Our final post in #ITCareer series is about an Application support engineer. This is quite a mysterious specialty, even Google is confused about its descriptions. However, a company with a sophisticated IT product would not be able to exist without these professionals.
The Application support engineer’s duties are very similar to the tasks of the first line technical support: they take calls from customers and assist in solving minor issues. So it is also a common practice that the word “Application” in the job title is omitted. But in some companies, an application support engineer serves as a communication link between a support engineer and a customer, and their task is to listen to the customers’ complaints, and help to tune the product so that all the issues and concerns could be avoided. In this case, an application support engineer is something in between a support engineer and a business analyst. And this is the approach we are going to describe today.
An application support engineer starts their job when a customer has already signed the contract and needs to be introduced to the product. There are several important stages in this process:
- Find out in detail how customer’s business processes for which the product was purchased work.
- Find out what tasks a customer needs to solve with a purchased software product, why business processes are the way they are, what data volume the product needs to cover , etc.
- To understand how to configure the product in the best possible way so that it fulfills customer’s important objectives;
- Explain to the customer how to do this, which includes training sessions as well as numerous meetings and phone calls, lengthy detailed correspondence with the teams on the customer’s side.
Thus, the duties of the application support engineer are similar to those of the business analyst. The only difference is that the analyst takes part in preparing new features for the product (collecting the customer’s “profile”, sharing the collected information with the developers , who create features for the customer’s needs). The application support engineer assists the client in understanding the existing product functionality and making optimum adjustments.
The Application support engineer duties are not limited to this. They also help the client with solving minor issues (reviewing logs, doing minimal troubleshooting) – and their tasks are similar to the function of the support engineers. The difference is that the technicians deal with much more “advanced” and complex requests.
In other words, an application support engineer often gets caught in the middle between a business analysts and a technical support. The key point for AE is communication with a customer. As an application engineer will probably have more contact with them than a support engineer. Therefore, philologists with excellent knowledge of English often enter this field, and then they thoroughly learn the technical part (first of all, the product and its capabilities). There is one more way to get into this job. One needs to be a technician (from the technical support department, for example) with excellent English (if the company works with foreign markets) and good interpersonal skills.
Features of the job:
- Lots of lively communication with customers
- Many varied tasks
- Opportunities for growth: every day there will be tasks that require new skills.
- You may have to work outside the standard timetable, adapting to the clients’ time zone.
A natural development of the Application support engineer’s career is to become a business analyst. However, if you are more into technical aspects of product and system development than communication with client, you can develop as a technical engineer.
And the most important thing: with diligence and good communication skills you can apply for the Application Engineer job immediately after completing the courses at the PortaOne Education Center. Here’s an excellent opportunity to start your career from scratch – in 4-5 months of cost-free training!