- Solutions Engineers identify customer needs and deliver a plan to meet them.
- The Associate Solutions Engineering Program puts candidates on the fast track to a Solutions Engineering role within RingCentral
Back in January, we told you a bit about our plans to develop a Contact Center Academy, where candidates interested in a career in post-sales engineering roles could get immersive training and turbocharge their career paths. We also told you that CCA was based on another successful program, the Associate Solutions Engineering Program. Today, we’re shining our spotlight on the ASE program, and meeting a few of the people in it.
Simple is rarely simple.
In communications, every customer has their own, unique business problems and challenges. The job of the Solutions Engineer is to help them work out the ways RingCentral’s technology can solve them. This could happen in the pre-sale process or much later. But in either case, Solutions Engineers oversee everything from implementation to technical issues to cost management. The roles require a comprehensive knowledge of our products-and-technology, as well as the individual client’s particular challenges. It’s a skill that takes years to learn, and even longer to master.
What if a program existed that absolutely immersed candidates in everything it takes to become successful in the SE role? As you may have guessed, we just happen to have one.
The fast track.
RingCentral’s Associate Solutions Engineering Program is a comprehensive, 12-month program designed to take candidates with little or no Solutions Engineering (SE) experience, and turn them into high-performing RingCentral Solutions Engineers.
The program identifies candidates a little differently – not looking as much for years (or decades) of relevant experience, or time spent working for a competitor, but by evaluating people on their aptitude, attitude, desire, and potential.
“The program is open to anyone and everyone,” says Senior Enablement Manager Ashley Youwakim. “I have a computer networking background, but we also have somebody on our team who was a history teacher. You’re not expected to know everything right away – that’s the beauty of it. As long as you’re dedicated to learning everything you can, you’ll succeed.”
“It was really interesting to me that we can have a technical background, but at the same time, not be just technical,” said Associate Solutions Engineer Amir Sahranavard, who’s in the program now. “We’re getting the technical information, but also spending a lot of time on the soft skills you need as a Solutions Engineer. So it was really interesting for me as a recent graduate to have a chance to be a part of this.”
Bringing more to the table.
Pulling people into the program from a wide variety of backgrounds increases diversity, and provides RingCentral with a team of Solutions Engineers who not only know their technical stuff, but bring more to the proverbial table. In some cases, the table is a little more literal. “ I got involved in this because a friend who’s a RingCentral ASE alum sent me a picture of his lunch,” said Partner Solutions Center Team Lead Nick Pauly. “….and I was like, “That looks like a great lunch. I should work there. And he said, “Hey, we’re hiring,” so I got roped in that way. I honestly thought Solutions Engineering would be kind of a stopgap for me, but I’m still here almost three years later and I’m really enjoying it.”
A positive shift.
For Associate Solutions Engineer Aliye Gallagher, there’s a solidity to the Solutions Engineering role that she just wasn’t finding in her previous life as a marketer. “In marketing, you follow a strategy, and when you’re done, you go back and measure and see if any of your efforts had an effect. In Solutions Engineering, the feedback is much more direct. I’m either getting results for my customer or I’m not.”
One of the best things about the ASE program? Graduates aren’t stuck in Solutions Engineering roles. If candidates develop an interest in a specific area of the company, they’re encouraged to develop it. “This program asks candidates to take in a lot of information about our products and the structure of the company,” says Youwakim, “but also gives you a much greater level of comfort with saying “I don’t know the answer, but I will find out,” which opens you up to networking within the company. Once you start understanding all those different teams, you might discover a big interest in security, for instance. Well, now you know who to talk to, and you can dive deeper and you know, learn even more from them.”
Wins all around.
Hiring experienced Solutions Engineers the traditional way is difficult and expensive. The ASE program boosts diversity, and cuts cost-per-hire. More importantly, it invests in candidates’ futures…and taps into their enthusiasm. “I don’t know that I would have been confident enough to jump into this industry if I didn’t have an opportunity like this,” says Sahranavard. “I would have thought “I don’t know enough to do this job.” But we put such an emphasis on dealing with not knowing, and getting comfortable with the process of learning itself, that it’s made me much more confident. It’s unreal how much I’ve learned – and I’ve only worked here for six months.”
From collaboration to presentation to product knowledge and beyond, the ASE program is empowering people of all ages and backgrounds to go further than they ever thought possible.
If you or someone you know are interested in applying, you can start something amazing right here.
Originally published May 26, 2022