Job Search

Application Engineer vs. Sales Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Application engineers and sales engineers are both technical positions that require a high level of understanding of the products they are working with. However, these two positions have different focuses. Application engineers typically work with customers to understand their needs and then design solutions using the company’s products. Sales engineers, on the other hand, work with the sales team to help them sell the company’s products.

In this article, we will compare and contrast these two positions, discuss the skills and knowledge required for each, and provide some tips for those interested in pursuing a career in either field.

What is an Application Engineer?

Application Engineers are responsible for developing and managing software applications. They work with clients to understand their needs and then design, test and implement custom software solutions. Application Engineers often work in teams with other developers, designers and quality assurance staff. They may also be responsible for training users on how to use the software they’ve developed. Application Engineers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

What is a Sales Engineer?

Sales Engineers are responsible for understanding and demonstrating how a company’s products or services can be used to solve customers’ problems. They work closely with the sales team to identify and qualify opportunities, then they create and deliver technical presentations that show how the company’s products or services can meet the customer’s needs. Sales Engineers also provide pre-sales and post-sales support, such as training customers on how to use the company’s products or services. They may also work with the product development team to provide feedback on how well the products or services meet customer needs.

Application Engineer vs. Sales Engineer

Here are the main differences between an application engineer and a sales engineer.

Job Duties

Both application and sales engineers have duties that involve research, analysis and problem-solving. The primary difference between the two roles is the type of problem they solve. Application engineers focus on internal issues, such as finding ways to improve processes or develop new products. Sales engineers also look for solutions to problems, but their solutions help external clients use the product in an effective way. For example, a sales engineer might find out that customers struggle with using certain features and then work with the application engineer to fix those bugs before releasing the product.

Job Requirements

Application engineers and sales engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates to have experience working in customer service or sales. Some employers also require applicants to have a professional engineering license, which can be obtained after completing an accredited engineering program and passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Work Environment

Application engineers work in a variety of environments, depending on the industry they’re working in. For example, an application engineer for a construction company may spend most of their time outdoors, while an application engineer for a software development company may spend more time indoors. Sales engineers also work in a variety of environments, but they often travel to meet with clients and attend trade shows or conferences.

Application engineers typically work full-time hours during regular business days. They may have some flexibility in their schedules, such as working overtime when necessary. Sales engineers usually work full-time hours during regular business days, too. However, because sales engineers are often traveling, they may not be able to work every day.


Both application engineers and sales engineers use customer service skills when working with clients. They need to be able to understand customer needs, build relationships and provide solutions. However, application engineers also need to have strong technical skills to be able to troubleshoot issues and develop custom applications, while sales engineers need to have strong sales skills to be able to close deals.


Application engineers earn an average salary of $87,975 per year, while sales engineers earn an average salary of $87,120 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


systems engineer vs. Product Manager: What Are the Differences?

Back to Job Search

Podiatrist vs. Dermatologist: What Are the Differences?