If working with technology equipment, troubleshooting problems, and helping businesses to maintain continuous operations and uptime sound appealing to you, then a power quality field engineer might be your perfect profession. Tasked with a wide variety of functions and responsibilities, field service engineers manage technical functions, test equipment, oversee repairs and conduct site inspections, among other everyday duties. Before determining if a field service engineer might be an appropriate career path for you, it is important to understand the job and all it entails.
What Does a Field Engineer Do?
Not only do field engineers work in a wide range of industries — from power quality to telecommunications to manufacturing — there are many different types, each of which focuses on a specific service area. For example, some field engineers are software specialists, others concentrate on hardware, and still others specialize in systems maintenance.
Primary responsibilities of a UPS field service engineer include inspecting existing equipment and installing new and refurbished equipment and technologies, conducting research to solve problems (often on-the-fly) and resolving equipment malfunctions. In addition to ensuring that all devices and equipment work correctly, field engineers may direct other workers on site and confirm that engineering designs are being followed. In the power quality industry, field engineer duties focus on providing electronic, electrical and mechanical repairs on critical high-voltage backup systems or uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), communicating technical information to customers, and advising on needed repairs and preventative maintenance.
While the specific duties and job description may vary based on the employer, the engineer role will require you to travel to client sites to complete inspections prior to machines being installed or when an existing piece of equipment is experiencing a technical issue. The main difference between traditional engineers and field engineers is that field engineers are tasked with maintaining infrastructure outside of a centralized operations center. Unlike other disciplines of engineering, UPS field engineers spend only a small percentage of time in their company’s office. Most of the time, they work remotely and focus on preventative maintenance, troubleshooting and repair, as opposed to design like traditional engineers.
How to Become a Field Engineer
Field engineer jobs range from entry-level positions to roles requiring more expertise and experience, such as management or technical support. In addition to specific educational qualifications, it is important for field engineers to possess computer literacy, strong analytical thinking and excellent communication skills in order to fulfill their duties and responsibilities. If you’re interested in becoming a field engineer, consider taking the following steps:
1. Pursue Education: While education requirements may fluctuate depending on the employer, most companies require field engineers to have some type of college degree, generally either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of engineering. An alternate educational path would be military service in a field focused on electronics or electrical maintenance. However, depending on the employer, extensive job experience can sometimes make up for lack of formal qualifications. It is helpful
if your degree or work experience is relevant to the industry in which you work. For example, if you would like to be a field engineer for a chemical production plant, a degree in chemical engineering is beneficial, while a telecom field engineer will benefit from a degree in information technology.
2. Gain Experience: Now it’s time to put your technical skills to work! In addition to field engineering formal education, it is essential that prospective workers gain practical experience. Some engineering programs offer students the opportunity to acquire real-world experience while still in school. Options may include an engineering internship, job shadowing or a cooperative program, all of which enable students to learn hands-on from established professionals. In order to succeed in this profession, a strong grasp of engineering technology skills is needed, including electronic equipment installation, electronic troubleshooting, field operations and service, on-site preventive maintenance, and technical services and troubleshooting. Some companies may be willing to provide on-the-job training for some of these skills if you are competent in other areas.
3. Apply for Jobs: With your basic education and introductory experience complete, now you’re ready to explore careers. Consider the industries that interest you most and research different job postings. Some companies provide applicants with on-the-job training, making it possible for individuals to find field engineer jobs even if they lack experience. One of the most successful ways for prospective field engineers to find a position is through networking and by inquiring with local companies.
Join Our Team
Unified Power is always seeking quality field engineers to join our team and support our continued growth. Currently employing more than 200 staff members, we provide preventive maintenance, demand maintenance and emergency services for critical power equipment, including UPS equipment, backup generators, DC Plants, PDUs and more. Serving more than 7,000 clients across the nation, Unified Power customizes our services and solutions to meet the needs of every business, which include federal, state and local governments, telecommunications companies, data centers, hospitals and more.
Unified Power looks for self-motived, independent field service engineers who can also work in a team environment when needed. Applicants must think technically yet communicate technical information to customers in a way they understand. Proficiency using all Microsoft office products is also required. We pride ourselves on providing career development for all of our valued employees and we post jobs on a regular basis. Don’t wait! Find out what positions are currently open.