FAQs on the CSEP application form

FAQs

Answer

How do I know whether my degree counts as a “qualifying Bachelor’s degree”? Guidance can be found on the INCOSE Website. If that doesn’t give you a clear answer, you could email INCOSE directly.
What’s the best way of subdividing my career into periods? There isn’t a correct answer, but you should find that there is a natural way of defining breakpoints that makes it easiest to tell your story (history). Perhaps you moved companies, changed departments, started on a new project, got a promotion, changed roles, or took a career break.
How many references will I need? You must have at least three references, and each career period claimed must have at least one reference. It is quite common to have overlaps between references, and references that cover more than one period. Each reference must meet the criteria listed in Section 6 of the application form.
Do my references need to be recognized systems engineers? Not necessarily, and they do not need to call themselves systems engineers or be INCOSE members. Nevertheless, they need to convince the review panel that they appreciate the concepts of systems engineering, and have been involved in work that can be described in systems engineering terms.
How much detail is expected in my write-up for each career period? The guidance on the application form is to “include the depth of full detail typically provided on a job resume about SE tasks/functions you performed and the products produced”. Be specific about your own contribution to the value generated. It is not helpful to say that you “worked on the system architecture”, or that you “were part of a system architecture team”. If you are specific about the projects you worked on, the tasks you performed, and the work products you generated (without divulging sensitive information), this will help to convince the review panel.

There is no limit as to how much you may write but structure your writing well and be succinct, so that the review panel can quickly understand the evidence presented.

How do I split my time across the experience table? It is fully accepted that people work on several “SE Functional Areas” in parallel, and that is highly unlikely that people have booked their time against this breakdown. You need to use your own judgement as to how you apportion your time against the functional areas. You need to be comfortable in your own mind that this is a fair representation of how you focused your effort during that career period. This split also needs to be largely supported by statements from your references. There is a guide containing instructional information for completing the application. This can be found here.
How do I account for my time if I was working on two projects in parallel? You must apportion the time as you feel is justified; you cannot double account for the time. The total number of months claimed for a given period must not exceed the elapsed calendar months for that period. It is not uncommon for people to claim less, for various reasons.
Is 60 months’ experience enough? Yes: if the number of months in the bottom right side of the experience table is exactly 60, this is considered sufficient. Most applications exceed 60, which is helpful should some of the evidence presented be discounted or questionable.
What do I need my references to write? CTI suggests that you spend some time talking to your references about what is expected. They should corroborate your submission with specific reference to your contribution in terms of activities and work products. They should also confirm the number of months spent on Work Areas, at least for the three primary areas. They are not restricted with how much they may write, but ask them to structure it well and be succinct, so that the review panel can quickly understand the evidence presented. Please refer to forms 4A and 4B here.
What happens if I am unsuccessful? You will get feedback from the review panel, indicating where there is a shortfall in the evidence provided, which could be in your submission or in the information provided by your references. You may be invited to address these areas and resubmit within a given timescale.