The Application Engineer Role: Skills, Responsibilities & Salary

The demand for engineers has been growing over the years as the field has grown and developed. From aerospace engineer to civil engineer to software development engineer to application engineer, the demand is expected to grow even more in the coming years. 

Application engineering is a growing field with more and more people getting trained in it. If you are a newbie to engineering or someone looking to extend their domain of expertise with a passion for software application development and customer service, a career as an application engineer might just fit you. In this blog, we have discussed the role, skills, responsibilities, salary, and certification of application engineering. 

Who is an application engineer?

Application engineers are also known as software application developers. They are responsible for creating, designing, testing new applications, and improving existing software and hardware. An accurate way of describing application engineers is that they are the bridge between the engineering team and the organization's customers. They use customer feedback and inputs to design applications that benefit the customers. Their primary focus is to improve customer satisfaction by improving their software functioning. 

It is easy to confuse application engineers with app developers. However, they are two different fields and careers. App developers create and develop apps for electronic computing devices. For example, an app developer can specialize in creating apps for mobile phones. App engineers, on the other hand, aim to improve their client’s software functioning. 

App engineers are highly skilled at interacting with customers and understanding their needs, creating new software architecture to meet their needs, and designing unique solutions to unique needs. Their tasks also include maintaining hardware, testing applications, and providing technical support to clients. As such, they don’t work alone. They work within a team headed by a project manager and are responsible for primary customer interaction and for satisfying their needs overall. 

Roles and responsibilities of application engineers

Application engineers work within a team called the ‘Application Development and Maintenance’ team or ADM team. They have several responsibilities, such as:

  • Manage multiple projects and clients 
  • Log activities and necessary information into CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software
  • Manage new OS releases
  • Conduct testing for newly released apps
  • Conducting quality control inspection to ensure software meets client requirements
  • Provide technical support wherever necessary
  • Integrate different technologies to develop unique solutions

Let’s discuss some of them in detail

Developing applications

The key responsibility of an application engineer is to develop applications. Each client has unique needs that require designing unique solutions. The application engineer analyzes their client’s needs, understands the goals of their projects, and carefully assesses the requirements before designing and implementing their solutions. 

They develop an application to not only fulfill present needs but also to meet any possible future needs. Their goal is to understand the client's goals and create the best solution possible while future-proofing them.

Improving existing software

Developing an application is not the only thing application engineers do. They are also in charge of improving existing software and hardware. Based on the client’s feedback, application engineers make changes to the existing software and upgrade them accordingly. They also regularly improve existing applications to serve their clients better.

Providing technical support 

Application engineers also provide technical support to their clients at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier support levels. They work with the help desk team to respond to client inquiries, define their priorities, and ensure clients receive assistance as soon as possible. Sometimes, they even attend client inquiries on-site to provide the best available support. And since application engineers are responsible for making upsells, they use these calls to upsell their products. 

Making upsells

Since app engineers manage client needs and demands, they can also make upsells and sales recommendations. Their interaction with customers or clients is never-ending, which ensures they have unlimited opportunities to make upsells. The key here is to understand what will make the client’s life easier and their work better. And when app engineers figure that out, they successfully recommend products that the client is most likely to purchase. Another essential thing is to speak in a simplified, non-technical language to ensure the client understands the offered products/services the best.

Maintaining documents and inventory

Applications are highly detail-oriented. They have to maintain documentation and inventory for their clients. They maintain a record of all the installations and hardware components for each client while also keeping software at its best performance by adding necessary technical specifications. 

To maintain records efficiently and in an easily understandable manner, app engineers know all office software available and use inventory software.

Providing hardware solutions and upgrades 

App engineers are also responsible for upgrading and providing hardware solutions. They have deep hardware and technical knowledge to make this possible. Hardware components directly impact the performance of software components which makes it integral for app engineers to be skilled in handling hardware such as servers and processing speed. Sometimes, they even have to develop specific mechanical components to satisfy their clients. 

Education and skills 

A love for technology and interacting with customers to create new and innovative products are must-haves to becoming a great application engineer. Of course, there are other skills and educational requirements that one needs to fulfill to become an application engineer. 

Education 

Most organizations ask for a Bachelor's degree in computer science, electrical engineering, or a related field while hiring an application engineer. Some also require a Master’s degree in engineering. Depending on the level of the role, companies also need relevant experience. The ideal candidate should have excellent knowledge of programming, hardware, and designing programs. A person from a related field who is changing their field or looking to expand their expertise can get certifications to supplement their knowledge. 

Skills

The general requirements for an application engineering role include:

  • Relevant hands-on experience
  • Managing projects
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Managing hardware components
  • Excellent coding and programming skills
  • Stellar interpersonal skills
  • Mathematics knowledge
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills

Since app engineers interact with customers and various departments and don many hats, they should have the necessary skills in place. Let’s discuss some of these skills in detail.

  • Keen observer

An application engineer should be a keen observer and pay attention to every detail. Many tasks require them to have superior observation skills, such as documentation and maintaining inventory.

  • Teamwork

Application engineers not only work with the engineering team but also with sales, customers, and manufacturing teams. To successfully collaborate with all these teams, ensure the smooth functioning of business, and value everyone’s input, application engineers should have excellent teamwork skills.

  • Interpersonal skills

Effective communication is a must for anyone directly working with clients and customers. And since app engineers interact with a lot of people every day, they must have excellent interpersonal skills. Clear, empathetic, and perfectly understandable communication is necessary for people to achieve their common goal.

  • Hardware technical specifications knowledge

Providing hardware support also falls under the responsibilities of an app engineer. Therefore, they should also have good knowledge of hardware and technical specifications to solve clients’ problems as soon as possible.

  • Technical support

Technical skills are a must for application engineers. Application engineers provide tech support to customers during all stages. Whether during a client meeting or after successfully making an upsell, application engineers need technical skills to fulfill their responsibilities. 

Application engineer salary

Application engineering is a lucrative field with a huge scope for growth. The demand for application engineers is rapidly growing, with an average salary of $100,396 annually in the United States. This salary is not a fixed figure. It depends on several factors, such as location, the organization you are applying to, your experience, and your education. Some employers also offer great employee benefits, such as health insurance and stock options.

How to become an application engineer?

If you have the soft skills required to be an application engineer and are interested in the field, follow these steps to begin your journey to be an application engineer.

Get a Bachelor’s degree

the first thing you need to do is to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science, infor mation technology, electrical engineering, or any related field. without a bachelor’s degree, it is hard to get even an entry-level job in the field. spend some time looking at the curriculum of different universities and choosing the one that is most relevant to your career.

Hone your technical skills

Like all other fields, application engineering is also highly competitive. To stay ahead of the competition, hone your technical skills by getting experience with a programming language and designing programs. To do this, you can get certifications, take online courses, or work on freelance technical projects. You can also get an internship to get a feel of what your career might look like. The aim is to get as much experience and learn as much as possible.

Get certifications

Having a certification on your resume can also help you stand out from the competition. While it is not mandatory to have a certification to get a job, it will be a bonus for you. You can look up the requirements different companies have for application engineers and, accordingly, look for certifications relevant to those requirements. 

Get an entry-level position

once you are finished with your degree, start looking for jobs. choose a job that aligns with your goals and ensure you learn a great deal while working. the goal should be to learn and earn. nowadays, many online sites offer job opportunities. carefully assess each opportunity and its requirements before applying.  

Continue Learning

The last step is to continue learning. Your learning should not stop after getting your degree or getting a job. App engineering is a growing field. You need to grow along with it to stay relevant in the industry. 

Certifications for application engineers

There are several certifications available for application engineers. IT professionals looking to advance their careers and people trying to stand out from the competition can get the following certifications-

  • Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) certification: This certification is suitable for people with basic knowledge of developing software products. It is given to people with knowledge of software requirements, software design, software construction, and software testing.

  • Professional Software Developer certification: This certification is for people who have completed at least two years of their Bachelor’s in computer science or a related field. It tests their ability in four areas: software engineering requirements, software engineering designs, software engineering construction, and software engineering testing. The certification is awarded to candidates who successfully pass the exam. The certification holders need to recertify every three years. 

Other certifications include Certified Agile Developer (CAD) certification, Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC), Engineer in Training Certification(EIT), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP).

Application engineers are a necessity for companies to be successful. A company’s success depends on customer satisfaction, and it can only be achieved with app engineers working closely with customers to fulfill their needs. The role of an application engineer is diverse, with ample opportunities to learn and grow in personal and professional life. 

Armin Vans
Sheyans is a Android Certified Developer and certified professional with rich experience in Application Development, Programming, and Corporate training. He delivered training on CEH, CPENT, ECSA, Security+, CNDV2, CISSP, CISM, Android, iOS, Java, Objective C, Swift, and Xamarin Mobile Framework.

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