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Graduate perspective on Academic Equivalency: Kahdeem Cohens, ASEP

Sep 30, 2022
Mrunmayi Joshi
Here is an interview with Kahdeem Cohens, a graduate from Cornell University which talks about his experience and perspective as a graduate from the academic equivalency program. Happy SEPtember!


This interview was conducted in 2022.

Q1. What is your current role/position?

» I am a Systems Engineer Sr, Model-Based Systems Engineering at Lockheed Martin Corporation, Aeronautics.

Q2. What are your next career goals?

» I am actively enhancing my systems engineering skillset--both depth and breadth--with ambitions of stepping into formal Systems Engineering leadership, i.e., Systems Engineering Associate Manager.

Q3. What have you learned about systems engineering in school?

» I learnt that Systems engineering is the central repository for all things architecture and requirements. Engaging the systems engineering discipline early and often will pay dividends throughout a system's lifecycle.

Q4. What interests you about systems engineering?

» What interests me about Systems Engineering is that it touches all domains--both technical and non-technical. In order to ensure a system's or program's success, systems engineering must be involved from the outset to ensure the right thing is being built and that the thing is being built right.

Q5. What motivated you to get SEP certification?

» Obtaining SEP certification was a means for me to formally communicate that I had a baseline understanding of the systems engineering discipline in an objective manner. Given that I wanted to pivot into the discipline, it was a natural stepping stone.

Q6. How did the academic equivalency program benefit you?

» Academic equivalency benefitted me as I ultimately obtained my Master of Engineering degree. Moreover, I got my certification without sitting for the formal knowledge exam. Standardized testing, like the knowledge exam, is not always the best means to test one's conceptual understanding of a discipline or topic.

Q7. How did taking courses under the academic equivalency program help you deepen your understanding of SE?

»  At Cornell University, we applied all our systems engineering learnings to generate what we called a compendium. This final project required us to understand the intricacies of systems engineering, its benefits, and why the industry is currently shifting to becoming model-based versus document-based. It provided a great foundation as I pivoted into the discipline within my career.

Q8. What is your advice for students and research professionals pursuing SEP certification?

» I promote SEP certification. I would suggest that everyone considering it do some introspection on their "why." In an ideal world, all systems engineering professionals are INCOSE SEPs for personal motivations like recognition, objective communication of your knowledge, and the ability to apply systems engineering learnings in the workplace. Not to mention, INCOSE SEP certifications are portable and universally recognized across industries. Maintaining your INCOSE SEP certification also ensures you develop skills through continued professional development. Continued education (via earning PDUs) ensures you are aware of industry-wide changes and can adapt and succeed.

Q9. How can we reach out to you?

» You can reach out to me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kahdeemcohens/

Know more about Academic Equivalency from here.
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