An employee can prove his or her capabilities with a professional certification by an independent body.

Page content:

  1. What is the SE-ZERT® Program
  2. The Value
  3. The Composition
  4. Differences to INCOSE SEP Program
  5. Cooperation partner SE-TREC GmbH



What is the SE-ZERT® Program

The SE-ZERT® program is a vocational qualification to the „Certified Systems Engineers (GfSE)®“. It provides the participants opportunities to build and enhance process and content related competencies in the area of systems engineering. The GfSE e.V. together with the TÜV Rheinland® developed a personal certificate. The program relies on the standard EN ISO/IEC 17024 for personal certification. Accredited training providers support participants optimal and independent in preparation for the certification, where an examination committee by the SE-ZERT® program verifies their knowledge. This ensures a high quality in the vocational education. With a SE-ZERT® certificate are alumni qualified for industry independent Systems Engineering engagements. This vocational qualification is global available in German and English.

The SE-ZERT® program addresses individual persons with a technical qualification from foreman, technician, Bachelor degree, Master degree or analogous degrees. It provides for enterprises a qualification of the employees in internal or public trainings.

According to the bylaws a goal of the GfSE e.V. is to create a systems engineering standard, language and a uniform occupational profile. The SE-ZERT® Program distinguishes four qualification levels building up on each other. The level D is for students from admitted universities only. The entry level C sets the target to work within a team followed by level B with the goal „apply“ and leading small projects. The highest qualification level is level A with the goal independently create problem statements, solutions, justifications, conclusions, interpretations or judgements and being able to communicate these to others.

The goal of the certification program is

  • Establishing a cross-industry standard for systems engineering vocational development.
  • Vocational development for engineers including practical exercises and training content

Its fundament is:

  • The INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook (German or English)
  • ISO/IEC/IEEE15288 and closely related SE standards
  • Overview on industry-wide standards
  • Knowledge exam to verify the learned content
  • Integration into a holistic concept including description of interfaces to project management and quality assurance

The Value

After passing the exam, each alumnus receives an individual trademark-protected seal.


The value for individuals include:

  • promotes professional development as systems engineer
  • qualifies technical, social and context-dependent competencies
  • continuous education as personal competitive advantage
  • future-oriented action for successful collaboration within project teams

The value for enterprises include:

  • systematic development of systems engineering resources
  • improvement of business efficiency
  • cross-industry comparability through standardized certification
  • establishes a universal language supporting to overcome organizational, geographical or cultural barriers
  • provides a simplified validation of competencies for tenders

The composition

In the context of SE-ZERT® are four qualification levels achievable. The level D is for students without any practical experience. At the entry level C systems engineering is taught in theory and based on case studies. Achieving level B and especially level A is the way to become a systems engineering expert.

The training towards "Certified Systems Engineers (GfSE) ®" is divided into 9 modules. The module contents of the SE-ZERT® are from the same knowledge areas for all levels of the SE-ZERT®. However, according to the selected level (A, B, C or C) the level of competence is different. Trainings with final exams are offered for levels B and C. For level A, a written study work is to be prepared which, with a final assessment verifying the competence. For each level are the corresponding documents available for download.

1 Basics of systems engineering (including introduction)
2 Cross-project interfaces
3 Interfaces between systems engineering and project management
4 Systems Engineering Management
5 Requirements management, verification and validation
6 Implementation processes
7 Cross-cutting functions within development projects
8 Considerations of operational aspects and disposal processes during design
9 Conflict management and social competences

The competence areas relevant for the certification relate to technical competences that are required within each project, except the general introduction of systems engineering. Added are areas about project management, cross-cutting functions (related to -illities) and soft skills. The training of the technical competences relates to the related parts in ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, interpretations from ISO/IEC TR 24748-2, the terminology from ISO/IEC/IEEE 24765 and the INCOSE SE Handbook.

The ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 standard is a process-related standard which forms the internationally renowned basis of systems engineering activities. The education of process-related competences is therefore an essential goal of the training. The process-related areas of competence include the procedures, knowledge, skills. Skills are understood by the participants and subsequently will be applied. This enables trainees to apply these skills within their daily work.

Since a systems engineer usually works within an interdisciplinary team, the promotion of the social and individual competences becomes important. For this purpose, the training refers to project management standards and literature on training for moderators.

Differences to the INCOSE SEP Program

The SE-ZERT® program by GfSE e.V., closes a gap in the certification market and ensures, however, that the systems engineering idea comes from a single point of view. Thus INCOSE with the SEP follows rather the US-oriented certification philosophy, similar to that of PMI in project management. While the European view of project management is more likely to be represented by GPM-IPMA. In the field of systems engineering, we have managed the two certification options from one global network (INCOSE) since the SE-ZERT® program follows the European approach.

As the German chapter of INCOSE, the GfSE represents INCOSE in the German-speaking areas. Therefore, the SE-ZERT® program adopted the 3-level concept of the SEP program including the related principles. INCOSE confirmed the equivalency of SE-ZERT® level C and B with the ASEP and CESEP respectively. To receives this equivalence confirmation, the related program need to demand higher requirements than SEP. Once SE-ZERT® level C or B is passed, the related SEP certificate can be obtained against an administration fee with no further examinations. There is no formal equivalnce between Level A and ESEP, but a pilot is inititated for the first 10 applicants to follow an agreed process.

The SE-ZERT program offers more content than the INCOSE SEP program. The audited training also takes account of the so-called cross-sectional functions and includes a training part in the area of soft skills. Participation in a licensed course, which includes exercises as well as theory, is compulsory. This creates a high standard in vocational training, which must be concluded in passing an exam comprising multiple choice as well as open questions. In the INCOSE SEP program, the exam comprises only of multiple-choice.

Cooperation Partner SE-TREC GmbH

SE-TREC GmbH is the co-operation parter for the organisation and execution of the SE-ZERT® program of GfSE e.V. With the personal certification (EN ISO/IEC 17024) a person can show its Systems Engineering competencies certified from an independent entity. The certification is an individual examination as part of a collective test and takes place at SE-TREC, onsite at training providers, companies or Universities (minimum attendees clause). SE-TREC sends the examiner to the test location and performs the examination. After a pass of the test, a certificate  from GfSE e.V. as independent organisation will be issued.