Technical Support Engineer: The Ideal Role for Curious Troubleshooters
Jun 16, 2022
Hi! I’m Takuya Suemura at Autify. I am primarily a Test Automation Specialist who promotes the importance of automated testing both internally and externally. I also work in technical support, meaning I help solve technical issues in users’ environments. Recently, we have begun recruiting Technical Support Engineers (TSEs) who, as the name suggests, specialize in technical support. Technical support is absolutely fascinating to me, and several other corporate blogs have also discussed its appeal. However, awareness is still not where it should be. The importance of TSEs is well understood overseas. Compared to initial response staff, Tier 2 and higher-level technical support require more advanced technical skills and knowledge, which is reflected in their salary. Meanwhile, in Japan, TSE positions are often treated as junior-level jobs. In this article, I would like to shed light on what TSEs do, what makes their roles attractive, and what skillsets you need to become one.
The role of TSEs at Autify
The difference between TSEs and other engineers
There are several reasons that we distinguish TSEs from other professions, such as back-end engineers. One reason is to solve problems faster by having a separate cycle from the development cycle. Autify uses Scrum development, where each sprint lasts for two weeks. Therefore, if we were to stick to this cycle (without plugging in), the initial response to an inquiry may take up to two weeks. It’s not good to keep the user waiting. We used to address this issue by having a “CS Day” when each engineer would prioritize requests from the Customer Success team. However, we have changed this system; now, TSEs handle requests on a separate cycle from sprints. Of course, TSEs do not work entirely separately from the development team; they also develop in the scrum cycle with the development team. TSEs work in both development and support, which makes them responsive and flexible. Another reason is to show respect to troubleshooting professionals. Troubleshooting is an art. It takes a certain talent to sort through all sorts of information, isolate the cause, make inferences, and identify the root cause as quickly as possible. If you can work like that and have a passion for it, you would be extremely valuable, especially with technical skills. We distinguish between TSEs and other engineering roles to emphasize that we are looking for both skill and talent. We are looking for skilled troubleshooting experts. Your expertise will be highly valued at Autify.
What makes TSEs an attractive role
As the title says, I think the strength of TSEs is that you get to know everything. Autify is a platform for test automation, but its components are many and varied. Autify Recorder, a Chrome extension that records tests, the AI-based element identification component, and Autify Cloud, the real browser environment, are some of the main components. Of course, the applications being tested are components too, and so are OSSs (open-source software) such as Selenium. When something goes wrong while a client uses Autify, the first step is to quickly identify which part of the system is causing the issue. To identify the issue, we need to be aware of what each component does. Of course, it would also be helpful to know where each log is stored and what the most recent changes were. TSEs need the ability to look at things cross-sectionally without being overly focused on a specific area. It’s the perfect job for curious people who want to be involved in the product broadly, rather than being specialized in one area. Something else that makes the TSE role attractive is that you get to solve puzzles. Technical support can sometimes be like playing detective. When an issue arises, technical support needs to piece together fragments of information, such as logs and stack traces, infer what happened, and verify it. Sometimes it can seem dull, like a completely white jigsaw puzzle. But it’s very satisfying when the last piece falls into place. Similarly, you get elated when you finally find the correct information in a huge log. Those of you who don’t like this kind of work wouldn’t understand, but those of us who do love it!
Skillset and mindset required for TSEs
I hope that this article has helped you understand why TSEs can be appealing, even though it may seem dull. If you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you!