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.
February 28, 2018 Comments Off on DB-Engines.com: A very helpful database technology comparison site
I’ve been working with all sorts of databases for a really long time, and I’ve never seen the industry as dynamic and diverse as it is right now. Unfortunately, if you’re evaluating databases – relational, NoSQL, or otherwise – it can be very difficult to obtain a high-level, vendor-neutral view of your options.
Lately I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on the DB-Engines website in support of some research initiatives that I’m carrying out. DB-Engines provides a wealth of really useful information, including:
- Database rankings
- A compendium of database solutions
- A glossary of key terms
- Side-by-side product comparisons
If you’re interested in learning more about which database technology is best for you and your organization, it’s definitely worth dropping by.
October 30, 2016 Comments Off on Why the recent Internet of Things (IoT) attack is just the beginning
A few days ago we witnessed a new type of distributed denial of service (DDoS) incident. Unlike previous botnet attacks that enlisted compromised computers, this one corralled assorted unprotected devices like Internet-ready webcams, DVRs, and baby monitors to flood Domain Name System (DNS) servers, and thereby seriously degrade the Internet for hours. I’ll leave the explanation of the mechanics of this incident to more qualified commentators, but I do want to weigh in on why I think these types of events are very hard to combat and why I’m very skeptical about the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT).
We all (well, many of us) know how important it is to keep our computers and software patched and up-to-date; most people also get why firewalls are essential. But consider these facts about IoT devices:
- They’re being created for just about every industry. This diversity means that it’s much harder for the entire universe of vendors to agree on common security standards: defining safeguards for a heart pump is a little different than for a Web-ready washing machine. I’ve served on my share of standards committees: to say that they move slowly is an understatement!
- They have really short development cycles. IoT is shaping up to be a brutally competitive landscape. The winners will be those vendors that deliver solutions to market quickly. Designing and building strong security safeguards takes time, and time is money. The end result is that device protection takes a back seat to market pressures.
- There’s limited space for security software. Margins are very thin on hardware devices: security-focused onboard storage space adds costs that aren’t directly related to functionality.
- They frequently rely on APIs for communication. I’ve blogged about API security in the past. Suffice it to say that it’s a rare API that’s locked down properly.
- New models are always coming on the market. Here’s the really scary part: even if vendors do start getting their security act together, it will be years before today’s highly insecure devices get retired. Meanwhile, they’ll be standing by for their next set of DDoS orders.
August 6, 2016 Comments Off on Free Agile API development eBook available
The process of designing, developing, testing, and deploying software – including mission-critical APIs – is very different today than it was even just a few years ago. This transformation has been driven by advances in DevOps, Agile methodologies, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery.
Simply making sense of all these new techniques can be a bit intimidating, so I’m glad that my colleague Chris Riley has authored a very useful guide that explains how all of these moving parts fit together. You can download a copy for yourself here.
July 25, 2016 Comments Off on Announcing Swagger training & certification
Whether they’re employed internally, externally, or both, APIs are vital assets that connect systems, streamline workflows, and make every type of integration possible. In fact, beyond strengthening operational efficiency and enabling cross-system communication, APIs now serve as competitive differentiators for many organizations. It’s no exaggeration to point out that renowned technology-driven businesses such as Uber, AirBnB, or eBay live and die on the quality and performance of their APIs, and this intense reliance is spreading across every industry.
Swagger – and its ecosystem of standards and products – is in the process of transforming the ways that APIs are designed, developed, tested, and supported. I’m happy to announce that my colleague Chris Riley has created an outstanding one-day training and certification program to help enterprises get the most out of Swagger.
Chris is a world-class expert on DevOps, Continuous Integration, and everything else related to how modern APIs are being created, and this deep knowledge comes across in his courseware. He also happens to be a great trainer who is committed to helping his students gain the proficiency they need.
Organizations can send individuals to public Webinars, schedule a private Webinar, or even have an instructor deliver the class onsite. To learn more, visit SmartBear’s registration page.