With over 17 specialties to choose from in the field of engineering, deciding how to use a general engineering degree can be a challenge. Unfortunately, some professionals with a general engineering degree may feel trapped in a technical environment with little exercise of people and communication skills. Becoming a sales engineer is a way to maintain the technical aspects of being an engineer while interacting with people in a role as a salesperson.
What is a Sales Engineer?
Part salesperson and part engineer, a sales engineer serves as the link between customer and designer of a product. A sales engineer gathers feedback from customers related to the product and then applies technical knowledge to communicate concerns and potential solutions back to the designers and manufacturers. A professional with a degree in general engineering who specializes as a sales engineer also promotes products by suggesting ways to use them and demonstrating superiority over competitors’ products. For example, a sales engineer may help a potential customer discover how to use a new software program to manage both family and business finances. The sales engineer may further support the customer during the installment phase at home as well. Required Education to Work as a Sales Engineer
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most sales engineers have a bachelor’s degree in general engineering or one of the other 17 engineering specialties. Technical expertise is essential when entering a sales engineering position. Some general engineering programs focus on developing technical skills whereas others tend towards theoretical general engineering education to prepare students for graduate school. Students also have the option of choosing between a campus general engineering degree and an online general engineering degree.
Online degree program engineering students at Warren National University learn fundamental engineering knowledge along with practical technical skills. An online engineering course in engineering physics, engineering math, materials science, and more contribute to the total online engineering education experience. Advanced bachelor’s degree engineering online courses may include areas of specialization within engineering, such as environmental engineering. Finally, students specialize and refine their technical skills even further with a final project before graduation. Flexible, moldable engineering online programs can be particularly useful to the student who has already decided on a career as a sales engineer.
Qualities Necessary for Success as a Sales Engineer
Sales engineers interact with a variety of people, including engineers, salespersons, and clients. Consequently, good communication skills are a must. They must be able to listen to complex, technical language from engineers and interpret it into understandable, relevant information for customers. Sales and engineering experience is also very helpful to the general engineering graduate entering a sales engineering career. Seeking general engineering internships or jobs that provide sales training can be invaluable. Once a sales engineering position is secured, successful professionals continue developing their technical knowledge in order to keep up with rapidly changing technology and to stay current with new products.
Job Outlook for Sales Engineers
The Department of Labor predicts a 9 – 17% job growth rate through the year 2018 for sales engineers. Rising diversity and technical nature of products on the market are expected to increase demand for the assistance of sales engineers. The greatest number of opportunities will most likely arise from independent firms, as larger companies outsource sales engineering functions to smaller organizations. General engineering professionals with technical expertise and an effective sales personality will be most successful in the field.