Job Title: Technical Solution Architect
Type of Company: I work for a large manufacturer of computer hardware and software that also provides technical and business services.
Education: BS, Electrical Engineering, Cornell University
Previous Experience: I started as a technical support engineer for a start-up company in 1993, moved into technical sales and technical services and finally into technical services management. The start-up was acquired in 2006 and the company that acquired it was swallowed up in 2008. With the newest acquirer, I had many career opportunities and moved into my current role.
Job Tasks: My main responsibility is working face-to-face with customers, listening to the business challenges they face, and providing leadership and guidance on ways to make improvements. Another important part of my job is to advise customers on metrics to track so they can measure the improvements they are realizing and further fine-tune them by making adjustments to processes, tools, and infrastructure.
Most of the customers I work with are developing embedded systems. An embedded system typically involves many dedicated networked computers, and some common examples are cars, trains, airplanes, assembly lines, industrial HVAC systems, and many medical devices.
As embedded systems have become more complex and pervasive, there is a growing need to deploy new design and testing techniques to ensure products work properly and safely. I provide guidance to customers to help them improve their design and testing techniques.
While most of my time is spent providing guidance, I also do work with a sales team to close new business by completing proofs of concept for customers.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are working with people and getting to learn about how many things work. I have worked with engineers developing fighter jets, commercial airplanes, satellites, spacecraft, tanks, cars, trucks, intelligent highway systems, communications devices and medical devices. I also enjoy the opportunity to travel to many different places, both here and abroad.
The worst part of the job is having to spend so much time away from my family.
Job Tips: The most important skill for my job is being able to listen to people, understand what they are saying, and effectively communicate the value and importance of making improvements. But being able to learn quickly and grasp the basics of complex technological problems with minimal training is also important. While many of the technical challenges I see are similar at a high level, the details are industry- and company-specific, and the difference between making a customer successful or failing miserably is the ability to 'speak their language' and present ideas in ways they easily understand.
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