what is a field engineer?

As a field engineer, you use your theoretical understanding of engineering concepts and practical designs to install and maintain equipment, machines and systems. You offer services to clients in the field by overseeing operations and ensuring the machinery works as expected.

You can work in industries that need on-site supervision of equipment. For instance, some field engineers work at airports as part of the maintenance crew or warehouses and factories. Sometimes you install or repair machines at the client's residence or place of business. Your job requires the application of scientific and mathematical theories in solving problems. Some field engineers also work in the banking industry to install and maintain automated teller machines (ATMs).

what do field engineers need to do?

Field engineers need to be attentive to detail to diagnose systems or machinery problems accurately. Most of the time, you will troubleshoot the systems while in use, and you should not interrupt the workflow or halt the operations. Creativity also helps you recommend or implement appropriate solutions to ensure the equipment works smoothly.

Would working as a field engineer suit your innovativeness and problem-solving skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a field engineer role.

field engineer jobs

average salary of a field engineer

According to ONS, your average salary as a field engineer is £27,191 per year. When starting your career, your earnings are around £20,000 annually. As you gain experience and expertise in field engineering, your salary increases to about £38,000. Apart from the base salary, your compensation package comes with various benefits. Most employers provide medical insurance and transport allowance or a company vehicle. When you work overtime, your hourly wages will be higher than regular hours. Some companies also provide paid vacations and bonuses to motivate employees.

what factors affect the salary of a field engineer?

Field engineers' salaries often vary depending on the industry. For instance, becoming a field engineer for aerospace industries requires higher skill sets than working for regular factories. Hence, you are likely to earn more if you specialise in working for a specific sector. Your qualifications and years of experience also influence your pay scale. To increase your salary, combine your work experience with additional qualifications or specialisation in a particular industry.

The company's size also impacts your salary since small businesses have limited resources and cannot pay massive wages or provide additional benefits. Large companies or multinationals have the resources to pay more since they deal with complex projects.



types of field engineers

Aside from working as a general field engineer, you can specialise in a single industry sector, including:

  • medical field engineer: as a medical or biomedical field engineer, you install, maintain and troubleshoot medical equipment. Your role is to install magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and scanners. You also service ultrasound and X-ray equipment or ventilators.
  • mechanical field engineer: as a mechanical field engineer, you will work in transport, energy or manufacturing industries. Your job is to inspect and troubleshoot equipment and machinery to ensure smooth operations.
  • it field engineer: in IT, field engineers install and service IT equipment and ensure the computer systems are running without glitches. In case of failure, you diagnose the problem and provide a solution to restore functionality.
  • automotive field engineer: as an automotive field engineer, you work with vehicle manufacturers and assembly units to inspect and fix vehicles. Sometimes you visit clients to solve problems in their cars.


working as a field engineer

As a field engineer, you will work in various industries, from construction to IT and finance. Read on to find out what field engineers do daily and their career prospects.


education and skills

As a field engineer, you need expert knowledge of machinery and equipment used in your industry. Educational qualifications like a bachelor's degree or diploma show your competency in handling equipment. Most field engineers pursue engineering courses in related fields. For instance, to become a construction field engineer, you should study civil engineering, while mechanical engineering helps you excel in the manufacturing or aerospace industries.

Field engineers can also seek apprenticeship opportunities, which give you on-the-job training as you complete formal education. Work experience is significant in maintenance, and you need an internship to improve your skills.

skills and competencies

Aside from academic qualifications, the following skills improve your career prospects in field engineering:

  • technical maintenance: as a field engineer, knowledge and expertise in technical maintenance is vital. You need to know how to repair and service various equipment. That means good background knowledge of the functioning of multiple systems helps you diagnose and repair problems in the system. Aside from routine servicing, your technical maintenance skills aid in troubleshooting problems that arise and identifying efficient solutions.
  • critical thinking: during maintenance, you carry out various tests and systems check on machinery or equipment. Critical thinking ability helps you pinpoint a problem from the test results. The skill also enables you to figure out a solution promptly and ensure minimal work interruption during repairs.
  • communication skills: as a field engineer, you work alongside various technicians and engineers. When brainstorming ideas for repairs or explaining maintenance processes to the technicians, you need communication skills. You also need writing skills for completing your reports and reviews of the tests and repairs completed. Occasionally, you have to give written suggestions to improve the machinery or provide maintenance procedures.
  • attention to detail: diagnosing problems in a system or machinery is challenging despite regular checks and tests. Without a keen eye for detail, you may miss some of the issues in the system or provide the wrong diagnosis.

Male operator using a touch-screen display. Primary color red. Secondary color blue.
Male operator using a touch-screen display. Primary color red. Secondary color blue.


FAQs about working as a field engineer

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