Career Development

What Does a Field Engineer Do?

Find out what a field engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a field engineer.

Field engineers are responsible for performing a wide range of tasks related to the installation, repair, and maintenance of equipment and machinery. They commonly work onsite at construction sites, manufacturing plants, or other industrial settings where they’re tasked with installing, repairing, or maintaining industrial equipment such as pumps, valves, turbines, compressors, etc.

Field engineers may also be called upon to provide technical support to their clients after the initial installation is complete. This might include providing training on how to operate new equipment or software, troubleshooting problems that arise in the field, etc.

Field Engineer Job Duties

Field engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining inventory of equipment, supplies, and materials needed to perform projects
  • Performing hands-on work such as operating machinery, welding, or other skilled labor tasks
  • Conducting inspections to ensure that construction projects are proceeding on schedule and within budget
  • Consulting with clients to determine needs and create plans for new facilities or infrastructure improvements
  • Making recommendations about materials, designs, and methods of construction that will be safe and long lasting
  • Preparing reports detailing findings and recommending solutions
  • Installing electrical wiring and components, including switches and fuses, transformers, light bulbs, and junction boxes
  • Evaluating and recommending improvements to existing facilities or infrastructure, such as water treatment plants or roads
  • Communicating regularly with clients regarding project status and addressing any concerns

Field Engineer Salary & Outlook

Field engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $72,500 ($34.86/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of field engineers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for engineering services depends largely on the state of the economy and the level of infrastructure investment. As demand for new roads, bridges, and buildings increases, so will demand for engineering services. However, budget constraints may limit the amount of infrastructure projects that governments can fund.

Field Engineer Job Requirements

A field engineer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Field engineers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, engineering technology or a related field. Some of the most common majors for field engineers are civil engineering, mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

Training & Experience: Many companies require field engineers to have at least five years of experience in the industry. This experience can include a combination of formal education and on-the-job training. Some companies may also require a candidate to have experience in a specific industry, such as construction or manufacturing.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require field engineers to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Field Engineer Skills

Field engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Field engineers use technical skills to troubleshoot and repair machinery, conduct electrical work and complete other tasks that require technical knowledge. Technical skills can include knowledge of computer programs, software and machinery. Field engineers may need to read and interpret technical manuals and other documents.

Communication skills: Field engineers communicate with many people throughout their workday, including other engineers, project managers, clients and suppliers. They also communicate with people in other locations, so strong written and verbal communication skills are essential. Field engineers may use email, phone calls, video conferencing and in-person meetings to communicate with others.

Problem-solving skills: Field engineers solve problems throughout their workday. They may troubleshoot equipment, find solutions to issues with machinery or find ways to overcome challenges in the field. They may also solve problems with machinery or equipment, such as finding the source of a leak or repairing a faulty piece of equipment.

Leadership skills: Field engineers often work with teams of other engineers and technicians, so leadership skills can be important for them to have. Leadership skills can help them to motivate their team members and help them to work efficiently. Field engineers can also use leadership skills to help them to train new employees.

Teamwork skills: Field engineers often work in teams with other engineers, technicians and other professionals. They may also work with clients and customers to solve problems and complete projects. Having good teamwork skills can help you work with others to find solutions and complete tasks.

Field Engineer Work Environment

Field engineers are often required to travel to customer sites to provide on-site engineering and technical support. They may also be required to travel to attend training courses, conferences, and meetings. When they are not traveling, field engineers typically work in an office environment, although they may occasionally visit manufacturing plants or other locations. They typically work a regular 40-hour week, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines or to resolve customer issues. Field engineers typically work closely with other engineers, technicians, and support staff within their organization, as well as with customers and vendors.

Field Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how field engineers work. Field engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow. This means that field engineers will need to be familiar with cybersecurity best practices in order to keep their clients’ systems safe.

Field engineers can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in cybersecurity and by developing relationships with cybersecurity professionals. This will allow them to better protect their clients’ systems and ensure that they are following the latest security protocols.

The Need for More Collaboration Between Engineering and Operations

The need for more collaboration between engineering and operations is a trend that is being driven by the increasing complexity of products. As products become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult for one person to understand all of the components and how they work together.

Field engineers can take advantage of this trend by becoming experts in the products they install. By doing so, they can help to bridge the gap between engineering and operations and make sure that everyone is on the same page. In addition, they can also provide training to other employees who may not have as much experience with the product.

More Use of Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies are becoming increasingly popular in the business world, as they offer many benefits over traditional project management methods. One of the most important advantages of agile methodologies is that they promote collaboration and communication among team members.

As field engineers are responsible for implementing agile methodologies in their projects, they will need to be able to communicate effectively with team members and understand the importance of teamwork. This will allow them to create a productive and efficient working environment for everyone involved.

How to Become a Field Engineer

A career as a field engineer can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work outdoors, with your hands, and on a variety of projects. You’ll also have the chance to learn new skills and technologies, meet new people, and travel around the country.

To be successful in this field, you need to be able to think creatively and problem-solve. You should also be comfortable working independently and be able to take direction from supervisors.

Advancement Prospects

Field engineers typically start their careers in entry-level positions and advance to higher positions as they gain experience. Some field engineers eventually move into management positions, such as project manager or engineering manager. Others may become technical experts in a particular area and provide consulting services. Some field engineers may also start their own engineering firms.

Field Engineer Job Description Example

As a field engineer for [CompanyX], you will be responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of our products at customer sites. You will also provide technical support to customers, as needed. This is a field-based position, so you must be willing and able to travel as needed (estimated 50-75%). The ideal candidate will have experience in the installation and/or repair of similar products, as well as experience providing customer support. He or she will also have strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work independently with minimal supervision.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the technical expert on-site, providing engineering support and guidance to customers
  • Install, commission, maintain, and troubleshoot a variety of systems and equipment
  • Read and interpret blueprints, schematics, and technical manuals
  • Perform system testing and quality assurance checks
  • Write reports documenting findings and recommendations
  • Train customers on proper usage and maintenance of systems
  • Respond to customer inquiries and service requests in a timely and professional manner
  • Keep abreast of new products and developments in the field
  • Maintain accurate records of time, expenses, and materials used
  • Adhere to all safety policies and procedures
  • Comply with all company policies and procedures
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, or related field
  • 2+ years experience in a field engineering role
  • Working knowledge of CAD software
  • Ability to read and interpret technical drawings
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering
  • 4+ years experience in a field engineering role
  • Experience with construction management software
  • Project management experience
  • Leadership experience

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