Possible Change of Career

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Brownout, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Some may remember, I had to take my act on the road to stay employed. I lived for a year out of state just to have a job in my chosen career: digital design. Now I am in negoations for a field application engineer job that would have me home. Of course, that means the end of my design career. It won't take long for the design community to pass me by.

    Has anyone worked as an FAE? Would that be a reasonable career choice?

    And the product is wireless M2M adapters.
     
  2. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
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    Sorry I can't help with any info but I wish you good luck with whatever you choose..
     
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  3. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I'm afraid I'm the same as Dr.killjoy, but I just wanted to ask--since you'll be at home, would it be possible to do some design consulting on the side?

    Best of luck either way!
    Regards
    Matt
     
  4. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Not a bad point. I thought I might use the position inacting with customers as a springboard to a consulting career. My worry is I'll become obsolete while I'm doing it.
     
  5. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I'm sure you'd be fine, especially if you keep an eye on new technologies that come out. Depending on what area of design you'd be consulting in, I can't imagine the main points would become outdated very quickly, if at all.
     
  6. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    I know first hand..brownout will do ok..he makes a good first impression.

    He has lot going..no worries.

    (
     
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  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I'd talk to the other FAE's at that company and find out EXACTLY what a "field application engineer" is and does.
     
  8. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    I worked with literally dozens of FAEs and also field sales engineers when I worked at national Semi: in our case, they were EE rejects who were too incompetent to do any technical work. It was a burden on us (application group) because anytime they traveled to customer sites, we had to send real engineers to hold their hands in case a technical question was asked.

    Linear Technology had fully qualified EE's with design experience doing FAE work unlike National.

    It also depends on who the group "answers to" within the organization. In cases where they answer to marketing, they are usually a bunch of weak bozos who are just salesmen. If they are in engineering, they may be technical support people.

    There is no way to know what they expect of you until you ask them. But, you can count on long days and tons of traveling. probably long plane rides to Pacific Rim clients as well....
     
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  9. bountyhunter

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    Sep 7, 2009
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    Employers generally frown on that as they see it as potential competition.
     
  10. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

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    Better yet, talk to the FAE's that used to work there since they will more likely tell the truth.
     
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  11. bountyhunter

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    Sep 7, 2009
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    I know that it can range from a person who travels to the customer site and takes 100% ownership of either solving the problem or designing whatever they need....... to a sales guy who is totally clueless and just writes the question down and relays it to the smart guy who works at the factory. What they expect probably will depend on how much they think they can get from you.
     
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  12. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    The position reports to marketing:mad:
     
  13. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Check it out with eyes open.
     
  14. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Work it. Ask your employer if they pay for MBA classes, Move up to marketing in a few years.

    Then you can make the decisions that will drive design, manufacturing and tech support crazy.
     
  15. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    It's a tough call, I am in a different field (software) and a few years ago I took a job that allows me to go home every night and see the kids but is causing my skills to rot away. I'm now close to the point where I couldn't get back to where I was and looking at hanging on to this job for the next 15 years. Fortunately it's a good employer with good benefits but the work is a grind.

    So my advise would be - be very sure that you are prepared to stay with that employer in that job for the long term, just in case you can't get out.
     
  16. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    And if it's an FAE position:

    1) Make sure you can handle travel, you will be doing a ton of it.

    2) make sure you like to wear a suit, do handshake tours, and schmooze customers. That is top priority.

    3) Make sure you can handle lots of really dumb questions from people who are not as smart as the green stuff that grows on your shower curtain.

    There's nothing wrong with being an FAE, but it takes a specific personality. A lot of tech types (like me) have a limited ability to tolerate these things and consider answering endless dumb questions to be a waste of my time and talent. That's why I worked better in the lab: circuit problems just need solving, they never argue or make stupid demands or waste your time.... they are just problems that need a solution.

    Make sure to get a job you won't hate doing.
     
  17. tindel

    Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    Wow this is the first thing that has come out of loosewire's fingers that has made sense to me! :D ;)

    You'll be fine... you don't just lose all of your years of experience over night. If you try it and don't like it the worst you'll lose is a short period of time trying to find another job. I do suspect that they are lying about how much you'll be at home... every FAE I know travels a lot if they are any good at their jobs.

    I've always thought I'd enjoy an FAE job. I generally like schmoozing with people and having a good time. I can also zero in on complex problems and solve them quickly. These are two important traits in an FAE. If I were to be an FAE I'd be insistent on writing App/Design Notes to keep my skills up - at least in some capacity. That way you also learn your product more thoroughly.

    Whatever you choose - good luck in the next chapter....

    Also remember this acronymn, but never repeat it to the customer - RTFD - Read The Flippin' Datasheet
     
  18. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Funny thing... at nat Semi, the FAEs always stole all of our written technical material for that. The stuff we wrote or prepared for FAE training presentations, they took and used in their documents. They would steal it and make it into app notes or customer briefs.

    I never minded that until my boss informed me that the FAE's had complained that the software we were using to create data sheets and app notes could not be easily "imported" (stolen) into the software they liked to use. Solution? We were going to be forced to switch to a new drawing software package that didn't do 99% of what we needed and would make our life much harder. Glad I got laid off before that bit of idiocy was implemented.

    I wish that they had employed FAE's capable of writing an app note.


    You are so right about that.... you NEVER get to say that to the customer, however I have read the data sheet to them on multiple occasions.:D
     
  19. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Move UP to marketing?? Yeeks. :eek:
     
  20. Brownout

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Well, it would be the end of engineering for me. I'm 54 years old, so it might be considered semi-retirement. At least that is a way of looking at it that makes it more palatable.
     
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