Friday, February 27, 2015

IT Sevices And The Value Of An Network/Systems Engineer

I know we have this thing in determining value of an IT engineer called "market value" these days. I think it might be a fair assessment if you work at a company where your function is a drain financially. I mean, if you work for a company, like Wal Mart as an example, you probably are not making the company money with your services to them. You might be saving them money by getting a server or switch or something back up when out goes down, since that could cost them money. But really, you don't make them money. I think in those cases, an engineer can have their financial value determined by "fair market value".

However, in IT services, I think it is different. Your value is determined by more than that fair market value. You see, when an engineer gets hired on, initially, it probably is fair to use the "fair market value". You have to look at ones skill set and determine what is this skill set worth to the company.  But, after the engineer is employed and working, there are more factors to consider, in my opinion. Again, I'm talking about the IT services business here, not working for a single company that is not "IT services" related.

First and foremost, there is billable time. There are different opinions on percentages, but I think 70% billable should be a minimum goal to reach for. If you are billable for the company, then ultimately, you eventually pay for yourself and anything after that is profit to the company.  You should always find how how many dollars per hour you cost the company. It's more than your salary. You also have to consider what the employer pays for you.  Things like social security, medical, etc.  Vacation time is not included in that, as that is calculated in your salary.

But there is more than just billable time to consider when thinking on the value of the engineer. Sales is another factor. Does the engineer sale equipment? The company makes money on sales, and if you are, the company is making money off of you, which makes you more valuable.

Pre-sales support also is a factor.  When the engineer goes on site, conference call, or any other means of pre-sales support for/with the sales guy, this is a value add as well.  Any help to the sales guy is a value add. The engineer can explain the "whys" and "why nots" to a customer that helps the customer make a good decision. If the customer decides to buy the equipment/services, then the engineer was certainly a value add to the sales guy.  We call this pre-sales support, and this is valuable to the company.

How about an engineer's skill set?  Does the engineer have a valuable skill set?  Does he have a lot of desired skills or maybe just one?  The more skill set the engineer has, the more valuable he is to the company.  Plain and simple.

How about the mentoring of the other engineers in the company?  When a senior engineer helps/mentors another engineer, wouldn't you think this is a value add for the company?  I mean, you teach someone a skill, or even how to consult.  It could be anything.  You make other engineers better by sharing knowledge, and this makes not only those engineers more valuable, but also increases the value of the company to a customer, who gets more value out of your engineers.  This is a good thing, and a value add to the company.

How about when an engineer is very busy, and provides more work for other engineers by sharing his load?  Sometimes when other engineers are not busy and you are, you boost their value by sharing your work load.  They become billable and this benefits the customer by getting things done in a more timely manner.  It also benefits the company you work for by the engineer not sitting idle.  This is a value add to the company.

There is more value to an engineer than just his billable role in the company.  Some of the things above, I don't think you can put a financial number on.  But either way, they are valuable to an employer financially speaking.  Don't let someone tell you how much you are worth.  You can determine that for yourself.

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