Career Corner: Transitioning to a Career in Sales Engineering | AIChE

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Career Corner: Transitioning to a Career in Sales Engineering

Career Corner

Does the business side of chemical engineering capture your interest? Are you drawn to a hands-on role with customers, so that you can help them with their technical and business challenges? If you answered yes to either of those questions, consider a career in technical sales.

Technical sales engineers — also known as commercial development engineers or business development representatives — combine their technical expertise with people skills and business knowledge to help customers solve problems. They play an important role in linking a company’s technical staff to its sales team and customers. Sales engineers help define a customer’s technical requirements and then explain, and often demonstrate, how the company’s product or service meets those requirements to solve the customer’s problems.

Chemical engineer Wendy Young Reed became a technical service engineer after working in chemical plants for the first part of her career. “I was always interested in the business side of chemical engineering, but I wanted to have the deeper technical experience under my belt first, so that I would be more valuable,” says Reed. “The technical service position combined engineering with sales, so it was a good way to make the transition.”

In her new role, she typically worked in the customer’s plant and was responsible for...

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