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Career Path: How to Become a Solutions Engineer

You have chosen your career and now are ready to go down the path of becoming a Solutions Engineer (SE). Companies are looking for skilled individuals that can help them run efficiently by coming up with answers to problems that customers' may have. You, as a solutions engineer, will be able to assist in resolving these issues.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a Solutions Engineer, you will need to learn the basics. There's the technical side of the field that involves programming and software development, as well as the business side which entai...more

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Career-building content for Solutions Engineers

We've collected tons of information on salaries, compensation, negotiation and more. See even more on our blog.

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Career Path: How to Become a Solutions Engineer

You have chosen your career and now are ready to go down the path of becoming a Solutions Engineer (SE). Companies are looking for skilled individuals that can help them run efficiently by coming up with answers to problems that customers' may have. You, as a solutions engineer, will be able to assist in resolving these issues.

Getting Through the Door

While seeking a job as a Solutions Engineer, you will need to learn the basics. There's the technical side of the field that involves programming and software development, as well as the business side which entails strategic planning and great communication with customers or clientele. Being familiar with system architecture concepts and a company's software, web and database technology is a must.

Other technical skills that can give you an advantage include experience with programming languages like HTML, Java and C++, as well as Microsoft Office Suites such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Knowledge of API integration and familiarity with SQL will also help you stand out. Some of the other minimum requirements that you will need to qualify as an entry- or junior-level engineer include:

  • Developing and deploying software solutions that meet customer requirements
  • Investigating equipment failures and difficulties to diagnose faulty operations in order to make recommendations
  • Good problem-solving, as well as written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Able to work independently and in a team environment
  • Having a can-do attitude and a willingness to travel

Degrees and Experience

Companies usually look for solutions engineers to have a degree in computer science, engineering or relevant field. You can also learn needed skills through online courses and earn experience getting hands-on training on the job or while freelancing. Employers will also look for you to be knowledgeable of CRM (customer relationship management), as well as responding to RFPs (request for proposals) and RFIs (request for information).

Working as a Junior-Level Engineer

As a junior-level engineer, your main responsibilities will be to support and develop processes and systems for thorough and quick responses to customers. You will provide systems configuration recommendations, as well as identify the customer's business needs and requirements. A junior-level engineer may design solution architectures, write metadata manipulation code, build out prototypes, and compare and contrast integration alternatives. You will also research and test your solutions.

Moving Up the Ranks

You have acquired more experience as a solutions engineer and are ready to move up a level in your career. Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies in the field is a great way to acquire the knowledge needed to grow. Expanding your tech skills, as well as becoming certified will help you achieve your goal. There are the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert), VTSP (VMware Technical Sales Professional) and Cisco CCNA certifications that will catch the eye of employers.

Advance Your Career: How to Become a Senior Solutions Engineer

Senior Solutions Engineers have a leadership role. They will provide expert technical support and present solutions to the sales and business teams. Interacting with clients to execute the technical aspects of the sales strategy to develop and build relationships is part of the job. Senior-level engineers will prepare proposals and presentations, as well as responses to industry and product questions. They can also provide consultation and training to internal partners and teams.

Study the Core Fields

To be an expert solutions engineer, you have to be skilled in your field. This involves being aware of the latest IT technologies and methods. Gaining more experience with software development, as well as systems management is important. Senior solutions engineers are able to multitask and take ownership of the tasks at hand. Having superb writing skills along with the ability to create technical documentation, respond to RFPs and submit professional reports is a must. You also need to expand your knowledge of digital marketing, data systems, web analytics and CRM, as well as search and content management systems.

Invest in Yourself

You have proven your expertise in the field as a Senior Solutions Engineer. You have solid written, verbal, presentation and interpersonal communication skills. You are knowledgeable of APIs, distributed backend systems, dimensional data modeling, SQL queries and schema design. Managing concurrent projects and driving initiatives in a cross-functional environment is also part of your job. A good understanding of technologies like Linux/Windows servers, Java, PHP, JavaScript, REACT and Python, as well as Oracle, will give you an advantage. Employers also like to see experience with cloud technologies.

Don't Stop at Engineer

You can further accelerate your career by getting more adept in working with mobile platforms, frameworks and SDKs. Expand your knowledge by taking advantage of educational opportunities while on the job. There are organizations where you can gain valuable insight like the NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering) and the WFEO (World Federation of Engineering Organizations) along with groups you can join on LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and others to help you along the way. This can further accelerate your goals by keeping you up-to-date with industry trends and building a strong network of skilled individuals that may offer access to potential employers.

Solutions Engineer Job Description

We’ve done the research for you. After evaluating numerous job descriptions, we’ve written our own representative job description for a mid-level engineer with between two and five years of relevant experience.

As a solutions engineer, you will come up with strategies that will help customers with problems that occur with hardware or software. You can multitask and work efficiently in a team setting on critical projects to get them done. Our engineers are self-motivated and display leadership qualities. We welcome diversity and encourage healthy debate and discussion.

What We Need Your Help With

  • Come up with solutions to resolve customer and prospective customer issues in a logical, creative and structured manner
  • Align the client’s goals, needs and objectives to the solutions
  • Communicate issues and status in a clear, timely manner
  • Interpret specifications and build solutions to those specifications
  • Support the sales process by acting as an expert of the company's services and products, including usage, architecture, functionality and deployment
  • Develop custom presentations and demonstrations
  • Generates infrastructure support documentation
  • Make proposals and help to write RFP responses
  • Evaluate and propose process improvements
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge about the company's software/hardware products

What We Look For

  • 3+ years in a technical customer service or product-focused role
  • 4+ years experience in information technology and SRE
  • Experience with Linux or Microsoft SQL Server, as well as Java, JavaScript
  • Experience with CRM, as well as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel
  • Experience with SSO, MDM, APIs and web service protocols
  • Exceptional writing, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong technical experience in testing, design and support
  • Ability to understand complex business challenges and apply troubleshooting to meet client needs
  • Strong analytical, planning, technical and presentation development skills
  • B.S. degree in engineering, computer science, networking or relevant field or equivalent experience

These Would Also Be Nice

  • Experience with XML, JSON, .NET and Node.js, as well as database modeling and design
  • Experience with machine learning domains, AWS and Google Cloud
  • Experience with operational risk management, enterprise software and G Suite
  • Experience with the design, deployment and configuration of voice and data networks

Senior Solutions Engineer Career Paths: Where To Go From Here

You have obtained 10 years of experience and are ready to embark on a new challenge. Technology is advancing fast with companies in sectors such as telecommunications, wholesale electronics and computer systems design in need of highly skilled individuals to help grow their business. Being able to lead and have a strong business acumen, as well as explain the technical side of products is what you are able to do.

Senior Solutions Engineers may transition into the position of a Senior Solutions Architect where their responsibilities would be to act as the lead for the translation of business requirements and objectives into functional solutions, as well as mentor and coach junior team members. There's the role of the Enterprise Architecture Director who will create initiatives that will become the foundation of a company's support system. You will also oversee communication protocols, models, documentation of roadmaps and market trends. With the acquired experience, a senior solutions engineer can even delve into the role of Chief Architect of IT who is tasked with leading the development and delivery of technology solutions that fit a company's needs. From there, there's the position of VP of Engineering who will oversee the engineering, research and development departments to ensure they are running smoothly and meet company standards.

The positions listed generally require a bachelor's degree with a master's being an employer's preferred choice, such as an MBA in some cases. Managerial and industry certifications along with years of expertise in the field are a must-have on this journey. You will also need to possess not only excellent communication skills but be able to work independently, lead effectively and make important decisions for the company as a whole.

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally implemented in web browsers, but now widely used server-side via the Node.js platform. It supports a runtime system based on numerical, Boolean and string values, with built-in, first-class support f...

Java is a statically-typed, cross-platform language. It is concurrent, class-based, and object-oriented. It has minimal implementation dependencies and compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilat...

Python is an object-oriented programming language notable for its clarity, power and flexibility. Python is an interpreted language, meaning that an interpreter reads and runs the code directly, rather than compiling down into static lower level c...

C++

C++ is an object-oriented language derived from C, and invented by Bjarne Stroustrup, while working at AT&T's Bell Labs. It is widely used for systems-level programming, and building applications on Windows and various Unix operating systems (Lin...

C

C is a widely used low-level, static-typed, compiled computer language known for its efficiency. Developed in the late sixties, C has become one of the most widely used languages of all time. It provides direct access to memory and due to its de...

SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a highly popular domain specific language (DSL) used to communicate with relational database management systems (RDBMS). SQL is a standard that is based on the "relational model", defined by professor E.F. Codd,...

Scala is a strongly, statically typed functional/object-oriented language primarily targeted to the JVM. It brings a lot of powerful programming language concepts out of academia, placing them into the hands of practitioners. A key design emphas...

PHP

PHP is a widely-used open-source scripting language that has seen wide use in web application development. PHP code must be processed by an interpreter like the Zend Engine. With a strong open-source community and large adoption world-wide, PHP ...

.NET is a framework created by Microsoft that consists of common language runtime and its own class library. Its key benefits are managing code at execution in the form of memory management, thread management and remoting. It also has added safet...

Top industries hiring Solutions Engineers

eCommerce

The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Retail was once a brick-and-mortar industry, comprised of small, independently owned-and-operated businesses and large chain stores with multiple outposts throughout the c...

Analytics

Analytics and Business Intelligence roles are often confused but are also directly linked. Data that is collected when a user interacts with a system is then cleaned and stored. That data is then accessed using reports and graphical dashboards. Th...

Security

Security industry jobs tend to involve the patrolling and guarding of physical assets, buildings and compounds, people, or anything else of value that one cares to protect. Jobs in the industry range from the individuals that actually perform t...

Education

The education industry involves working in an environment that implements and teaches various skills and applicable material. Formal education typically involves various levels of education, including preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary, vo...

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