Become an


What is an Application Engineer?

Reviewed By Engineering Expert and Coach
Bill Coloe
February 9, 2023
Application engineers understand all a products' use cases, features and advantages to technically support clients or internal users. While it's a common mistake to assume "application" is short for mobile apps, in this case application means the practical use of a product or feature.

Contrary to their name, application engineers do not generally write code. However, they have a deep understanding of individual company product software structure and source code. The application engineer is also vital to a company as a tester and evaluator of software products.

Often application engineers serve as a project manager and communications specialist between customers and the development team, but manage the smaller issues themselves. They use feedback provided by customers to respond to shifting demands and guide software development.

Common tasks performed by an application engineer include scrubbing unnecessary code and making technical documents to explain the content of the code. Sometimes they also give presentations and demonstrations to internal and external teams.

This job tends to sit under both the engineering and sales umbrellas.
View Backend Engineer Job GuideView Fullstack Engineer Job Guide

What does an Application Engineer do?

Application engineers work with a team or client counterpart to collect or analyze qualitative and quantitative data from a software product (otherwise known as an application). They spend a great deal of time reading and analyzing customer feedback to look for and brainstorm ways to improve an overall product or feature.

Sometimes application engineers double as QA (quality assurance) engineers, and will review product code and performance to troubleshoot and spot issues. They also recommend improvements.

Arguably the most important task of the application engineer is creation of technical documentation around product features and overall usability. This documentation needs to be clear enough to be understood by executives, but often robust enough to inform engineers and technical readers.

Difference between Application Engineers and Software Engineers  

Application engineers differ from other software engineers in that an application engineer is more of a sales and account management position. Application engineers work to make sure their company's product is working for their set of clients.

If you're looking for a more traditional engineering role, try these:
View Fullstack Engineer Job GuideView Backend Engineer Job Guide

Do I need a degree to be an Application Engineer?

This is a tricky role, because it requires a knowledge of programming but does not require programming. We recommend observing the job listings individually to determine the training requirements. Bootcamps are the most popular way to break into this field, and a college degree is often NOT required. Or recommended, frankly.

Job descriptions will often mention a requirement of something STEM related, but more often than not these roles are filled by bootcamp graduates or those with impressive portfolios.

If you're new here to bridged, we're glad to meet you! We are huge fans of alternate forms of education, and recommend specific certifications to target skills. Learn more here.

Our Favorite Application Engineering Certifications

Career Path of an Application Engineer

While this sample career path is very common in the tech industry, application engineers can have a range of roles and responsibilities. Some of them are closer to engineering, while others are closer to sales. We chose the sales path because it's more common, but some go on to be frontend or QA engineers if they have a knack for programming.

Application Engineer
2-3 Years
*Or Associate
Account Executive
3-5 Years
Sales Executive
5-10 Years
Director of Sales
4-6 Years

What is an Application Engineer's salary?

We've aggregated thousands of salaries across glassdoor and linkedin, and application engineers can make anywhere between 65k - 75k, depending on their location and skillsets.

Top Skills of an Application Engineer

We recommend getting familiar with different types of customer questions if you plan to pursue a career in application engineering. If finding these answers seems interesting to you, read on!

  • Provide technical support to customers and sales teams, including product demonstrations and troubleshootingWork closely with R&D
  • Work closely with R&D and engineering teams to ensure customer needs are met and to continuously improve products and services
  • Collaborate with sales teams to identify new business opportunities and to provide technical expertise during the sales process
  • Prepare technical documentation and training materials
  • Participate in trade shows and other marketing events
  • Work with clients as trusted advisor by communicating how to accomplish their goals.
  • Continually drive development of strategic accounts and industries, maintaining focus over a long sales cycle.

Top Tools of an Application Engineer

We've also compiled the most common tools listed in job description. If you're serious about becoming an application engineer, get familiar with these and be ready to talk about them.

CAD Software (Computer-Aided Design)

  • SolidWorks
  • AutoCAD
  • Pro/Engineer

For Bug Spotting

  • GDB
  • Visual Studio
  • Wireshark

For Programming

  • Javascript
  • Python
  • C++

For Task & Appt Management

  • Jira
  • Confluence
  • Notion
  • Calendly

Key Traits of a Successful Application Engineer


Since this role also falls under a sales umbrella, application engineers need to be ready to tackle potential customer problems and prove their solution is best.


Application engineers need to be able to consume their client's information and translate them to requests for the product and engineering teams.


Application engineers are often liaisons between non-technical and technical teams. They need to be able to communicate with both.


Application engineers need to be decent presenters in order to troubleshoot and showcase company software.


A great deal of an application engineer's job is writing documentation for end users of a company software.


While an application engineer does not directly have to code, you will have an edge with your resume with some programming experience.

Application Engineer's team members

Product Managers
Learn more
Client Stakeholders
Project Managers
Learn more
Frontend Engineers
Learn more
We're creating a personalized career coaching tool to help you track progress towards individual jobs.

Sign up today & land your dream job!
Thank you! We'll be in touch soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Try entering your email again.

How to Get a Job as an Application Engineer

We love a stepped process for quick and specific results. The 3 tiered process is best.

We recommend starting out by documenting things about you, how you like to work, and how these things might tie into your next job. For example, a person with motion sickness should not become a trucker. Same deal here.

Learn more
  • decorative heading

    do your research.
    Check out our list of relevant core competencies and skills. Research other jobs in the field to see if any of those appeal to you more.

  • decorative heading

    identify skills.
    If those sound good, look at our job descriptions. Identify and check off what skills you already have, and start thinking about ways to target the ones you don't.

  • decorative heading

    take classes.
    we recommend classes and certifications to get familiar with specific, relevant job requirements. Learn from your home with no more fluff or expensive bootcamps.

your ultimate
career platform

It’s almost impossible to get jobs without experience, and experience is impossible to get without a job.

We're working to change that.

Thank you! We'll be in touch soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Try entering your email again.