What is a Solutions Engineer?
Tech Insights

What Does a Solutions Engineer Actually Do? 

Gabriela Molina
Journalist, Director of Content at DistantJob - - 3 min. to read

The job title Solutions Engineer, also known as Pre-sales Engineer, Technical Sales Engineer, Sales Engineer, and so on, has become popular over the last decade.

These professionals help clients communicate their needs to the technical team and ensure the proposed solutions meet their requirements and expectations. Solution engineers (SEs) also help the sales team convey the technical aspects of the product or service clearly and compellingly to potential customers.

They speed up the pre-sales process by bridging the gap between technical specifications and customer benefits. No wonder they are in demand.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the need for Solutions Engineers will increase by 5% between 2022 and 2032. That’s faster than the average growth rate forecasted in most industries.

In this article, we will explain the roles and responsibilities of an SE, how it differs from a software engineer, the different types of SEs, the skills and qualifications for this role, and the average salary. 

What is a Solutions Engineer?

A Solutions Engineer is an IT professional who connects complex business problems with technical solutions. These specialists act as technical support to a sales team and have a solid knowledge of technology products and architecture. They also have the ability to communicate efficiently with stakeholders. 

SEs know how to identify customers’ needs, design systems or services to meet those demands and present these solutions convincingly. 

They drive successful outcomes by ensuring the proposed solutions are practical, valuable, and tailored to each client’s needs. 

What is the Difference Between a Solutions Engineer and a Software Engineer?

The main difference between a solutions engineer vs. software engineer is client interactions

Solutions engineering is a client-facing role that involves demoing/showing customers the value of a product. Software engineering, on the other hand, involves writing code for a module/product that is rarely presented to a customer. 

However, depending on the organization, a solutions engineer may also write code and perform some developer tasks. Their main objective is to ensure the happiness of every stakeholder, especially the customers. 

Solutions Engineer: Key Responsibilities

The roles of a solutions engineer will vary by company. However, below is a general overview of the typical duties of an SE: 

1. Providing Detailed Specifications

Each individual software solution has several specifications, which often include scope, cost, and time.

Solutions engineers determine and provide these specifications to the relevant parties. This increases the chances of a successful solution and a satisfied client. SEs usually ensure they include every detail in the specification document. 

2. Technology Analysis

SEs spend a huge chunk of their time analyzing clients’ current software and technology. This analysis enables them to discover areas for improvement and develop implementation solutions. 

Solutions engineers also study the software and technology of other companies to keep up with the latest trends and innovations. 

3. Testing Software

These specialists test the performance of a suggested software program before transfer and after installation. This way, they can identify and fix bugs. Also, testing the software before handing it over to the client is cost-effective because it reduces the need for a rework 

4. Project Management

While solutions engineers aren’t project managers, they still need to track a project’s progress. These professionals oversee the development of the client’s solutions to ensure they are ready for delivery at the set date. This can include setting timelines, coordinating other department engineers, and ensuring the project stays within budget. 

5. Liaising with Clients

Solutions engineers are among the client-facing employees of the company. They enable smooth communication between customers and other department engineers to create and deliver solutions. They liaise with clients virtually or onsite to understand their requirements and help them develop a proposed solution. 

6. Collaborating with Other Engineers

A solutions engineer’s job heavily involves interacting with different stakeholders, including other engineers. 

Since they have the best understanding of the client’s requirements, they can effectively communicate them to other engineers, resulting in solutions that satisfy all the client’s demands.

7. Maintaining Relationships

A SE’s job doesn’t end after a sale. They must remain in contact with the client throughout the client’s journey. 

After purchasing the solution or service, the customer may require technical support or help with implementation. So, a solutions engineer must be reachable to offer this assistance. 

Plus, maintaining this relationship also creates an opportunity to generate recurring business with the client. 

Daily Activities

The daily tasks of a solutions engineer will depend on the company, the project, and the stage of the sales process. That being said, here’s what a typical day in the life of an SE would look like:

  • Lead targeted discovery sessions and workshops to understand the specific challenges of a business.
  • Deliver product messaging through product demos, whiteboards, decks, prototypes, and proof of concepts. 
  • Design precise roadmaps to illustrate how business and technology partners can implement the solution to move from current to future business state.
  • Collaborate with sales executives to explain the solution to potential buyers and address their technical objections.
  • Work with R&D teams to ensure the requirements of potential customers are met through customized feature requests and monitor progress.
  • Work cross-functionally with product and engineering teams to remove blockers.

Are There Types of Solutions Engineers?

Yes, there are different types of solutions engineers. Solutions engineering is a multifaceted field that caters to various industries and tech domains. So, different types of SEs focus on distinct aspects of technology and business.

The following are the types of solutions engineers you should know about:

Pre-Sales Solutions Engineer

These specialists are the technical support of the sales team, and play a critical role in the sales process. 

They understand their company’s products or services inside out and have the technical capabilities to articulate their benefits to the client’s business. 

Pre-sales solutions engineers work closely with sales representatives to explain the value proposition of their offerings, customize demos, and address any technical objections that may arise. 

Post-Sales Solutions Engineer

Also known as Customer Success Engineers, Post-sales Solutions Engineers focus on the customer’s after-sales experience. Their primary objective is to ensure the successful implementation, adoption, and optimization of the provided solutions. 

They offer technical support and training to help customers achieve their desired outcomes and gain a return on their investments. 

Their efforts improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, increasing the chance for retention and future upsells. 

Technical Solutions Engineer

Technical solutions engineers have an in-depth knowledge of the technical details and how the products work. They usually focus on developing and tailoring technical solutions for clients’ complex requirements.

Technical solutions engineers must have a solid background in engineering or computer science, which enables them to troubleshoot and provide expert advice and support. 

Cloud Solutions Engineer

Cloud solutions engineers, as the name suggests, major in cloud technologies and services. They assist businesses with cloud migration, optimization, and using cloud services to scale, be flexible, and become cost-efficient. 

These engineers are knowledgeable about cloud platforms, such as Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. They work with clients to develop and adopt cloud-based solutions to meet their unique business needs. 

Industry-Specific Solutions Engineer

This type of solutions engineer has specialized expertise in a particular sector, such as healthcare, finance, or manufacturing. They are familiar with the business processes, regulations, and unique challenges of their chosen industry. As a result, they can offer specialized solutions that meet industry standards. 

Industry-specific solutions engineers will have more than a deep technical knowledge of the product. They must also have strategic insights into how these solutions can result in industry-specific outcomes and improvements. 

Security Solutions Engineer

Security solutions engineers handle the cybersecurity component within an organization’s tech stack. They design and implement security solutions that protect against vulnerabilities, threats, and compliance issues. 

These specialists possess knowledge of intrusion detection systems, firewalls, encryptions, and more security protocols. Security solutions engineers ensure that data and systems are protected by following best practices and ensuring that the security architecture is robust. 

Ideal Skills and Qualifications

The best solutions engineers have a combination of technical and soft skills that make them effective in their roles. Here’s a breakdown of these key skills. 


  • Programming language: Understanding programming languages, such as Java, Javascript, or Python, is essential for solutions engineers as they will often be required to write scripts and code to automate processes. 
  • Systems integration and architecture design: Solutions engineers must have the foresight to build systems that meet current requirements and are adaptable to future business and technological needs. This is where their expertise in integrating diverse software, hardware, and services becomes beneficial.
  • DevOps and automation skills: Being able to use automation tools and methodologies to simplify development, deployment, and maintenance processes can speed up product-time-to-market and increase operational reliability.
  • Security and compliance intelligence: SEs must understand the principles of secure coding, access control, encryption, and data protection. They will be crucial in the implementation of security best practices and ensuring proposed solutions comply with industry standards, like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GDPR.
  • Project management and Agile practices: These professionals must be skilled at prioritizing tasks, managing project timelines, and coordinating cross-functional teams.
  • Cloud computing: Knowledge of cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud and the ability to design and implement cloud-based solutions are essential for working in modern IT environments. 

Soft Skills

  • Customer service: The responsibility of a solutions engineer mainly about prioritizing customers’ needs. So, the ability to build strong relationships with customers is essential.
  • Attention to detail: SEs must be detail-oriented to ensure they correctly convey clients’ needs to other departments’ engineers and guide these engineers to create the right solutions. 
  • Teamwork: Solutions engineers will work with sales, product, and other engineers to help meet customers’ demands. So, they must be good team players to collaborate effectively. 
  • Problem-solving: This role usually involves troubleshooting complex software. Hence, problem-solving skills can help you quickly identify and diagnose problems and develop and implement appropriate solutions. 
  • Storytelling: Another essential skill for SEs is the ability to tell stories when pitching to a potential client. Relevant stories, such as how another customer used the proposed solution to get positive results, convince the client that the solutions engineer understands them and knows how to solve their problem.
  • Sales and negotiation: A solutions engineer will back up the sales representative in a bid to get the customer to take action. That means they must also know how to sell and negotiate. This is possible with an understanding of the company’s guidelines, the product, and using sales and negotiation strategies to tell a convincing story. 

Educational Qualifications

There is no formal solutions engineering degree. Prospective SEs, however, need to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical, or software engineering. This helps in gaining more knowledge of different software systems.

Gaining work experience in related IT (Information Technology) roles, such as desktop support officer or technical support analyst, can be a good option for acquiring transferable skills. 

Aspiring solutions engineers can also gain knowledge via several industry certifications, including:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP)
  • Engineer In Training Certification (EIT)
  • Google Cloud Certified Professional Architect
  • CCNP Service Provider Operations (CCNP)
  • CISCO Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise

Average Salary of a Solutions Engineer

According to Talent.com, the average salary of a solutions engineer in the United States is $131,548. That amount is higher in states like Louisiana ($153,735), Virginia ($152,723), Maryland ($151,000), California ($144,758), and Washington ($142,405). 

However, if this amount goes down significantly if you are hiring remotely. Hiring a remote solutions engineer gives you access to talent across the world and allows you to save costs. For example, the average salary of a solutions engineer in Latin American countries like Mexico and Argentina is between $43,723-$60,000 per year. 

In Eastern European countries like Poland and Bulgaria, you can expect to pay $40,524 and $62,475 annually. 


Solutions engineers are like the glue that holds everything together, especially in technology companies. These professionals support customers throughout the sales lifecycle, ensuring they get maximum value for their money.

SEs also make the lives of the sales and other engineering teams easier by bridging the gap between the customers’ needs and the company’s products or services. 

However, finding a quality solutions engineer is easier said than done, as there is no clear path to becoming one. 

That’s where we come in. At DistantJob, we help tech companies recruit the best talents, including top-tier solutions engineers. Our innovative approach to recruitment helps us match qualified IT professionals to the right companies. 

Ready to get started? Let’s talk

Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina, the Executive Editor at DistantJob and Director of Content at ThinkRemote, combines her experience as a former freelance journalist with deep insights into remote work, technology, and recruitment best practices. Her diverse journalistic background covers a wide array of topics, positioning her as a knowledgeable voice in the tech and remote work sectors. Featured on platforms like Datasciencentral and Simpleprogrammer, Gabriela's expertise extends to shaping narratives around remote workforce strategies, making her contributions to DistantJob invaluable for those navigating the remote tech hiring landscape

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