What is a Field Service Engineer?

Field Service Engineer

A field service engineer creates, installs, and repairs technology-related equipment. An engineer, for example, can work in the public or private sectors, and support a variety of systems to include electronics, electromechanical, biomedical equipment and many other complex technologies.

Instead of working from a central location, repairs and installs are performed on-site at the customer’s place of business. The job description is fairly consistent throughout the industry, however, it differs slightly based on sub-specialization.

Let’s take a look at what field service engineering entails and how it can benefit you. Field service engineers at CSMI collaborate within an integrated field services team to perform system fielding and technical sustainment of a variety of commercial and military oriented technologies.

What Is Field Service Management?

Field service management entails dispatching employees or contractors to a location outside of the company’s premises to install, maintain, or repair equipment, as well as troubleshoot systems or assets.

Field service managers manage an organization’s field resources and coordinate the work of field service practitioners who provide clients with skilled, specialized, or proprietary services.

Effective field service management solutions combine data from enterprise asset management systems with remote data from the field, including IoT and mobile devices, to help a company manage its resources.

What Is a Field Service Engineer?

Field service engineers work in a variety of technological fields, designing, installing, and repairing equipment. They provide near full spectrum technical services and support of end use customer technology operations. 

They can work in both the public and private sectors, as well as within manufacturing facilities. They are often required to train customers on how to use specific types of hardware.

Field service engineers work with customers to solve their problems. They install new hardware, software, or systems while monitoring existing problems and, at times, collaborating with other professionals. They are also perform tasks associated with managing and tracking of newly acquired systems and equipment. 

Engineers respond to calls and complete technical services tasks such as system installation and commissioning, calibration tasks, scheduled and corrective maintenance, and other duties as assigned. They also instruct customers how to operate equipment, and perform operator level troubleshooting.

As you can see, working with people is a key aspect of a field service engineer’s job. In addition to having strong people and mechanical abilities, engineers develop a broad understanding of computer software and technology. 

In most cases, the Field service engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline

Field Service Engineers vs Technicians

It’s easy to see why the terms Field Service Engineer and Field Service Technician are frequently used interchangeably. Engineers, on the other hand, are typically given more responsibilities.

Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree (BA), whereas technicians can make do with an associate’s degree. Often, commensurate technical background and experience may considered in lieu of, or in concert with direct educational requirements.  Engineers are also more likely to do more strategic work, such as planning improvements, maintenance, and continual innovation. Technicians, on the other hand, are more likely to work directly with equipment.

A field service engineer’s responsibilities usually focus on interaction of multiple technical systems and components and software. They are often seen performing direct maintenance or repairs on complex technology systems.

Field service engineers’ responsibilities may include, for example:

  • Troubleshooting problems
  • Task scheduling at each job site
  • Creating in-depth technical reports
  • Performing emergency services
  • Ensure proper adherence to facility safety requirements
  • Teaching others how to use the equipment

Field service technicians, on the other hand, may be responsible for:

  • Keeping track of parts inventory
  • On-time completion of scheduled maintenance tasks
  • Effective customer communication
  • Performing corrective maintenance and repairs
  • Keeping equipment and facilities clean

As you can see, having considerable soft skills is an important aspect of an engineer’s professional profile. They must also be able to manage people, communicate effectively, and have a thorough understanding of how businesses work on a technical level. 

Technicians are often more hands-on, whereas engineers are more involved in project management.

A Field Service Engineer’s Day-To-Day Activities

Field service engineers are valuable assets for companies that specialize in on-premise technical work. They are an essential service to any business that operates technical facilities because they assist clients in managing their equipment over time.

Facility management plays a vital role in the job. Facilities management is a business process that focuses on providing organizations with efficient and effective support services. Simply put, it is the process of effectively managing the people, technology, and space in a facility.

Field service engineers are frequently called upon by facilities managers to assure the appropriate operation of the facility’s technical (and, in some cases, space) side. The most common request from facility managers for engineers is for technical maintenance.

In addition to taking care of facility management’s technical and maintenance needs, engineers may be expected to design strategies for or analyze certain aspects of a business. One of the current facility management trends is the use of large-scale data analytics to evaluate energy efficiency and potential areas for improvement.

Engineers may be asked by facility managers to include sensor technologies into the equipment while developing strategies. Sensor technology is a growing facility management concept that allows a company to create an Internet of Things (IoT) network using its equipment. 

When such technology is widely used within a company, facilities managers can use facility management software to conduct remote monitoring.

These are just a handful of the duties that a field service engineer may be responsible for. They’re often required to assist in developing sustainment strategies, as well as provide support and if required. 

Of course, companies that employ field service engineers typically provide all necessary support, making the process much easier.

How to Become a Field Service Engineer

As previously noted, a field service engineers generally possess have a bachelor’s degree in the desired engineering niche. Many people pursue a master’s degree to advance their careers and advance to senior positions. Even with an MSc, staying up to date on technological advances is critical.

In addition to a degree, a good field engineer should possess the following skills: 

  • Ability to communicate clearly with team members and clients
  • Good working knowledge of computer software and hardware
  • Ability to solve problems and think analytically
  • Mechanical and Electronics abilities
  • Detail-oriented
  • Task management and organizational capabilities

It’s a common misconception that working in technical fields entails primarily working with machinery. In reality, a career in field service engineering and technicians is very people-centered. As a result, excellent customer service skills are essential for becoming a successful field service engineer.

That said, technical skills are unquestionably required for the job. Soft “people” skills, on the other hand, are critical for a successful career. So, if you want to quickly advance up the corporate ladder, you must communicate and understand your clients’ needs.

Working in a technical field has its challenges, but it also has its advantages. Most companies in related industries value the knowledge and experience you gain working in such a rewarding field. While the work is geographically confined, it will be much easier to gain employment if one is willing to relocate to most any location globally.

How Much Does a Field Service Engineer Make? Here’s a Breakdown per Country

A degree and extensive industry experience are required for the position of the field service engineer. However, if you are willing to put in the hours, field service engineers can earn an average of $69,000 per year. 

A recent study found that senior positions requiring a master’s degree can pay close to or more than $100,000 per year.

Here are some average annual salaries in other countries:

  • Over €52,000 in Germany
  • Over €42,000 in Spain
  • Over £30,000 in the United Kingdom
  • Over €24,792 in Lithuania

Field service engineers are typically well-paid. However, in order to meet expectations, a proper combination of soft and hard technical skills is required. Needless to say, being an engineer is far from simple.

Salaries vary greatly according to industry. Computer hardware engineers, for example, are among the highest paid, whereas mechanical engineers are significantly lower paid. The disparities between these two groups can easily exceed $30,000 per year.

The good news is that, like with most highly technical careers, the job market will most certainly remain stable for a long time. Field service engineers are essential to any organization that performs on-premise work.

Despite this, there is frequently a scarcity of highly educated jobless engineers, making the position extremely desirable. As a result, businesses are pushed to compete and offer higher perks or compensation, resulting in an overall improvement in the quality of the profession.

Field Service Management’s Future

In today’s world, organizations that can stay lean and avoid complicating their business models are rewarded. A CSMI field service engineer provides businesses with an unequaled range of talents that may be used on an as-needed basis. This means that instead of wasting resources, firms are investing in the assistance they require.

To get in touch with our team at CSMI for more information about field service engineers, get in touch with us today.