The definition of an Engineer is "a person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines or structures". Similarly, a Field Engineer is a person who designs, builds, maintains and repairs computer systems and structures, on site. We employ hundreds of Field Engineers at NSC.
– What is it? Where can it take you? How do you become one? Should you become one?
WHAT IS IT?
Field Engineers are indispensable to the modern world of commerce, as almost every business requires IT support in some form: that could be replacing the ink in the local greengrocer’s printer, to installing cutting-edge cyber security software at a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund.
Field Engineers install, maintain and repair the physical components of computer systems and equipment, on-site (at our clients’ sites).
It is a technical role, and requires a broad skillset: Field Engineers need to be able to analyse and fix all IT problems, and, if they can’t, set the right course to resolve the issue.
- Installing, testing, maintaining and repairing hardware and software.
- Documenting processes and logging tickets for open work.
- Building sites, frameworks and networks for internal use.
- Supporting employees with all shapes and sizes of IT issues.
- Setting up new computers and email addresses.
- Managing network permissions.
- Network maintenance: keeping servers and cyber security up to date.
- Configuring new software.
- Diagnosing hardware faults and escalating specialist problems.
WHERE CAN IT TAKE YOU?
Openings for IT engineers grew 25% between 2015 and 2017 in the UK; your skillset is in high demand, so you will never be out of work. There are many career paths open for Field Engineers:
- Become a Senior Engineer, or a Specialist Engineer, such as a Technical Architect or Software Developer.
- Become an IT consultant.
- Go into management, managing an IT department, eventually moving into the C-Suite as CIO or CTO, if your people and organisational skills are good.
- Sales and marketing provides opportunities for people who know the technology inside out.
HOW DO YOU BECOME ONE?
Entry is possible with a variety of academic qualifications and/or relevant experience:
Entrants have typically finished secondary education, and often have degrees in related subjects too. However, many companies will train you on the job, and you can improve your skillset by becoming certified through programs offered by a multitude of software companies or hardware manufacturers, such as Cisco qualifications offered at NSC.
SHOULD YOU BECOME ONE?
IT skills are not the only you need to perform in this role, and it might not be for you if you’re an introvert with excellent coding skills.
Your role is to service the employees and infrastructure of a company, so you must be comfortable responding to requests – some of which will be mind bogglingly simple, and some far outside of your skill set – and you must be a good communicator who can explain complex IT issues in simple terms.
If you like helping and working with people, as well as troubleshooting on a computer this could be a very rewarding role for you.
You must also be a keen learner – IT evolution never stops, so you must stay engaged with the current trends to stay on top of the role in order to offer the best possible service to your employer.
As well as this, becoming a Field Engineer is a way of future-proofing your career, as the demand for IT support is increasing.
Salaries are not high to start with, starting at around £15,000, but the best IT Engineers command in excess of £100,000+.
Getting a job with NSC isn't the only way to start a career in IT. However, it is a good way: learn while you earn, work with multinational clients, work alongside senior IT engineers and work in a growing company with many international opportunities. Take a look at our open positions on our jobs page.