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Become An Applications Engineer/Product Manager

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Working As An Applications Engineer/Product Manager

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $101,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Applications Engineer/Product Manager Do

Sales engineers sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. They must have extensive knowledge of the products’ parts and functions and must understand the scientific processes that make these products work.

Duties

Sales engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations explaining products or services to existing and prospective customers
  • Confer with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and to determine system requirements
  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements and provide sales support
  • Secure and renew orders and arrange delivery
  • Plan and modify products to meet customer needs
  • Help clients solve problems with installed equipment
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers, showing how changes will lower costs or increase production
  • Help in researching and developing new products

Sales engineers specialize in technologically and scientifically advanced products. They use their technical skills to explain the benefits of their products or services to potential customers and to show how their products or services are better than their competitors'. Some sales engineers work for the companies that design and build technical products. Others work for independent sales firms.

Many of the duties of sales engineers are similar to those of other salespersons. They must interest the client in buying their products or services, negotiate a price, and complete the sale. To do this, sales engineers give technical presentations during which they explain the technical aspects of the product and how it will solve a specific customer problem.

Some sales engineers, however, team with salespersons who concentrate on marketing and selling the product, which lets the sales engineer concentrate on the technical aspects of the job. By working as part of a sales team, each member is able to focus on his or her strengths and expertise. For more information on other sales occupations, see the profile on wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.

In addition to giving technical presentations, sales engineers are increasingly doing other tasks related to sales, such as market research. They also may ask for technical requirements from customers and modify and adjust products to meet customers’ specific needs. Some sales engineers work with research and development (R&D) departments to help identify and develop new products.

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How To Become An Applications Engineer/Product Manager

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a sales engineer. Successful sales engineers combine technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.

Education

Sales engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. However, a worker without a degree, but with previous sales experience as well as technical experience or training, sometimes holds the title of sales engineer. Workers who have a degree in a science, such as chemistry, or in business with little or no previous sales experience, also may be called sales engineers.

University engineering programs generally require 4 years of study. They vary in content, but all programs include courses in math and the physical sciences. In addition, most programs require developing strong computer skills.

Most engineering programs require students to choose an area of specialization. The most common majors are electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering, but some engineering departments offer additional majors, such as chemical, biomedical, or computer hardware engineering. However, some undergraduate programs offer a general engineering curriculum; students then specialize in a particular area either on the job or in graduate school.

Training

New graduates with engineering degrees typically need sales experience and training before they can work independently as sales engineers. Training covers general sales techniques and may involve teaming with a sales mentor who is familiar with the employer's business practices, customers, procedures, and company culture. After the training period, sales engineers may continue to partner with someone who lacks technical skills yet excels in the art of sales.

It is important for sales engineers to continue their engineering and sales education throughout their careers. Much of their value to their employers depends on their knowledge of, and ability to sell, the latest technologies. Sales engineers in high-technology fields, such as information technology and advanced electronics, may find that their technical knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete, requiring frequent retraining.

Advancement

Promotions may include a higher commission rate, a larger sales territory, or elevation to the position of supervisor or sales manager.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Strong interpersonal skills are a valuable characteristic for sales engineers, both for building relationships with clients and effectively communicating with other members of the sales team.

Problem-solving skills. Sales engineers must be able to listen to the customer’s desires and concerns, and then recommend solutions, possibly including customizing a product.

Self-confidence. Sales engineers should be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. 

Technological skills. Sales engineers must have extensive knowledge of the technologically sophisticated products they sell in order to explain their advantages and answer questions.

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Average Length of Employment
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Product Manager 3.3 years
Top Careers Before Applications Engineer/Product Manager
Engineer 4.9%
Top Careers After Applications Engineer/Product Manager

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Top Skills for An Applications Engineer/Product Manager

  1. New Product Development
  2. Technical Support
  3. OEM
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided engineering technical support to Municipal and Civil Engineers.
  • Managed Product Development of 7 OEM electronically assisted turbocharger designs with Honeywell.
  • Presented products internationally with customer visits, trade shows and sales conferences raising awareness and gaining multiple design wins.
  • Be involved with customer service and understand what problems there may be with the product.
  • Recognize needs beyond standard equipment specification and interface with engineering to ensure customer requirements will be accommodated.

Applications Engineer/Product Manager Demographics

Gender

Male

82.9%

Unknown

9.8%

Female

7.3%
Ethnicity

White

57.6%

Asian

15.8%

Hispanic or Latino

13.8%

Black or African American

8.6%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.0%

French

20.0%

Romanian

10.0%

Japanese

10.0%

Russian

10.0%

Arabic

10.0%

Italian

10.0%
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Applications Engineer/Product Manager Education

Schools

Ohio State University

9.1%

Illinois Institute of Technology

9.1%

University of South Florida

6.1%

California State University - Fullerton

6.1%

Santa Clara University

6.1%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

6.1%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

6.1%

University of Phoenix

6.1%

City College of New York of the City University of New York

6.1%

University of California - Irvine

6.1%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

6.1%

Michigan Technological University

3.0%

Northern Kentucky University

3.0%

Bucknell University

3.0%

Elon University

3.0%

King's College

3.0%

Thunderbird School of Global Management

3.0%

Saint Joseph's University

3.0%

United States Military Academy

3.0%

Louisiana Tech University

3.0%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

26.7%

Business

12.4%

Mechanical Engineering

11.4%

Management

5.7%

Marketing

5.7%

Chemical Engineering

4.8%

Computer Engineering

4.8%

Finance

3.8%

Project Management

3.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.9%

Computer Science

2.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.9%

Engineering

1.9%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.9%

Information Systems

1.9%

Materials Science And Engineering

1.9%

Accounting

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.0%

Intelligence Operations

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.2%

Masters

32.5%

Other

18.3%

Associate

5.8%

Diploma

2.5%

Doctorate

1.7%
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