Explore Industrial and Systems Engineering

Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways to use the basic factors of production—people, machines, materials, information, and energy—to make a product or provide a service. They are concerned primarily with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology.

To maximize efficiency, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully and then design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements with the help of mathematical methods and models. They develop management control systems to aid in financial planning and cost analysis, and they design production planning and control systems to coordinate activities and ensure product quality.

Industrial engineers also design or improve systems for the physical distribution of goods and services and determine the most efficient plant locations. They analyze data to find insights to make better business decisions. Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work is closely related to the work of managers. Generally, industrial engineers are more widely distributed among industries than other engineers.

*Salary and Career Outcomes gathered from the 2018-2019 CSE Graduation Survey. Post-graduation outcomes reflect the percentage of students who were employed full-time in their field or were enrolled in a graduate program at 6 months post-graduation.

ISyE Career Prospects. Average Starting Salary: $69,816; Post-Graduation Outcomes: Employed 81.8%, Graduate School 15.6%, Other 2.6%

Expand all

What can I do with a major in Industrial and Systems Engineering?

INDUSTRIES

  • Aerospace
  • Banking and finance
  • Construction
  • Consulting
  • Electronics assembly
  • Energy
  • Entertainment
  • Forestry and logging
  • Insurance
  • Medical device
  • Healthcare operations
  • Manufacturing
  • Military
  • Oil and gas
  • Plastics and forming
  • Retail
  • State and Federal Government
  • Transportation

EMPLOYERS

  • 3M
  • Amazon
  • Andersen Corporation
  • Boston Scientific
  • Cargill
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Deloitte
  • Eaton
  • Emerson
  • ExxonMobil
  • General Mills
  • Heraeus Medical Components
  • Honeywell
  • Hormel Foods Corporation
  • HUSCO International
  • IBM
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Medtronic
  • Seagate Technology
  • Target Corporation
  • The Schwan Food Company
  • UnitedHealth Group/Optum
  • United Parcel Service
  • West Monroe Partners

TECHNICAL SKILLS

  • AMPL
  • Arena
  • EOQ Production and Supply Chain Models
  • Excel
  • Mathematica
  • MATLAB
  • MS Project
  • NPV & IRR Financial Analysis
  • Optimization

POSSIBLE POSITIONS

  • Business analyst/consultant: Perform business process analysis to identify opportunities to re-engineer business processes, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs. Also provides comprehensive assessments and recommendations for existing and potential engineering projects.
  • Data analyst: Perform statistical analysis to recommend improved business decisions based on data insights.
  • Engineering and manufacturing solutions analyst: Develop tools, implement designs, or integrate machinery, equipment, or computer technologies to ensure effective manufacturing processes.
  • Industrial engineer: Design, test, and evaluate systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Manufacturing engineer: Plan the tooling, construction, and assembly of product as dictated by design specifications.
  • Supply chain analyst: Assist organizations in managing inventory by solving control, warehousing, and transportation issues.
  • Operations engineer: Evaluate and provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of manufacturing, supply chain, and service systems.
  • Production engineer: Improve manufacturing efficiency by analyzing and planning work flow, space requirements, and equipment layout. Assure product and process quality by designing testing methods.
  • Project manager: Plan, direct, and coordinate activities of company projects.
  • Quality engineer: Test and inspect procedures using metrology, statistics, and cost concepts and techniques. Diagnose and correct improper quality control practices.
  • Systems engineer: Perform the requirements, analysis, and definition of the overall system and its subsystems.

**Some of these positions may require an advanced degree.

GET INVOLVED

  • CSE K-12 Outreach
  • CSE Ambassadors
  • CSE International Ambassadors
  • Engineers without Borders
  • Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
  • Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • Science and Engineering Student Board
  • Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Society of Women Engineers

Q&A with Louis Rouffaud, Technology Analyst, Cognizant

What do you do?

I work on the Security Products Team for my Fortune 100 manufacturing client. I also work with stakeholders on application adjustments or changes, as well as on trainings that show how certain users can use our products.

What's a typical work day?

Since we work on an Agile project, we have a stand-up meeting every afternoon, along with client meetings.

What qualities are important for this position?

Punctuality is key. Many stakeholders have time-sensitive deadlines so it’s imperative that my tasks are completed in a timely manner.

What about technical skills?

Application testing.

What training were you offered for your position?

I’m working training with global teams.

What part of your job is most satisfying?

Positive team atmosphere.

Most challenging?

Finding career development opportunities.

What are your possible career paths now?

I’m continuing on the general consulting hierarchy: Analyst, Senior Analyst, Consultant, Senior Consultant, Manager, etc.

Advice for current students?

Look into consulting as a career, but be careful which firm you decide. Do your research.

Any other advice you'd like to share?

Use informational interviews to connect with professionals and grow your network.

Q&A with Kathryn Krieger, Supplier Quality Engineer (Plastics, Rubber & Decals), Polaris Industries

What do you do?

I work on new Polaris products with our external vendors to ensure that our manufacturing facilities receive quality components to build vehicles. 

What’s a typical work day? 

I meet with at least 3 vendors a day via conference calls to discuss upcoming projects, I collaborate internally with Polaris engineers to transfer information to suppliers, and I work on side projects to optimize our component approval process. 

What qualities are important for this position?

Ability to network effectively, use persuasive leadership to accomplish tasks, and be candid about the situations that arise. 

What about technical skills? 

The best technical skills to have in this job include intermediate Excel skills, a statistical background, specific process expertise (such as injection molding for me), and Lean knowledge. 

What training were you offered for your position? 

My position offers extensive quality training, as well as the opportunity to train in specific subjects. This could be skill specific like effective error-proofing or knowledge-based specific like a deeper dive into injection molding. 

What part of your job is most satisfying?

The opportunity to directly apply skills I learned at college to my role. For ISyE majors, my job is essentially a full-time version of the Quality & Reliability class. 

Most challenging? 

Working with 65+ vendors across the globe and keeping all of their individual challenges straight! 

What are your possible career paths now?

I could continue vertically through supplier quality into management. I could transition into a purchasing role, which is more supplier based and focused on supplier relations. Alternatively, I could transfer to a manufacturing facility as a manufacturing quality engineer or a production supervisor. 

Advice for current students?

I recommend Industrial and Systems Engineering as a major—it combines the best of the engineering and business world. It is people engineering, where processes are the focus and optimization is the ultimate goal. 

Any other advice you'd like to share

After majoring in ISyE, you can take your career into any field and almost any role in engineering or supply chain. As businesses grow, there is always a need for a sharp mind that is willing to optimize a process.

Q&A with Pratheeksha Mallikarjun, Scrum Master/Project Manager, Optum Technology–UnitedHealth Group

What do you do?

Host weekly sprint planning meetings with reliability engineering team to prioritize tasks; host regular status meetings with various development teams interacting with reliability engineers; develop weekly reports for all active projects within our team portfolio; and assist with new project kickoff and on boarding, including introducing the concept of reliability engineering to development teams within the company

What’s a typical work day? 

Check team Jira boards for status of current tasks; host 3-4 project meetings to help development team resolve project blockers and get information on in progress items; and assist with removing and resolving blockers or questions

What qualities are important for this position?

Task switching: you need to be able to switch from one project to another quickly, as meetings for different projects are often back to back; 

Microsoft Office suite: you need to develop reports in a variety of formats, including qualitative reports in PowerPoint and quantitative reports in Excel;
Public speaking/Communication: you’ll meet with many different people, typically directors or managers who need a quick summary of the project and the goals/agenda for meetings

What about technical skills? 

Basic programming knowledge: need to be able to translate information provided by development and reliability engineering teams into short summaries for project tasks during sprint planning and for written status updates for executives
Excel: need to be able to manipulate data and spreadsheets to show summaries of progress on all open projects

What training were you offered for your position? 

Internal Agile Certification
Online resources to learn about reliability engineering
Internal process improvement training and Six Sigma certification

What part of your job is most satisfying?

Working with new applications within our company and helping them improve their reliability to better serve our customers!

Most challenging? 

Quickly switching from one project to another and keeping track of the status of 4-5 different projects at the same time, so that any executive can ask for a status update and get the correct information back quickly.

What are your possible career paths now?

Project manager, program manager, or director

Advice for current students?

Many examples in industrial engineering classes are looking at manufacturing or product engineering settings, but the concepts and skills are still very applicable to software engineering or infrastructure architecture teams. Learning to apply those process improvement skills in a new way outside of the manufacturing setting allows you to bring a unique perspective to the table.

Any other advice you'd like to share?

Work on projects outside your comfort zone or outside areas most commonly discussed within the major. Learning about the applications of industrial engineering to different, typically overlooked industries will give you a more well-rounded understanding of the field.