What do you get when you cross a software engineer with a consultant? The answer should be easy, right? But in this era of technology, some software engineering roles have morphed into more business-facing, non-traditional engineering roles.

Software engineers who work externally with customers are called sales engineers, tech consultants, customer engineers, and sometimes even data scientists. These are the team members who meet face-to-face with clients to coach them, guide them, and educate them on how to improve their processes, remain competitive, and improve their bottom line. These amazing engineers help solve real-world problems to keep clients on track and in business.

At C3.ai, we call these consultative engineers “Forward Deployed Engineers.” They are programmers on the frontlines. Fantastic communicators as well as patient and collaborative software geniuses, they identify customer needs and create customized solutions using our SaaS products.

Forward Deployed Engineer Niki Tubacki explains why she took the non-traditional software engineering path. “I love coding, but I don’t love code for the sake of code,” she says. “For me, coding is all about solving problems and enabling users. Being an FDE lets me experience the best of both worlds. I still get to be very technical, but I also get to communicate with users and help drive our products.”

The ultimate goal of our forward deployed engineers is to bring industries, both new and legacy, into the digital age. In his book “Digital Transformation,” C3.ai CEO Tom Siebel writes that “if companies don’t digitalize, they will not exist in five years.” Outlining his ten-step digital transformation plan for CFO Magazine, Tom said we are experiencing a profound innovation explosion at the intersection of big data‚ artificial intelligence‚ the internet of things, and elastic cloud computing (think Amazon Web Services‚ Microsoft Azure‚ and Google Cloud).

C3.ai’s forward deployed engineers are the ones who bring our unique technology to customers to help design, develop and deploy Enterprise AI applications. Our customers are among the largest, most complex organizations in the world. They rely on the C3 AI Suite to build applications to solve their most challenging and previously intractable business problems, including:

  • Aircraft Predictive Maintenance: Predict aircraft system failures before they occur; empower flight engineers to manage fleet-wide plans more effectively; and proactively schedule inspections and maintenance.
  • Electricity Theft Detection: Detect anomalous electricity consumption patterns across millions of smart meters that indicate energy theft; empower operators to prevent theft more effectively; prioritize field investigations; and recover lost revenue.
  • Supply Chain Inventory Optimization: Recommend safety stock levels to optimize inventory for thousands of SKUs across hundreds of distribution centers and empower plant managers to minimize costs while meeting service level targets.

C3.ai’s Forward Deployed Engineers solve real-world problems in the digital transformation era. If you want to explore a role beyond traditional software engineering, apply here to become a C3.ai Forward Deployed Engineer. Those interested in working specifically within our Federal Division can apply here.

Suzanna Gagnier is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at C3.ai. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Suzanna is an artist, writer and American football fan. She authored the book Putting on the Blitz: The Football Book for Women, to help others learn and enjoy the game.

Harp Dhanota is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at C3.ai. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with emphasis in Middle East and Islamic Studies, from San Francisco State University. When not using his spare time to plan his next adventure, you can find him playing with his three nephews or his dog.