Hi everyone. I'm Sylvester Andre. I have over 15 years of sales experience and am great at working with people. I would love to become a Sales Engineer. I just completed a tech bootcamp with Careerist and working on obtaining more certifications to continue learning/growing. Does anyone have any other tips for breaking into tech?
Stepping straight into an SE role is going to be a challenge. Here are the career paths I've seen most frequently (IT infrastructure space on the OEM side as well as the VAR/partner side)
- Start in sales and take advantage of all tech training opportunities provided; let SE management know of your interest in moving into a more technical role, and ask what you need to achieve for that to happen.
- Work for a customer, with the tech in question, and be a positive and easy-to-work-with person. Talk to your tech vendors and partners about how much you enjoy their tech and how much you'd like to be able to help other companies realize the value you've experienced from their product/solution.
- Start in lower-end technical role (3rd shift tier 1 support engineer, for example) and work your butt off to move up the org chart (TIer 2, Tier 3, jump to project engineering) improve your technical skills and demonstrate your customer service and advocacy focus.
For most companies in tech, great SEs are the difference between "ok" performance and "awesome", they are also a significant expense, so the hiring qualifications are very restrictive and you must truly balance strong tech skills, strong presentation skills, and the soft skills to quickly establish trust and rapport with clients.
I would recommend taking certification courses or lessons from the tech company you're interested in! Having technical knowledge of a particular software can give you an upper hand when interviewing and in your role 🙂
You could also reach out to thought leaders or employees from tech companies on LinkedIn to see if they would be willing to chat!