Junior Sales Technician/Technical Assistant in Sales/Junior Field Application Manager – see-through employees with technical enthusiasm.
It’s too easy to dismiss the shortage of skilled workers as a general problem – although it is at least a huge challenge for numerous industries. And it wouldn’t do the young up-and-coming workforce justice to pass off the existing problems onto generations Y and Z. But where does the truth lie? And what opportunities does electrical engineering offer finished and aspiring young technicians or engineers?
Mr. Wagner, the shortage of skilled workers has been known in the skilled trades for many years. Is it a new, recent phenomenon in the field of electrical engineering?
Martin Wagner*: “Not at all. The problem of a shortage of skilled workers exists in numerous industries, including electrical engineering. And it has been going on for several years. In the coming years in particular, many colleagues in the industry will be taking well-deserved retirement. And catching up with the baby boomers of yesteryear will be difficult in terms of numbers alone. For e-technology, the situation is aggravated by the fact that more and more attention is being paid to programming and too little to hardware. In my opinion, this is a regrettable and at the same time fatal development.”
In which areas do you see this shift away from hardware to software
Martin Wagner: “It already starts during training or studies. The trend is moving toward IT and software programming. The necessary hardware tends to receive less attention, although all software requires hardware in order to fulfill its purpose at all. Let alone analog technology. Or are there young e-technical engineers out there who were allowed to deal with an analog circuit in detail during their studies?”
Tell us …
Martin Wagner: “The fact is that, especially since the introduction of the bachelor’s degree programs, it is already difficult in terms of time alone to go into the corresponding depth. This makes it all the more important for career starters and career changers to take the initiative and be willing to get to grips with the practical issues. This may sound disillusioning, but it has nothing to do with ‘sitting in a classroom’ or ‘stubborn learning’. And I can also understand when graduates from school and the like don’t want to know too much at first. They want to make a difference. In practice. And that’s a good thing.”
So what are the exact challenges that a junior sales engineer/technical assistant in sales or even a junior field application engineer at a medium-sized distributor like Beckmann should be able to get to grips with?
Martin Wagner: “Ultimately, we support applicants who have the enthusiasm and technical background to develop into specialists with in-depth knowledge. specialist with in-depth knowledge. We operate in a highly exciting field between logistics services and in-depth technical consulting. This requires extensive, well-founded knowledge – and that is what we need to develop. Of course, not on our own and from one day to the next. But supported by a team and in-house expertise, as well as meaningful training measures.”
What requirements do applicants need in order to join the company?
Tina Groß°: At Beckmann, we have very clearly and consciously moved away from rigid grids and hard skills. Instead, we analyze our positions in great depth. Always with the question in mind: What does the person who fills this position have to be like? And not: What must he or she be able to do?
But Beckmann certainly doesn’t exclude professional qualifications, does it?
Tina Groß: “No. What is needed, of course, is an interest in the subject matter and a basic understanding of it. For example, someone who likes to sit in a quiet room and keep to themselves is less suited to direct and intensive customer contact. And they won’t be happy in the long term. Ultimately, employers should be concerned not just with filling a position, but with attracting and retaining employees who enjoy what they do every day in the long term.”
Martin Wagner: “Absolutely. As a technical prerequisite for technical sales, I would consider an electrotechnical education, such as an electronics technician for automation, systems or other technologies to be completely sufficient. A commercial apprenticeship can also be suitable – assuming a technical orientation. Of course, it could also be an electrical engineer. Ultimately, I wouldn’t read too much into a job title – what we’re looking for is an insightful person with technical enthusiasm … ”
What is the daily challenge in the work of the see-through engineer with technical enthusiasm at Beckmann Elektronik?
Martin Wagner: “The daily challenge is multifaceted. Fundamental is certainly the direct contact with customers, manufacturers and developers. Listening. Thinking. Thinking along. It’s about finding the most suitable, not the technically best, component for an application – a world of difference! The special feature of Beckmann: We are not a one-stop shopping supplier with an infinitely huge range of products. Rather, as a distributor, we offer a limited, one could almost say hand-picked, spectrum of components, which we therefore also know in depth. Accordingly, our technical advice and professional evaluation for a requirement or a component can go deeper.
Small and fine versus the one-stop shopping giants?
Martin Wagner: “If you like. Although ‘small’ seems rather relative with a current number of well over 250,000 products from more than 25 manufacturers. At the same time, we are in regular contact with the developers of the manufacturers – a lot of internationality, different cultures. This is something that makes the job particularly exciting and valuable for me personally. Just like the mixture of quick turnarounds and long-term projects. Or: simply being a person instead of a number in the company.”
Keyword Purpose. Meaning. Young people in particular are increasingly looking for meaning in what they do. Can electrical engineering, as you describe it, offer this at all? And what will it be like in the future?
Martin Wagner: “Meaning adds up. More than one factor has to be right. On the one hand, what is done with electronics at the end should make sense. Sure, you can argue about that – maybe … But there’s no denying the fact that the future belongs to electronics. Already clearly visible today, the trend will continue to develop and intensify. I would even go so far as to say: Electronics is the future in almost all areas of life! And there I like to draw the curve again: Without hardware and without connoisseurs of hardware, capacitors, passive components and how they are all called, the software is useless and pointless – yesterday, today and in the future. On the other hand, I also feel that it is a great privilege and an exciting challenge to be able to actively and meaningfully help shape this very future. Every day anew, this not only gives my own professional life a high added value and meaning.”
Tina Groß: “In addition to the industry itself, meaning is created in particular by how a job or work profile is designed and by the corporate culture. At Beckmann, employees can realize their own potential and contribute their ideas and talents. Due to the still manageable size of the company, everyone is individually supported. In addition, the team spirit is genuine and authentic. In addition, it is possible to fully accompany a task area and thus see what becomes of what one has initiated oneself. From my point of view, this corresponds to a great deal of meaning: experiencing and tangibly experiencing that one’s own actions have a purpose.”
*Martin Wagner is Application Engineer/Engineering Manager at Beckmann Elektronik GmbH. For more than 25 years, he has been passionate about solving technical problems and issues related to electronic components and their applications. With the expertise he has built up over many years, he provides customers with background knowledge on the properties of components that are crucial for their developments and applications, not least in workshops he has developed himself.
°Tina Groß is a passionate HR expert who helps people and companies to develop their potential and use it profitably and sensibly by providing the right framework and impetus.