An application engineer is the main technical resource for sales and engineering personnel. They are responsible for driving and managing technology for internal sales people and external clients. They are key technical advisors and product advocates, so they must be able to identify and provide reliable solutions for all technical issues. This maintains customer satisfaction through all the stages of the sales process.
Application engineers maintain an expert level of product knowledge and application. They are expected to continually articulate technology information and product positioning to clients, business partners and technical users. Application engineers provide design and development specs to clients, consultants and contractors. They must listen, understand and convey customer requirements to sales and design personnel. Application engineers provide both technical and product training for sales, staff and engineers.
In order to be successful, they must maintain accurate records of accounts, quotes, projects, contacts, correspondence and opportunities in company information management systems. Some application engineers spend their time traveling to different project sites to preform start-up, integration and training services. They may be asked to quickly resolve unexpected customer issues at the client’s location. They must have excellent interpersonal skills because they need to maintain professional business relationships with clients.
Application engineers are expected to have a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering or a related technical field. For instance, those who want to work with mechanical engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology. These degrees will include courses in math, physical sciences and design. These programs focus less on theory and more on the applied applications of engineering principles within real-world business environments. Regardless of the degree, engineering students should pursue an ABET accredited program that ideally comes with co-ops or internships that prepare students for work in industry.
They will need a few years of industry and engineering experience. They must be proficient in Microsoft Office, such as Visio, as well as proprietary design software, such as AutoCad. Those who work in the manufacturing field will need to excel at reading and understanding electrical, mechanical and architectural blueprints. Depending on the industry, they may also be required to understand network communications technology, such as VPN and TCP/IP, or enterprise software systems.
Application engineers who work in the manufacturing industry must develop and maintain an understanding of target product lines because they must assume the primary technical relationship with the client. They will make the necessary engineering calculations to support product selection and recommendation by identifying the customer’s requirements. They must provide continual input to enhance product features and process improvements. They support R&D engineering efforts by translating customer’s needs into a manufacturable products.
In the beginning, they will define the problem, provide a cost analysis for potential solutions and submit CPM, PERT or GANTT charts for each proposal. They will also provide an on-site inspection and engage the customer for critical analysis, rapport and feedback purposes. They will be expected to provide detailed drawings and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other manuals to personnel. These application engineers will provide regular updates to clients and management on the scope and financials of the project.
An application engineer is a key member of technology teams who provides problem solving and customer support services.