How To Become an Integration Engineer in 5 Steps
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published March 17, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
An integration engineer can play a role in ensuring different systems work together and that new software programs are compatible with existing software. The engineer often works in a cross-functional manner, providing leadership to an organization and helping to keep systems working efficiently. If you understand how to become an integration engineer, you can take steps to position yourself for a career in the field. In this article, we discuss what an integration engineer is, what they do and their skills, how you can become one and what the salary and job outlook are for the position.
What is an integration engineer?
An integration engineer is a professional who works to create interoperability between different systems. Over time, companies add or change technology, and these changes can lead to conflicts between older and newer systems. In other instances, systems don't align or sync together. Without proper integration, a system might not function well, or a system might become inefficient. An integration engineer works to prevent these gaps and issues from developing.
A lack of proper integration can lead to system crashes and data loss, and it can frustrate employees unable to use a system properly because of a software conflict. A lack of proper integration can compromise technology upgrades meant to improve efficiency and benefit a company. The issue can also create the potential for security breaches and jeopardize confidential information.
What does an integration engineer do?
Here are some things an integration engineer does:
Test new software
When a company plans to add new software to its system, the integration engineer assesses its compatibility with the existing system. The engineer might research the software and check its compatibility with other programs already in use. The engineer might work with a third-party vendor to ensure no conflicts exist. If the engineer works for a software company, they might work with clients and their IT departments to assess system requirements. Before launching the software live on the system, the engineer might first test the application in a secure environment.
Address software conflicts
An integration engineer might work to address any conflicts that exist between different software. In this role, the engineer might have the role of troubleshooting problems as they arise. Sometimes, a software product has an update that creates an issue. In other instances, a software product might become dated and incompatible with other system elements. As these problems arise, the integration engineer works to address them. The engineer might regularly conduct system assessments to detect problems and then devise solutions to correct them.
Integrate hardware components
An integration engineer might work to integrate different hardware components. Hardware often interacts with software programs, and the integration engineer might take a holistic view of the system, ensuring each part of the system works together. When a company adds new hardware, the engineer might oversee its integration into the system. The engineer might develop integration plans and policies related to hardware.
Analyze system requirements
An integration engineer sometimes works for a software company, implementing programs for clients. In such a role, the engineer can analyze the client's system requirements. The engineer might work with the client's IT department in gathering the data necessary to determine what kind of integration issues might arise. The engineer also is a source of information for the client, answering their questions and acting as a point-of-contact for them.
Provide post-installation support
An integration engineer might provide client support following an installation. In a post-installation support role, the engineer might follow up with the client in scheduled meetings. They also might assess the software by conducting tests to see if it's performing correctly. Lastly, as updates for the software come up, the engineer might work with the client's IT department to implement updates.
An integration engineer working for a company might recommend certain policies to prevent software or hardware integration issues. The policies might involve implementing new software or the process for issuing or installing new equipment. Sometimes, the policies overlap into areas of data security. In this role, the engineer might work closely with members of the IT team.
Work with department leaders
The integration engineer often works in a cross-functional way, working with various departments. The engineer often coordinates with department leaders. If a team plans to implement a new management tool, the integration engineer is part of the implementation process. The engineer might have some involvement in training staff, as new programs can sometimes alter the work process and flow.
How to become an integration engineer
Here are some steps to help you become an integration engineer:
1. Learn about the career
Before deciding to pursue a career as an integration engineer, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the position and the kind of work it involves. An integration engineer handles highly technical work and solves complex problems, and they know many programming languages. You can learn these different aspects of the job by taking computer classes in high school, at a community college or online.
2. Pursue a bachelor's degree
A college degree isn't necessarily a prerequisite for an integration engineer, but many employers prefer you have one. A degree can also provide you with many of the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job of an integration engineer. Several degrees can help you prepare to work as an integration engineer by providing you with important skills and knowledge, such as:
3. Build software knowledge
While attending college, an internship can help you build knowledge and gain valuable experience. An integration engineer works with many programming languages, including Windows Server, Apache, Tomcat, IIS, Oracle, SQL Server, and Java. You can use your time in college to develop your knowledge of these languages and prepare yourself for your post-academic professional career.
4. Gain work experience
An internship can help you gain some experience, but your first job out of college likely won't be at the integration engineer level. Usually, people work their way up to the position. Finding a job out of college that helps you build the experience you want can help you achieve your long-term career goals. Before accepting a position, do some research on the company and see if it provides the kind of experience you need. You can also be honest with potential employers about your career goals.
5. Develop your skills
An integration engineer has a specific set of skills and abilities. A good way to position yourself for the role is to work to develop those skills. You can do that by taking online courses to develop specific skills areas. You also can work with your employers to assist in integration projects and gain experience.
Skills of an integration engineer
Here are some of the skills that can help you succeed as an integration engineer:
A significant part of the job is project management, and an integration engineer can benefit from having organizational skills. They often organize the integration process for software deployment or system updates. The engineer might plan a workflow and a process for the integration. The engineer also helps keep all stakeholders informed, runs tests, and plans for all contingencies.
An integration engineer has many hard skills, but they also need to have soft skills such as oral and written communication. The integration engineer often works with different teams and department leaders, coordinating the launch of new products or software tools. They also have duties that frequently overlap with IT professionals and regularly create reports regarding potential integration issues and how to address them.
An integration engineer has strong attention to detail. A successful engineer can evaluate a system's requirement and understand whether a software integration might cause an issue. When a conflict arises within the system, the engineer works to detect the problem and understand what the issue is and how to fix it. Attention to detail allows the engineer to avoid overlooking important issues.
An integration engineer has sound technical knowledge. An integration engineer works with numerous programming languages and having a strong understanding of them and how different programs interact is essential for an engineer. The engineer also has knowledge of best practices in system architecture and software engineering.
An integration engineer is analytical. They can look at a potential software integration and evaluate how to approach it. The engineer thinks about the integration logically to identify potential issues. They also use analytical thinking to plan software integration and plan projects to avoid disrupting company productivity.
The integration engineer takes a systematic approach to their job. The engineer assesses a system and its requirements step-by-step. This deliberate approach can help ensure they don't miss anything that might create a problem later. As a computer system ages, the engineer might use a systematic process to assess potential updates and changes.
Industries that have integration engineers
An integration engineer can find work in several potential areas. Many companies and large organizations require integration engineers to keep their systems operating efficiently. Also, software companies often hire engineers to work with clients and assist in integrating their products. Some organizations that might hire an integration engineer include higher education, government agencies, transportation, entertainment and corporations. Other large organizations employing an integration engineer often include health care and the military.
Salary and job outlook for integration engineers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median salary for people in the field was $110,140 per year. The BLS also predicts job growth for the position of 22 percent by 2030. For comparison, the BLS predicts job growth for other industries to average 8 percent.
Please note that any companies mentioned in this article are not affiliated with Indeed.
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