Field service engineers are the unsung heroes of the modern world. Without them, our lives would be a lot more complicated. These technicians keep our world running smoothly behind the scenes, from repairing broken machines to maintaining complex systems.
1. What Is a Field Service Engineer?
“Field service engineer” is a colloquial phrase for an individual who installs, repairs, and maintains electronic equipment. A field service engineer may also be responsible for training end-users of the devices in their care. Generally speaking, a “field service engineer” can include any worker who troubleshoots problems with machines or products in the actual environment where these products will be used, rather than in a factory or laboratory setting.
Field service engineers are usually employed by companies that sell complex equipment. These engineers are responsible for ensuring that the equipment can perform as expected when it is installed at its location. They also monitor the performance of machines to ensure they are operating correctly over their entire lifetime. When the equipment is not functioning correctly, field service engineers typically advise how to fix or maintain them. Field service engineers are usually required for large, expensive, and complex equipment that needs maintenance throughout its life, such as industrial machines.
2. What Kind of Work Does a Field Service Engineer Do?
Field service engineers are responsible for diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining large machines. Because these devices are often expensive, complex, or challenging to transport, field service engineers usually work in the locations where the equipment is installed. For example, if a machine is located inside a company’s warehouse, the field service engineer will usually visit that location to provide maintenance or repair services.
Field service engineers are employed by various companies, from manufacturers of equipment to the actual organizations that use these machines. Because field service engineers often work in remote locations, they may need to take their tools and other necessary items with them when performing their duties. Therefore, their job performance is frequently affected by their experience and the quality of their equipment.
3. In what Kind of Companies Does a Field Service Engineer Work?
Field service engineers typically work for companies that manufacture electronics equipment or organizations that use complex machines daily. Companies that sell and maintain industrial devices, communications gear, and medical machines may employ field service engineers to provide technical assistance with these products. For example, a field service engineer employed by a factory may be responsible for installing and repairing manufacturing equipment at the requested locations of the company’s customers.
Field service engineers working for companies that provide their customers typically have regular interactions with clients. Because of this, they also may need to communicate information about billing problems or delays in delivering products.
4. How to Become a Field Service Engineer?
The educational requirements for becoming a field service engineer vary depending on the specific job and the skills required for performing tasks. In general, a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field is necessary for this career. Some employers may require an engineering master’s degree for jobs involving complex equipment design rather than on-site problem-solving. For example, some universities offer advanced degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering fields that cover topics relevant to servicing complex devices.
In addition to a degree, some employers may also ask for previous work experience and certification. These requirements often include completing an appropriate apprenticeship or internship and passing exams such as the CompTIA A+ and N+ certifications. Because many companies provide training courses required for obtaining these skills, it may be possible to acquire them while working in another field.
5. What Are the Average Salary Ranges for a Field Service Engineer?
The salary of a service engineer varies with their experience and expertise but can range from $30,000 to $100,000 per year or more. In addition to a base salary, many employers also offer bonuses for completing specific tasks, such as keeping equipment up and running during a specific period.
Also, in some countries such as the United States, field service engineers may be entitled to health insurance and retirement benefits if they work for specific companies. For example, organizations such as The National Association of Engineering Companies (NAEC) offer members education reimbursement and other assistance to increase job security and opportunities for advancement.
6. What Are the Best and Worst Aspects of Working as a Field Service Engineer?
Some of the best aspects of this career include assisting with complex machinery to organizations, problem-solving in remote locations, and the sense of pride associated with doing an important job. In addition, field service engineers often have opportunities for advancement within their companies, such as technical, leadership, or staff engineers.
The worst aspects include dealing with machines and devices that fail frequently and working long hours to meet deadlines while traveling to customer locations. In addition, factory and office work can be repetitive and stressful for some people.
7. What Skills Are Needed to Become a Field Service Engineer?
To work as a field service engineer, employers typically expect workers to have the following skills:
-Computer skills. Because field service engineers often provide technical assistance, they must interact with customers over the phone or via email to seek solutions to problems. They also may need computer systems for tracking inventory and billing customers.
-Mechanical knowledge. Field service engineer jobs typically require on-site machineries such as pumps, turbines, engines, and compressors. In addition, some engineers may need to update components of a device by designing new parts or assembling, repairing, and maintaining different types of equipment.
-Customer service skills. Repairing machines requires communication with customers at all levels, from those who schedule work on their devices to those who authorize payments for completed tasks. In some cases, field engineers may need to communicate with other organizations, such as manufacturers, to discuss device specifications.
-Problem-solving abilities. Field service engineers often face unusual situations when working on devices, so they must remain calm under pressure and find practical solutions to problems. The job also requires thinking critically about the cause of failures and implementing preventative measures to avoid further complications.
-Self-discipline. A successful field service engineer must solve problems independently and organize tasks to meet deadlines. In addition, the ability to work on a team is critical for completing large projects or participating in daily meetings with customers and production teams.
8. What Is the Job Outlook for a Field Service Engineer?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2012 that there were approximately 205,000 field service engineers working in the United States. The BLS also projected that this number would increase by 9 percent through 2020, compared with an estimated growth rate for all occupations of 14 percent.
Industries that typically hire many field service engineers include transportation equipment, computer and electronics, power generation, electrical equipment, and machinery manufacturing.
The need for field service engineers is expected to continue increasing as more devices are created with complex technology. In addition to this, companies are also moving their offices outside significant cities where fewer technicians are available, resulting in a need for more field service engineers.
9. What Does a Typical Day Look Like for a Field Service Engineer?
A field service engineer’s day begins with reviewing any documentation prepared the previous night. This includes customer reports and diagnostics provided by technicians who previously worked on a device.
Once these records are read, the engineer prepares for any upcoming appointments and drives to the first location of the day. Upon arrival, this person inspects equipment or performs a diagnostic test on a device to determine the problem.
After the issue is resolved, this person returns to the company’s office and completes paperwork related to their workday. Once completed, they return home for some free time before beginning work once again.
10. How Can Someone Advance or Change Their Career Path as a Field Service Engineer?
There are many ways to advance or change a field service engineer’s career path. Individuals who have had more than five years of experience have an advantage when applying for senior, lead, or staff engineer positions with major companies.
These opportunities typically begin as supervisors responsible for training less experienced engineers and providing assistance on complex projects. A few advancement possibilities include becoming a project manager or joining the human resources department to recruit new employees.
11. Top Recruiting Companies for a Field Service Engineer
Field service engineers bring a unique set of skills to the organization they work for. They must be adaptable, analytical, and able to solve problems independently.
This occupation’s top recruiting firms include Mokry Inc., Robert Half Technology, and KForce. These companies provide technology professionals with the chance to work in many different environments, including software development, finance, and health care.12.
12. Best Colleges to Study Field Service Engineering
Aspiring field service engineers should enroll in a college to study electronics engineering, computer science, or other related topics. Many of these programs offer hands-on learning experiences and prepare students for the workforce.
Some suggestions include:
Pennsylvania State University: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Electronics and Communications. The curriculum includes Analog Integrated Circuit Design, Digital Logic, and Computer Systems courses.
University of California San Diego: Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering with a concentration in Electronics. Students who complete this degree are prepared for careers as embedded software developers or control systems engineers.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Bachelor of Science in Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Technology. Course topics include Digital Systems and Computer Architecture, Microprocessor Systems, and Sensors and Controls.
A field service engineer career path is a great way to enter the engineering field. Field service engineers have the opportunity to work with many different types of equipment and learn about how it works. They also get to travel and meet new people while helping them solve problems. This can be an enriching career, but it does require some hard work and dedication. Good luck with your journey!