Field applications engineers are technical support engineers for salesmen and marketing at technology companies. A field application engineering job provides the opportunity to travel, work with engineers on leading edge designs and seal up design and product contracts. In this capacity, field applications engineers are critical in that they suggest new technology and provide different design approaches that make for top-selling products.
Field applications engineers need a wide range of skills and a good technology base to work from. Because field applications engineers provide technical support, sometimes they must give technical presentations, and other times they must actually create or modify designs. They also must be familiar with technical product specifications and be able to point out the specific technical merits of one product over another, and do so convincingly.
Good customer-relation skills are also very important. Because customers want to be assured that the technology is reliable, the field applications engineer must be able to back up technical claims. This often requires that the field applications engineer prepares and present computer simulations, engineering calculations, research papers, data sheets, company and competitor reports.
Many field applications engineers work at regional company sales offices and design centers. Often these small facilities are staffed with just one or two marketing and sales support staff. The field applications engineer often travels with a salesman to local customer sites. Because the working environment at these small offices is casual, some field applications engineers often just use the office as a central meeting place, as opposed to a day-to-day work place. Corporate field applications engineers often must work with large national and international accounts. This requires that they often must be on site or travel long distances.
The main requirement to obtain field applications engineer position is usually have a bachelor's degree in a technology area. Ideally, the technology degree required is most often related to the product line that a company offers. For electronics companies, a bachelor's in electronic engineering may be required, but for a motor-control company, such as a robotics company or automobile company, a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering may be preferred. For an environmental and alternative energy company, those with degrees in electrical engineering that emphasize power management and electricity-generation technology such as thermal, solar, and hydroelectric power may be considered more ideal.
Field applications engineers, according to job website Indeed, have a salary range that varies between $35,000 and $105,000, with an average salary of $86,000 as of 2014.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide a separate classification for field applications engineers. Engineering salary data from the BLS suggest that the pay level for field applications engineers is on the high end of the engineering pay scale.
Field application engineers often must be trained about new products and new technology. At large companies, this often occurs through extensive field applications training programs. Large companies will often sponsor large events where all the field applications engineers from around the country meet up for several days of training. With the advancement of e-learning applications, more field application engineers are being trained online and through video teleconferencing.