Job Title: Software Application Engineer
Type of Company: My company makes a suite of computer aided design software that is used by manufacturers to design and build products.
Education: BS, Mechanical Engineering, Rutgers College of Engineering
Previous Experience: I started as a design engineer working for a large firm that designs and builds turbines and generators for utilities. I started in the Generator Rotor design team and specialized in rotor dynamics. I subsequently joined the Computing group which involved me in automating engineering tasks. I am currently a sales engineer selling complex software to all types of engineers.
Job Tasks: I work as a pre-sales engineer for a large U.S. software company that has thousands of customers around the world.
It is my job to demonstrate our software and show how it can be used to help companies design their products more efficiently: faster, better, and cheaper. The software suite I sell is complex and has many modules, features and configurations. My company has many specialists who focus on a single component.
I am a generalist, in contrast. I need to be knowledgeable about a broad range of disciplines. In my case I need to combine knowledge of Information Technology (Software, Hardware, Internet Architecture, Programing) with Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Manufacturing, Software).
I'm in the sales organization of my company, so first and foremost I am a salesman. I meet with potential customers to determine how our software can help them. Then I create and demonstrate in a live presentation how our software solves their product development problems.
My company uses web-based training to keep us informed about the latest software developments as our products arrive on the market. I probably spend a full day a week this way, keeping up-to-date and on top of our products.
I spend several days a week troubleshooting issues on the phone with my customers. The software's very good but there are always issues.
Most of my customers are within an hour of where I live. When I am not visiting my customers on site, which I do at least once a week, I work from home. I am even able to work remotely with many of my customers by leveraging internet live-meeting software to have a look at any issues that they are encountering.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The thing I like best about my job is how varied the things are I get to work on. I often get to see the products our customers build.
That variety can pose its own set of problems however. Every day is different, true, but sometimes customers have problems that need to get urgently resolved and you can get thrown right in the middle of something you've had no prior involvement in, And the pressure's then on to make the customer happy.
1. Develop some kind of synergy between your skills and your interests. My computer background has significantly affected my engineering roles.
2. Be a prolific reader of technology and business texts. Technology is literally changing daily today.
3. Get comfortable with presenting in front of an audience. Enhancing your presentation skills will make you a more effective communicator of your ideas.
Additional Thoughts: An Engineering degree teaches the art of problem-solving, which is a valuable skill that can be used everywhere.
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