This interview presents information from 2014 and updates from 2021:
Q1: Describe your current position/role.
2014 – Dr. Muller is a Systems Engineer in the Northrop Grumman Health IT division. She works on updating and maintaining health insurance eligibility systems and developing health analytics tools.
2021 – Dr. Muller is an Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineer and Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman. She works on creating process and policy for secure and ethical AI system development, with an emphasis on human-machine teaming.
Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?
2014 - Dr. Muller is proud of completing a two-year Systems Engineering program at Northrop Grumman, which tackled a real problem internal to the company. The program, which was highly successful, applied proper System Engineering life cycle processes from project inception through Critical Design Review. This program showed that Systems Engineering could be effectively applied to real problems.
2021 – Dr. Muller is proud of being named a Northrop Grumman Technical Fellow, an elite group of technical experts at the company. She is also proud of mentoring many young systems engineers toward their career goals.
Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?
2014 - The biggest challenge Dr. Muller faces is a lack of knowledge and understanding of Systems Engineering by clients. Her clients sometimes have difficulty understanding the value of the upfront investment that System Engineering provides.
2021 – The biggest challenge Dr. Muller faces is pushing the boundaries of systems engineering practice when working with legacy systems based on outdated methodologies.
Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?
2014 - Dr. Muller believes new Systems Engineers should find a good mentor who understands the real world of Systems Engineering and can help them figure out how to apply SE in the real world.
2021 – Dr. Muller believes new Systems Engineers should find a good mentor who understands the real world of Systems Engineering and can help them figure out how to apply SE in the real world.
Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?
2014 - Dr. Muller is an INCOSE member. She participates in INCOSE webinars and Northrop Grumman professional development telecons. Dr. Muller continues to communicate with the people whom she has previously worked in order to share lessons learned on other projects. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers, where she participates in activities such as tutorials on leadership, technical trends, and program management.
Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?
2014 - Dr. Muller wants to become a Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman and provide impact within the company and to the customer.
2021 – Dr. Muller wants to continue to grow the practice of human-machine teaming in AI systems.
Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interest outside of work?
2021 – Dr. Muller loves the outdoors, and enjoys hiking, biking, and camping. She is an avid board gamer, and is currently working her way through Gloomhaven. She reads a lot, particularly science fiction, and admits to loving the escape of a good book!
Q8: Are there any other final comments you would like to make?
2021 – Dr. Muller encourages people to start the certification process. She learned so much about Systems Engineering just by studying for the exam!
We reached out to Dr. Muller to answer more questions in 2021:
Q9: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?
I wanted to prove to myself and others that I was competent as a systems engineer. Since I spent the first part of my career in Specialty Engineering (specifically human factors), getting the CSEP was a way to prove that I not only had depth in one area, but also had breadth of knowledge across systems engineering disciplines.
Q10: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?
It’s given me the flexibility to take on different systems engineering roles. Prior to getting my CSEP, I was almost exclusively doing human factors-related roles. After the CSEP, I was able to try roles outside that discipline which accelerated my growth tremendously!
Q11: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?
Just how much it has evolved! It’s so exciting to see the field continue to grow and adapt to the changing needs of our customers and our technologies.
Q12: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”
Human Factors Engineer, Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineer.