A field engineer oversees the equipment on a site rather than work in an office. But the job involves many more duties besides this. This CareerStint article gives the job description of a field engineer, and what skills are required to excel in this role.
Field engineers are also required by the military. They work to remove landmines and set up defenses, besides other important tasks.
A field engineer is a professional that deals with the operations of a company on a job site. Ordinarily, the site belongs to the client, rather than the organization that the field engineer works for. Thus, this is not a typical 9 – 5 desk job. In fact, the profession regularly involves long hours of work, that may even extend to all days of the week. However organizations recognize the need to rest and will give some days off, depending on the company policy. The job requires excellent technical knowledge which should be application oriented for a problem-solving approach. Besides this, the professional also has to interact with clients as well as other employees, which brings in the need for good communication skills.
The recruiting organization checks for attributes such as the ability to work alone and also as part of a team. The job site may be a production facility, plant, or an oil well. They have to be good learners and provide assistance to other engineers and specialists at the site. A field engineer is basically a professional who will ensure that the latest technology in his field is implemented without issues on the site. While a degree in engineering has its own advantages, some companies also train their candidates and provide apprenticeship programs. The job is fulfilling and helps one rapidly advance in their career path. This profession is described in more detail below.
What Does a Field Engineer Do
◈ To monitor equipment on the site and repair any faulty equipment
◈ The candidate should be conversant about safety standards and regulations
◈ Constant supervision of operations to see if they are going according to plan
◈ To undertake training of field operators
◈ Should coordinate with the project manager and superintendent on various projects
◈ Should coordinate with various teams, such as customer care, marketing and so on
◈ Oversees installation of equipment on-site
◈ Serves as a representative of the company in conferences and other events
◈ Should be able to convince customers that the organization’s services or product will enhance their operations
◈ To serve as a guide for junior or trainee field engineers
◈ To develop customer contacts
◈ To ensure that approval by engineers, craft production, and release of work is done in a timely manner
◈ To oversee reports and other details to understand past causes of equipment failure or damage
◈ Coordinates with other engineering divisions and checks how their cooperation can be beneficial for a project
◈ Coordinates with consultants to find solutions to design conflicts
◈ Tests preexisting machines and equipment for their performance and compliance with necessary standards
◈ Filing information in reports, and submission to superiors
◈ Will have to work by referring to designs and reports
◈ To study shop and contract drawings to assess progress of work
◈ Perform various other duties as assigned by the project engineer or supervisor, such as overseeing subcontractor work
◈ To supervise labor cost reports, and check if estimate in material ledgers will suffice for the project
◈ Preparation of final reports of the project
◈ Should understand subcontract language, scope, terms, and other technicalities
✔ A willingness to travel
✔Technological knowledge of equipment located on the site
✔Good verbal and written communication skills, with fluency in English
✔Innovative, with a problem-solving approach
✔Should be suited for physically demanding work and work that may extend for long hours
✔Should possess good motor skills
✔An ability to cope with unexpected developments
✔Should be ready to undergo training programs as mandated by the organization
✧ A four-year degree program in an engineering discipline, such as mechanical, chemical, civil, or electrical engineering
✧ Good skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint
✧ Experience and proficiency in software like Primavera and AutoCAD may be required
✧ Relevant experience in the field
✧ Candidate may have to be ready for continuing education to adapt to changes in the field
The salary of a field engineer ranges from $40,000 to $85,000, with the average pay being around $60,000. Furthermore, a field engineer may receive a bonus and a share of the profits, which may go up to $10,000 each. He/she may also be entitled to a commission, netting him up to $25,000. Bonuses, perks, incentives, etc., would all vary as per the type of organization one is working for.
The job of a field engineer requires a candidate with an adventurous spirit. The pay is commensurate with experience and there is a tremendous scope for promotion to high posts. With around 5-6 years of experience, a field engineer may be promoted to a position involving less travel.