Tim Robertson launched The Field Engineer community at the end of 2021.
Here he shares his experience and what led him to the launch.
Background and path to establishing a community for Field Engineers
Could you give a brief summary of your career?
I started my career in B-to-B sales in London. In the late 80s I saw an advertisement for Apple Computer who were looking for sales people with no previous experience with computers.
Apple wanted people who had no preconceptions about computers being like IBM PCs and Unix workstations. I knew of Apple Desktop Publishing (DTP) from using the Apple Centre in London to produce some print materials for a client.
Immediately, I fell I love with the Apple Mac, and its ease of use. I worked selling Apple Macintosh computers both as an employee and as a founding Director of an Apple Dealership.
A few years later through my love of music I moved in to selling Professional Audio equipment for recording studios, TV and Postproduction. The go to audio editing system at the time was Pro Tools, which also ran on Apple Macintosh computers.
For the past 22 years I have been recruiting engineers with a focus on electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. More recently making a niche in the semiconductor sector with Requaero. One of my earliest clients was a Cambridge UK based start-up call Alphamosaic (acquired by Broadcom), who created the VideoCore chip which forms the basis of the Raspberry Pi.
What first gave you the idea of creating a community for Field Engineers?
The Field Engineer community came out of a desire to create a legacy to support young engineers around the world to advance their careers in field-based engineering.
What is your main aim for the community?
My aim for The Field Engineer is to create a community to help entry level Field Engineers from across the globe, and across industries, to find the resources they need to advance their careers. Once they are experienced, they will then share their knowledge, and help others to thrive in their chosen career.
You are based in the UK at the moment, but the community is global. Was that your intention?
The team and I have consciously chosen to not prioritise any country or nationality over another. We welcome members from any location, and already have members from more than eighty countries.
We look forward to welcoming many more nationalities to our community.
Why did you see a need for a community like this?
Until now, most tools and media in Field Engineering have targeted the managing of Field Engineering and customer support teams, rather than the needs of Field Engineers themselves as they progress through their careers.
This community is founded on the goal of being for the benefit of Field Engineers themselves to offer networking and learning opportunities.
What are the aims of The Field Engineer?
I have three main aims, which are to:
Help engineers out in the field wherever they are in the world.
Form a globally diverse forum of Field Engineers who can bring all that is good in Field Engineering to the community, and to share their knowledge with each other. The Field Engineer community is committed to being a truly global community irrespective of an individual’s nationality, religion, or ethnicity.
Offer the best career learning platform to our members from free information in blogs and specialist forums, to a complete online learning platform where engineers can learn and gain professional career qualifications.
As members gain more experience, they can join our Managers and Directors Groups and give back to the community that supported them as they were starting out.
You have a job board as part of the community. How do you see this developing?
One of my aims is to increase career opportunities for our members, wherever they are and whatever their industry. I want the job board to be the ‘go to’ place for field engineering-based jobs. So, any member who is job hunting, or recruiting has the tools within the community find their next job, or to grow their team.
Is there a social side to the community?
Yes, there is.
Members are networking with each other all the time.
We also have destination groups within the community. We created these for two reasons:
1. To provide our members with expert local information about facilities, restaurants, hotels etc. near to locations they are working in. For example a recommendation for a good café on an industrial park.
2. To begin our in person “community meetups”
In the future we are planning regular webinars, meetups, and conferences.
The content of the community is in English. Do you have plans to use other languages too?
In my recruitment business, I am happy to work in German with clients in the DACH region and French with clients in the Francophone region. (I’m trying to get to C1 level German, so every little bit of practise helps).
I know from learning German and French that English is today’s lingua franca, so the site will remain in English as it is the global language of business today. Our site is built on WordPress, which offer great translation tools for those not fluent in English.
Work life balance
How do you create a work life balance?
I have four children and now a granddaughter who is learning to speak. They create a perfect work life balance for me.