April 30, 2019 Comments Off on Are you using distributed load testing for your APIs?
I’m seeing more and more organizations using distributed load generation in an attempt to simulate real-world usage patterns for their APIs. I’ll soon be polling my readers to see what they’re doing, so stay tuned if you’d like to participate.
March 31, 2019 Comments Off on Free REST API Security guide
If you’ve worked with both major varieties of API (Web services & REST) for any length of time, you’ll know that the approach to security varies widely between them. In the Web services world, there are numerous standards bodies and security guidelines, such as:
These are just a few examples of what’s out there.
Thanks to all of this ancillary work, a common (mis)perception has sprung up that Web services are more secure than REST APIs. While there’s a kernel of truth to this assumption, REST APIs now benefit from their own set of security standards and best practices. To give you a better idea of what these are, check out this helpful eBook on Dzone, written by Guy Levin, CTO of RestCase.
February 28, 2019 Comments Off on Bad Sales Engineer Behavior #7: Unreliability
At last, we’ve arrived at the final entry on the list of seven Sales Engineer (SE) behaviors that will cripple your career: unreliability. By definition, lots of things can go wrong in sales opportunities. As an SE, one of your key responsibilities is to do your part to bring a degree of predictability to what is frequently a chaotic process. The best way you can go about this is to simply show up and do your job to the best of your abilities. But in the years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen quite a few undesirable traits that I’ll lump into the ‘unreliability’ category. Here are just a few examples:
- Arriving late – or not at all – for sales calls & meetings. Want to raise your sales rep’s blood pressure? Here’s an easy way – just show up later than anticipated for a sales call. Even better: don’t even bother coming, and certainly don’t call or email to alert them and explain why.
- Being unprepared for demos. When carrying out a technical demonstration, ‘winging it’ is a sure recipe for failure. After all, there are so many moving parts and potential points of failure, such as buggy technology, version mismatches, ignoring customer requirements, and so on.
- Not following through with technical responses. It’s a rare technical meeting that doesn’t end up with some research for the SE to go carry out. But in many cases, the SE gets caught up in other activities and never gets around to answering the questions. This is understandable, given that SEs confront lots of other responsibilities. Additionally, “out of sight, out of mind” can be a factor here. Don’t forget, however, that the customer doesn’t share your workload, and may be eagerly awaiting your answers.
If any of these deficiencies hit too close to home, it’s easy to correct them: just focus on improving your follow-through, and people will soon forget your old, unreliable ways. You’ll also probably find work more enjoyable too, since you’ve eliminated a major stressor.
January 28, 2019 Comments Off on Celebrate Data Privacy Day by protecting yourself from email tracking
This year, instead of firing up the barbecue, putting on elaborate costumes, or singing carols, why not commemorate Data Privacy Day (January 29) by making it harder for external parties to track your email. If you’re interested, check out a very informative article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how to do that.
December 31, 2018 Comments Off on Sales engineer career path #3: Product development
It’s time for the next installment in the ongoing series about career paths for sales engineers seeking new opportunities. This time around, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of moving into product development. Before I begin, it’s important to understand that this is one of the more challenging transitions, largely because the skills necessary to be an effective SE can be so different than those that characterize the most productive developers. With that said, here goes:
- Sense of ownership. SEs flit between opportunities; product developers stay involved throughout the lifecycle of the technology they’re building.
- Better base salary. In general (but not always), product developers earn a higher base salary than SEs.
- Less travel. If you’re tired of those 6 am flights to remote client sites, product development might be a welcome relief.
- Less variability. There are fewer subjective factors – such as client whims and sales representatives who can’t sell – that can block your achievements when you move into product development.
- Technically demanding. If your skills aren’t up to par, you’ll really need to put in the educational effort to meet the requirements of your new job.
- Less upside. While product developers may have a larger base salary, thanks to commission SEs can really hit the jackpot if they have a particularly good year.
- Risk of outsourcing. Don’t kid yourself: if your employer can save one dollar a year on your salary by moving your job offshore, they’ll do it. In contrast, it’s nearly impossible to outsource SEs.
- Less interaction with customers. Plenty of SEs really savor the opportunity to meet with prospects and clients; product developers rarely get the chance. Some SEs find being ‘chained to a desk’ to be too confining.
Making the transition
It’s a big leap to move from the sales organization to the product development team. Here are some steps that can make this migration less painful:
- Find one or more champions in product development
- Discretely meet with them to learn more about what it takes to succeed in their group
- When ready, approach your manager and express your desire to make the change
- Once you get the go-ahead, work with HR to find a position in product development
- Work on a mutually agreeable timeline to switch roles
If you’re interested in being notified of future editions, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter: @RD_Schneider. You can read other sales engineering-related posts here.
November 30, 2018 Comments Off on Five great starting points to transition into a Sales Engineering career
For years, I’ve been describing the numerous advantages – and minimal drawbacks – of a career as a sales engineer:
- I’ve written about traits that one should possess to increase the likelihood of success
- I’ve discussed follow-on career paths
I’ve even told you about bad behaviors that will curtail (or abruptly end) your sales engineering career
What I haven’t yet talked about are some of the jobs that lend themselves to transitioning into a sales engineering role, so that’s what this series is going to be all about. Here, in no particular order, are five of the most logical starting points to becoming a sales engineer:
- Technical support. You’re charged with answering customer questions and/or resolving product issues
- Marketing. You design, own, and/or promote the product or service
- Customer success. You ensure that clients have a positive experience when deploying the product or service
- Product implementation. You’re responsible for moving the product or service from concept into production for the customer
- Development. You build and/or maintain the product or service
I’ll be writing about each of these roles in more detail. If you’re interested in being notified of future editions, subscribe to the blog or follow me on Twitter: @RD_Schneider. You can read other sales engineering-related posts here.