineer: Develops software applications, systems, or platforms. They design, code, test, and maintain software to meet specific requirements, often working in teams and using various programming languages and development methodologies.

Systems Analyst: Analyses an organisation’s systems and processes to identify inefficiencies and propose solutions. They bridge the gap between business needs and IT capabilities by understanding both domains and recommending improvements or new systems.

Data Scientist: Analyses large datasets to extract insights and drive decision-making. They use statistical analysis, machine learning, and programming skills to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations in data, helping businesses solve problems and make data-driven decisions.

Solutions Architect: Designs comprehensive solutions to meet business needs or address specific challenges. They create architectures that integrate various technologies and components to deliver a cohesive solution, considering factors like scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness.

Network Administrator: Manages and maintains an organisation’s computer networks. They oversee network infrastructure, troubleshoot issues, implement security measures, and ensure network performance and reliability.

These roles can vary in responsibilities and requirements depending on the organisation and industry, but they involve working with technology to solve problems or meet business objectives.

How Do You Become A Systems Engineer, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Data Scientist, Solutions Architect, Or Network Administrator?

Becoming a professional in any of these fields typically involves a combination of education, training, and skills. Here’s a general roadmap for each:

Systems Engineer:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field is often required. Some roles may prefer or require a master’s degree for advanced positions.
  • Skills: Strong problem-solving skills, understanding of system architecture, knowledge of programming languages, familiarity with networking concepts, and proficiency in relevant tools and technologies.

Software Engineer:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field is typical, although some individuals enter the field through self-study or coding bootcamps.
  • Skills: Proficiency in programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, or JavaScript, knowledge of software development methodologies, understanding of data structures and algorithms, and ability to work collaboratively in a team environment.

Systems Analyst:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, business administration, or a related field is common. Some roles may require additional certifications or specialised training.
  • Skills: Analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, understanding of business processes, ability to communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, and proficiency in tools for requirements gathering and analysis.

Data Scientist:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, mathematics, or a related field is common, with many roles preferring or requiring a master’s degree or PhD in a relevant discipline.
  • Skills: Proficiency in programming languages such as Python or R, knowledge of statistics and machine learning algorithms, experience with data visualisation tools, and ability to extract insights from large datasets.

Solutions Architect:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is typical, although some roles may require a master’s degree or relevant certifications.
  • Skills: Strong understanding of enterprise architecture principles, ability to design complex solutions that meet business requirements, proficiency in cloud computing platforms, excellent communication and presentation skills, and experience with project management.

Network Administrator:

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field is common, although some roles may accept certifications or relevant experience in lieu of a degree.
  • Skills: Knowledge of networking protocols and technologies, experience with network infrastructure components such as routers and switches, proficiency in network security principles, troubleshooting skills, and familiarity with network monitoring tools.

In addition to formal education and experience, professional certifications can also be beneficial in demonstrating expertise and advancing in these fields. Continuing education and staying updated on emerging technologies and industry trends are also important for career growth and development.

Follow your passion and areas of interest. If you start off pursuing one of these fields and you decide it isn’t for you, its ok to change your mind and explore other opportunities, until you find what is right for you!

Rate this article

Did you find this article helpful?

    Back to top

      Sign up to our Newsletter

      Get the latest on job opportunities, insights and news to help explore your future

      Why are we asking for this? Postcodes help us make sure that the information we send is relevant to you in your area.

      Thank you for signing up

      We'll keep you updated with the latest on job opportunities, insights and news to help explore your future.