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“You have a lot of responsibility and even more freedom.”

Field Service Engineer at Blue Fielders

6 Preconceptions about a Field Service Engineer job

As a field service engineer, you work in the technical field. And about working in engineering, there are still quite a few prejudices. But are these prejudices justified? In this blog, we zoom in on six preconceptions along with field service engineer Joep Heuvelink. You don’t want to turn down a cool job as a field service engineer when it could be a pretty good fit for you, do you?

# 1 As a field service engineer, you are always on the go

“It’s just what you see as being ‘on the road,'” Joep said. As a field service engineer, you will be responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining your customers’ machines. “For me, this means that I travel around the world in periods of two to eight weeks to install machines together with colleagues. Often I am working on location for two to four weeks and therefore not on the road. It happens that I make several trips in a row and fly from country to country.”

This also has a big advantage – at least if you like traveling – because, you can immediately attach a nice vacation to it. Sounds good right? When asked if you are always on the road, Joep replied “No, but you are away from home a lot.”

#2 As a field service engineer, you must enjoy traveling

It is no secret that as a field service engineer you are on the road a lot and work in many different places. Does that also mean that you are only suitable for this job if you like traveling? Let’s ask Joep. “At least enjoying being away from home a lot makes the job a lot easier. It also depends on which company you work for. For example, if you work as an engineer within the Netherlands or the Benelux, there’s a good chance you’ll be home every night or weekend.”

By the way, that does not apply to Joep, recently he flew from the Netherlands to America, then to Mexico and via America back home. Something that for him is exactly what makes the work fun. “I advise others considering this position to think carefully beforehand about if and when you want to be away from home. Include that in conversations with a potential work or client. Being away from home for long periods of time may sound nice, but some people underestimate it. It can be quite difficult to combine this with an active social life in the Netherlands, you have to think about that carefully.”

#3 The work of a field service engineer is very monotonous

“You’re more than just a ‘mechanic’ as a field service engineer. You do repair and assemble machines, of course. That’s recurring work, but if it’s good you also enjoy it.” In addition, you are the customer’s point of contact and the specialist, so you also have a lot of contact with the customer. “Customers come to me regularly to ask me all sorts of things,” he said.

Dealing well with the customer is also an important part of this work. You communicate not only with customers, but also with local contractors. “During machine installation, I and my colleagues work a lot with local contractors. So I am also expected to be able to manage them and keep an overview. This must then be fed back to colleagues in the Netherlands, think project leaders and support engineers. Even though you might not expect it, this job also involves the necessary documentation and reporting. Is the work of a field service engineer monotonous? No, I don’t think so.”

#4 As a Field Service Engineer, you have little contact with your colleagues

Joep’s answer to this bias is very clear namely: incorrect. “Of course there are companies where you are sent out on your own, but with me the exact opposite is true. I am often working with the same colleague(s) at the customer’s site. We work together on the same machine with the same goal: to deliver a well-functioning machine.”

Did you think you are working 24/7 at the client’s office, you are wrong. There is also plenty of free time. “It is certainly not obligatory to meet up with colleagues in your free time – and it is also sometimes very nice to do something for yourself – but often after work we go out to dinner together, to a bar or explore the city. I fly all over the world and like to see more than just the hotel or the shop floor, luckily enough colleagues share this thought.” Are field service engineers loners? Definitely not!

#5 A career as a Field Service Engineer has few opportunities for advancement

Do you have doubts about an engineer’s advancement opportunities? There’s no need for that, according to Joep, as long as you make an effort. “I am very satisfied with the steps I have taken so far and see plenty of opportunities for the future.” As a 15-year-old intern, Joep started his career as a field service engineer. “Despite the great job I had, working internationally caught my interest,” he said. At that point, Blue Fielders came into the picture. “After a good conversation with Broos (managing director at Blue Fielders) and Gijs (account manager at Blue Fielders), they saw a match and it was right. Now – three years after getting my MBO degree – I fly around the world to install the best hi-tech machines.

# 6 Once a Field Service Engineer, always a Field Service Engineer

As for Joep, yes, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you always have the freedom to do something else anyway. What makes working as a field service engineer a trivial job for Joep?
“You have a lot of responsibility and even more freedom. It’s definitely not a 9-to-5 job, but that doesn’t suit me either.” That’s not the only reason Joep can relate to this bias. “I am of the opinion that it has always been in you. There is certainly room to learn and gain experience, but a healthy dose of self-conceit and curiosity will serve you well in this job.


Are you now thinking ‘Prejudices? To me they are advantages!’ Let’s hear from you! We are happy to engage with you.