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Trainer perspective on the SEP Certification: David D. (Dave) Walden, ESEP

Sep 06, 2022
Mrunmayi Joshi
Here is an interview with David D. (Dave) Walden of Synovation which talks about his experience and perspective as a trainer on the SEP Certification. Happy SEPtember!

David Walden

 This interview was done in 2022.

Q1. What is your current role/position?

» I am the Principal Trainer and Consultant for Sysnovation. In addition, I was the Lead Editor for the INCOSE SE Handbook Fourth Edition and am the Editor-in-Chief of the upcoming Fifth Edition.

Q2. What is one of your proudest professional achievements?

» There are so many that it is hard to choose just one. From a personal perspective I am most proud of the three engineers my wife and I brought into the world, our two daughters and one son (one is even an ASEP!). From a work perspective, it was the part I played at the turn of the century in the integration of four $250 million legacy divisions into the new General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. From a volunteer perspective, it was my editorial role in reorganizing and harmonizing the INCOSE SE Handbook Version 3.2.

Q3. What skills do you think a systems engineer best learns through training?
» Skills that are best learnt through training are the core systems engineering discipline skills. Skills that are not learnt through training are the domain and organization knowledge needed to be an effective systems engineering practitioner, those must be earned through experience.

Q4. What guidance/training do you provide students regarding systems engineering and SEP certification?
» Our training provides coverage of the knowledge portion of certification by covering the key aspects of the INCOSE SE Handbook. In addition, we focus on what it takes to submit a high-quality application and set of references. These are just as important as the exam for the CSEP application. My hope is that participants leave the course understanding systems engineering, not just learning rote points to pass the exam.

Q5. What motivated you to provide these trainings?
» I started Sysnovation to provide training and consulting for systems engineering practitioners. Providing certification preparation training was a natural extension of my other training offerings. As Editor-in-Chief of the INCOSE SE Handbook and former INCOSE Certification Program Manager (for six years), I feel I bring a unique perspective to this training.

Q6. What methods do you use to provide these trainings effectively?
» The Sysnovation SEP prep course is instructor led. We offer it both on-site and virtual formats. The standard course is four days on-site (and intense three-day “boot camp” is also available). For the virtual offerings, it is given over six virtual days using the Zoom platform. The virtual days are shorter in duration to avoid “Zoom Burnout.” All courses cover exactly the same material: SE knowledge per the handbook; a sample CSEP application; and a realistic “half-exam.”

Q7. How do you continue to learn about Systems engineering? What developmental activities do you do?
» As with every SEP, I engage in several forms of on-going professional development. In addition to editing the INCOSE SE Handbook, I attend regional and local chapter events and tutorials, participate in the INCOSE IW and IS, and am an INCOSE liaison to ISO. In addition, I read articles and textbooks related to systems engineering.

Q8. How can we reach out to you?
» You can reach me at : https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-walden-a749982/

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