SE for Life!
Like many Sales Engineers, I fell into the SE role. I started out my career as a software developer and very soon realized that wasn't my calling. I left a cushy job at IBM to join a startup to explore and acquire additional skills. Starting from an Implementation Consultant and then Account Management, I gained first-hand experience working directly with our customers and I LOVED IT. Due to my success in those roles, I started getting invited to the sales conversations and (voilà) became a Sales Engineer.
It wasn't easy in the beginning. The first few presentations and demos totally bombed. I knew our product inside-out and brought all my technical expertise to explain complex solutions to our prospects. Well, that was a problem. I relied too much on what I knew and eventually confused (and at times scared) the prospects away. Over time I realized the true skill of Sales Engineering....being consultative, educative, persuasive and solution oriented. It soon became addictive to see the audience light up with the solutions I was proposing. Of course, combine all that with a fun and non-stop sales culture, I was hooked.