Support engineers, or more specifically technical support engineers, address customer questions and concerns regarding their company's products. These professionals answer incoming phone calls from customers and troubleshoot technical problems. The educational requirements for this career vary, although an associate's or bachelor's degree in a technical field is commonly required. Individuals may also find positions with significant professional experience.
In addition to addressing customer inquiries, concerns and suggestions, support engineers may focus on issues brought up by other departments within their company, such as sales, manufacturing and operations. They may work in a variety of industries, from healthcare to telecommunications. Support engineers serve as experts in the products that their company manufactures and develops. They find solutions to problems with the products and help customers work through technical difficulties. Job duties may include:
- Filing reports regarding product problems
- Researching technical issues
- Managing and processing customer orders
- Walking customers through solutions
- Reviewing product change requests
- Learning about product updates and new technologies
Support engineers also report defects or offer suggestions for product improvement. Through their investigations, support engineers contribute to product knowledge and help make future technical support easier. Additional responsibilities may include taking action to resolve problems, troubleshooting, answering phones calls, and responding to e-mails.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field(s)||Varies by position: engineering, computer science or computer engineering, or other technical field|
|Experience||Experience or training with product or service being supported|
|Key Skills||Communication, customer service, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and analytical skills; extensive knowledge of product being supported|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||10% growth (for customer service representatives)|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$31,720 (for customer service representatives)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The educational requirements for support engineers can vary greatly by employer. For example, companies who manufacture computer software may prefer a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering. Other employers may not be so specific regarding a major and may require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a technical discipline. Few employers may accept an associate's degree or no degree at all for job applicants with extensive experience.
Because support engineers must communicate with other departments within their company and customers on a regular basis, both oral and written communication skills are very important. Individuals also need to have excellent troubleshooting, problem-solving and analytical skills. Support engineers must be technically knowledgeable when it comes to their company's products and able to learn about new technologies quickly.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that customer service representative jobs, of which support engineers are a type, are expected to grow at a faster than average rate, 10%, between 2014-2024. The median annual salary for customer service representatives as reported by the BLS was $31,720 in May 2015.
To recap, support engineers address customer concerns and questions about a customer's products and an associate's or bachelor's degree in a technical field is often needed.